Cedar Rapids man finds rare saloon token from 1915

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - Historians in the area are clamoring to get their hands on a token someone in Cedar Rapids found.

Mark French and his wife Tracy spend a lot of time scanning for buried treasure. Recently Mark discovered a drink token from a place called "The Office Buffet."

"I dug it it was about an inch and a half underneath the surface and in really good shape I was surprised," Mark French said.

After posting on Facebook, they discovered the token is more than 100 years old.

Local historian with The History Center, Mark Stoffer Hunter, says The Office Buffet was actually a saloon between 1914 and 1915.

"These food buffets were a serious problem in Cedar Rapids as far as people drinking too much, and it led to the creation of Cedar Rapids prohibition against alcoholic drinks," Stoffer Hunter said, "and this happened before the national prohibition. Cedar Rapids probation started on January 1, 1916 before the rest the United States."

Stoffer Hunter says it's something the history center would love to add to its collection. French says he is happy to donate.

"If other people can enjoy it that way I'd much rather have it out there like that," French said.

They also had a token collector ask for a photo, because it was one of the missing photos in their token collection.

French says he won't reveal where he found the token. He says he doesn't want other metal detecting hobbyists to tear up the area.