Quarters That Have Been Painted Red

Once upon a time, we used cash, including paper money and coins. The most common coin was the quarter, and you may have come across a quarter that has been painted red, although that is pretty rare these day, too. Why would anyone paint a quarter red? These were "house coins," used in vending machines that provided a service. The company that owned the vending machines would collect the coins, and the red quarters would be separated out and given back to the business owner, who had used them in the machines. Harry of Harry's Coin Shop explain that they were used in juke boxes, but that's just one example. House coins were also used in laundromats, car washes, and arcades, but they didn't hold any weight for machines that dispensed products like snacks because the vending machine owner wasn't about to give those away. Business owners would use them to test their machines, make it up to someone who complained about losing their quarter in the machine, or to keep the grandkids busy. I used to get a handful of red quarters at an arcade in the early '80s because I was a "local celebrity" and they wanted me to hang out there. It was a very small town.

The army used to issue a red quarter to new recruits to keep for an emergency phone call, hoping the red would remind them not to spend it otherwise. Repairmen used them to test pay phones, too. But why red? Because they were painted with nail polish, which was predominately red in those days. -via Boing Boing

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Very much so, and often already on hand, while paint has to be purchased for the purpose. Back when I carried a lot of keys, I used nail polish of various colors to distinguish them.
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