OPA tokens were rationing tokens that were first issued on February 27, 1944, for rationing during WWII. In May of 1942, OPA stamps were used. However, on February 27, 1944, the OPA token made its debut. The OPA token would now represent 1 point and an OPA stamp would be worth 10 of these new OPA tokens.
OPA stands for Office of Price Administration. During WWII, OPA had another acronym. Office of Over Priced Administrators!
The Office of Price Administration used OPA stamps, coins, and chits for rationing. Items that were rationed include canned goods, meats, sugar, coffee, tires, gas and more. OPA tokens were used for rationing during World War II. OPA tokens were used by retailers to give change back for food bought with ration stamps.
OPA tokens are either red or blue in color. Red OPA’s are a lot more common than blue ones. Blue tokens were used for processed foods and the red tokens were used for meats and fats. There are 30 different known red tokens and 24 known blue ones. Blue ones read: OPA Blue Point 1 (with two different letters) and the red ones read: OPA Red Point (with two different letters).
No one has found a true reason for the letters on the OPA’s. Theories include, they are random, demographics and prevention of counter fitting. They are all vulcanized fiber (celluloid) and 16mm in size.
Both the red and blue OPA’s have certain ones that are more valuable than the rest. Error OPA’s are worth a little more. The hardest letter combinations to locate are MV, WC, WH, and MM. I have seen the MV sell for as little as $125.00 on eBay and as much as $260.00 on eBay. They are the most expensive of the group so a complete collection would cost considerably less than most other Exonumia collections.
OPAs were last used in 1945. Red OPAs may have stopped being used in December of 1944. Considering that a minimum of 900,000,000 blue and 1 billion red were made, they are a lot rarer than you would think.