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What are "financial tombstones"? | Jamy

What are “financial tombstones”?



A Financial Tombstone or Deal Toy is a customised gift or souvenir used in the finance sector to mark a significant transaction or business deal. Usually made from Lucite® acrylic, the items are often presented as a trophy during a commemorative event or corporate dinner.

Financial Tombstones get their name from the ‘tombstone advertisement’ which dates back to the 19th century, when printers referred to “column-width newspaper adverts run without any illustration or typographical ornamentation”. A mixture of design and advertisement, Financial Tombstones have been used since the 1960s, when banks and legal firms produced Lucite® slabs which encased adverts announcing their new business partnerships.

The first Lucite® Deal Toy was created in the 1970s by ad man Don McDonald when he created one for a friend who became an investment banker. McDonald subsequently quit his advertising agency job and founded Don McDonald & Associates, which went on to make as many as 5,000 toys a year in the mid-1990s. McDonald discovered that Lucite® was the perfect material; easy to work with, versatile, strong (formerly used to make bullet-proof glass for combat planes) and available in large, cheap quantities.

By heating Lucite®, different shapes can be achieved and bespoke items can be encased within a Deal Toy to showcase products, services and achievements. As well as Lucite® acrylic, other materials used to create Financial Tombstones include crystal, resin, faux stone, wood, metal, and glass. Incredibly, acrylic is clearer and around 50% lighter than glass! It is also resistant to damage by environmental factors such as sunlight, rain, snow, pollutants and many chemicals.

Financial Tombstones and Deal Toys are often utilised as plaques, paperweights or trophies and are designed to include business names, logos and a description of the transaction. A reflection of achievement and status, the items also act as a long-lasting marketing tool for the recipients and a focal-point for the office or boardroom.


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