Funny Money: Minting your own currency for fun and profit


My introduction to funny money probably came with my first vistt to Chuck E. Cheese. In addition to its extensive collection of arcade games, creepy animatronic figures, and ball cages filled with questionable substances, the suburban pizza behemoth minted its own money.

Cast in gold-toned metal with a grinning rodent on one side and "In Pizza We Trust" on the other, Chuck E. Cheese tokens were a revelation to me. I was amazed that a company could, seemingly without any oversight, produce its own currency. When I left, I pocketed a couple of the coins, and they formed the beginnings of what was to become a small collection of funny money.

Some of my non-traditional currencies, like my Grey Fox bucks and my Floydian hours, simply involved being in the right place at the right time. After all, while Floyd, Virginia's experiment in homemade money began with the best of intentions, it didn't last very long. Similarly, the fake cash that gets printed at some bluegrass festivals generally gets a few days in the sun before it reverts to its component parts, namely funny pictures printed on pretty paper. Even so, I've kept my eyes open for Calgary Dollars, Disney Dollars, Toronto Dollars, Liberty Dollars, and other regional currencies.