What is the origin of the Tombstone?

Case study May 06, 2024

“Deal toys,” also known as “tombstones,” are symbolic commemorative objects exchanged among parties involved in significant financial transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions, or initial public offerings. Their history goes back to the early 20th century in the United States.

The origin of the term “deal toy” is often attributed to the investment firm Bankers Trust, which purportedly began distributing miniature crystal banks to participants in its transactions in the 1970s. These symbolic gifts quickly gained popularity in the financial sector as they served to commemorate important deals while strengthening relationships between the parties involved.

Over the decades, tombstones have evolved into a distinct form of art. Simple crystal objects have transformed into elaborate sculptures often representing iconic elements of the target company or the transaction itself. The materials used have also varied, ranging from crystal to precious metals such as bronze, and even contemporary materials such as plastic and acrylic glass.

A recent trend in deal toy manufacturing is the use of certified wood. With increasing awareness of the importance of environmental sustainability, many companies are opting for eco-friendly materials. Certified wood comes from responsibly managed forests, ensuring that the production of deal toys does not result in excessive deforestation or ecological damage.

Deal toys have become prestigious symbols of success and recognition in the business world. They are often displayed in corporate offices or boardrooms to remind of past achievements and inspire new transactions. Additionally, they are sometimes collected by industry professionals as cherished mementos of their careers.

Although deal toys are primarily associated with financial transactions, their use has expanded to other fields such as real estate, law, and even government sectors. They continue to play an important role as tangible elements of recognition and celebration in the global business world.