Communion tokens offer historical insight into Christianity

A 1553-dated token from France suggests John Calvin, one of the fathers of the Reformation, was borrowing an idea when he suggested using communion tokens in his 1560 letter to the Council of Geneva.

As a window to the history of Christianity, communion tokens are a highly collectible area of religious exonumia that’s beloved by numismatists around the world. Retired reverend Angus Sutherland, a long-time member of the National Presbyterian Museum advisory committee, is also a long-time numismatist with an extensive collection of communion tokens. “There have been references to tokens down through the ages,” said Sutherland, who added tokens were used as far back as early Christianity (also known as the “Early Church”), which includes that religion’s origins until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Continue reading →

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