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Token advertising anti-syphilis treatment, France, 1830-1900

It is thought that this token is advertising an anti-syphilis treatment made by Maison Laffecteur in Paris, France. The treatments could also be used for other STIs, known then as venereal diseases. Unlike other treatments, this ointment was not mercury based – and therefore toxic – but made from vegetables! The treatment is very unlikely to have worked.

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Glossary: trade

Refers to the willing exchange of goods. Also defined as the activity of buying, selling, or bartering commodities.

Glossary: token

Designates a substitute for money that move within a limited universe, usually not in general circulation, that may be exchanged for particular goods or services, and are made from hard substances whose intrinsic value is always less than the stated value. The best known example, the trade tokens of Strachan and Company, were issued in South Africa in 1874 and are today recognised as that country's first widely circulating indigenous currency.

Glossary: syphilis

A sexually transmitted infection resulting in the formation of lesions throughout the body.

Glossary: sexually transmitted infection

Any disease transmitted by sexual intercourse. STIs include HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhoea, some chlamydia infections and genital herpes.