Baraboo Chamber of Commerce

The Baraboo Chamber of Commerce issued scrip to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ringling Brothers Circus in the same city.  The notes were issued on June 28, 1933 and were redeemable until November 1, 1933.   The following is taken from the June 28, 1933 edition of the Baraboo News-Republic:

Commemorative scrip is being issued by the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce, featuring the fiftieth anniversary of the Ringling Bros. circus.  The Baraboo scrip issue will be ready in a few days, and will be used as currency and redeemable up to November 1, 1933.  The lower denominations, 5, 10, 15, 25 and 50 cents feature the five Ringling brothers singly, while the group of five appears on the $1.00 issue.

The idea and design of the scrip originated with E.B.Trimpey of the Trimpey studio of this city [Baraboo].  It is printed on paper the quality of currency, and a trifle larger than the old “shin plasters” of the Civil war period.  The beautifully engraved likenesses of the brothers were made from original photos owned by Mr. Trimpey.  The issue is made colorful by disks of six different transparent colors on the face of the scrip, while the back is green showing the white tops surmounted by a lion and a tiger, making a most distinctive item for the collector, souvenir hunter and circus fans.

The appearance of this scrip should meet with the most hearty approval and cooperation of people in this vicinity, especially since its use will be two-fold.

Merchants are asked to keep a supply at all times, explaining that it will be our best medium of advertising the Golden Jubilee in Baraboo, and the homecoming here.

The beauty and novelty of the issue will make it one of the most, if not the most desirable souvenir of this sort, and collectors will be anxious to get some of the pieces and often the entire set of six pieces, leaving the cash for the Chamber of Commerce to be used as they see fit but presumably to help advertise this region as a summer playground.

The merchants of Baraboo handed the scrip out in change in addition to it being sold at face value as souvenirs.  An account in the Wisconsin State Journal indicated the scrip circulated in commerce as far as Madison.  The sale of the Baraboo scrip was so successful that it paid for almost all the cost incurred by the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce for the Ringling Brothers anniversary celebration. 

While the Baraboo scrip was popular, a thief who broke into a shop in nearby Hazel Green opted to leave behind $11.00 in Baraboo scrip while absconding with only $3.00 in U.S. currency.

No record of the number produced or distributed exists.

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