Consider this a small disclaimer: The following contains suggestive adult material which some thrifters may find unsavory. Now, with that out of the way...On to all the sordid details!
It was during last week's rummage-o-rama at the Feasterville Impact thrift store when I found it. Something so dirty, so taboo, so wickedly a part of American history that I just had to have it.
Hiding beneath a stack of mismatched dinner plates, tangled in a mess of Christmas decorations in an over-stuffed tote of unsorted 99 cent bric-a-brac was a bronze keepsake that just didn't quite belong.
I held the shining bronze medallion in complete shock for a moment. There, amidst some sweet ol' Granny's charitable donations was a customer token from Nevada's most infamous brothel.
The Mustang Ranch was Nevada's first licensed brothel in 1971, which led to legalized prostitution in certain counties of the state. Now advertised as an "adult resort and spa," Mustang Ranch is a recognized name in the seedy annals of Americana.
Taboo? Yes. Inappropriate? Yes.
Likely found in a thrift store rummage sale? Um. No.
And whatever your personal opinion of brothels and prostitution, admit it. This vintage brothel token is quite a find.
Apparently, the former owner was given this token by Arlene, a lady of Mustang Ranch. From what information I could find, high tippers and valued guests of the brothel would be given these tokens as a reminder of which lady to request for a future visit.
I date this particular token to maybe the mid-to-late 70s...and found it buried beneath Christmas decorations...at the thrift store...for 99 cents.
Talk about a thrift score! Now, only one question remains: What does that single key open? I wonder...