Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 5, 2014

Rare token offers few clues to its origin

Somerset —

On one side is: “FLAMINGO – SOMERSET KY.” On the flip side: “GOOD FOR 2 1/2 CENTS IN TRADE. The inscriptions are on a token about the size of a dime. 
Found by David Barnett, the token was about 3 or 4 inches underground in an overgrown area in the Plato-Vanhook community.
“I was using a metal detector,” said Barnett. “I found it in the yard where an old house used to stand.” 
“I’ve never heard of a place in Somerset called Flamingo,” said Gib Gosser, executive director of Downtown Somerset Development Corporation and a Somerset historian. “It sounds like a dance hall,” he laughed. 
  A wag in the newsroom pointed out the closest Flamingo to Somerset is in Las Vegas. Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino is the Strip’s original home of cool, a tropical paradise. However, it’s doubtful a 2 1/2-cent token would have traded for much entertainment on the Strip, even in the Good Ol’ Days, or before.
  Yesterday’s Somerset was not void of entertainment places, but none the Flamingo. The Shamrock was located behind where Office Depot is now; Peggy Ann Motel was on South U.S. 27 at Waitsboro; Cumberland Club was located off Monticello Street near the Old Greyhound Inn; and the Imperial House was on Ky. 1247 north of Somerset. Fuddy-dudders of yesterday weren’t party-poopers; they could dance the night away.
  Barnett said he took the token to the Pulaski County Historical Society and they too had not heard of a place called Flamingo in Pulaski County. The historical society suggested Barnett bring the token to the newspaper.
  The token is obviously old, very old. It has been a long time since 2 1/2 cents in trade would be enough to attract one to any type of business. That being said, old-timers can remember “a penny’s worth of candy;” an “all-day sucker” for a penny;  and a “penny postcard,” phrases all coined during a bygone era when a penny was worth a penny.

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