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OPA Rationing Token Information

Richard Kimmel

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Richard Kimmel

Below is some basic OPA information:


OPA stands for Office of Price Administration

Rationing was started in 1942. Items that were rationed include canned goods, meats, sugar, coffee, tires, gas and more. The Office of Price Administration used OPA stamps, coins and chits for rationing.

OPA coins (commonly called OPA's) were used for change for food.

OPA's were used by retailers to give change back for food bought with ration stamps.


Tokens used for rationing during World War II

There are 30 different red tokens and 24 blue ones.

They are all vulcanized fiber (celluloid) and 16 mm in size.

Blue ones read: OPA Blue Point 1 (with two different letters)

Red ones read: OPA Red Point 1 (with two different letters)


Blue tokens were used for processed foods; red tokens for meats and fats.

OPA's were first issued in 1944 - Stopped being issued in 1945


Nobody has found a true reason for the letters on the OPA's. Theories include, they are random, demographics, for prevention of counterfeiting.


Red letter combinations known. HC, HT, MV, MM, TH, TY, UC, UH, UT, UV, UX, UY, VC, VH, VT, VU, VX, VY, XC, XH, XT, XU, XV, XY, YC, YH, YT, YU, YV, YX.


Blue letter combinations known. CC, CH, CT, CV, CX, HH, HU, HV, HX, HY, TC, TT, TU, TV, TX, UU, VV, WC, WH, WT, WU, WW, XX, YY


The rarest is the red MV. The next rarest are the red MM and the blue WW, WC, WH. Then blue WU, HX and red YC, XC. The rest are fairly easy to find. Reds are a lot more common than blues. Error OPA's command higher a value.


Below is pictured the rarest of the tokens.


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  • 1 year later...

A little more info. It seems that the overall design of the OPA was at the federal level, but there was a lot of difference in how each state implemented the OPA guidelines. A sugar ration coupon in one state might bear no relationship to the coupon from another state, and they changed over time. I think that there is a lot of material out there to be collected. Local citizens were enlisted to help with the program, and each designed their program to meet local needs. Boards met from time to time to set new policies. I think it was probably a position of some esteem, and perhaps some power, to be appointed to a local board. Your board would determine who got what type of gas ration stamp - what priority. The higher the priority, the greater the monthly gas ration.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ration material is neat, lots out different types of things there. I still kick myself for not buying the unissued ration books I saw once. The red "MV" token is of course the "Most Valuable"! Thanks for posting this good informaiton. I have about 1000 of the tokens but never was motovated to sort them by code.


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