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Page 2 - Tokens; City of New York Transit Ephemera & Fiscal Issues
The Catalog of Transit Fiscal Ephemera & Exonumia from the City of the New York
(pre-MetroCard)
featuring the collections of George S. Cuhaj & Philip M. Goldstein

Page 2





OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003
"The First Token"

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!




Overview

   The tokens of the New York City Transit Authority are without a doubt, the most popular and widely recognized fiscal memorabilia of the New York City Transit System. Hundreds of thousands if not more
of most of the varieties of New York City Transit Authority tokens remain unredeemed. They have been made into every conceivable type of jewelry: necklaces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, tie clasps, cuff links, button shirt collar studs, used as watch faces and rings and I am sure a lot of other novelty items.

   The NYCTA token issues have been well covered in many exonumia journals and urban blogs. However; to the general public, many may not realize the variety of issues that truly exist. 

   Furthermore, and quite unfortunately; misinformation abounds regarding  the "first subway token", (it was the 16.5mm "Small Solid") the sales of so-called "complete sets" of "six" NYCTA tokens in a lucite holder on internet sales sites (and available through the New York City Transit Museum); when in fact there were nine issues: seven Regular Fare and two Special Fare.  Add to this, die and font varieties of a few of those varieties; and you have yourself a good 18 tokens to aim for to acquire a basic, yet "true" complete set of tokens for the NYCTA. 

   But, we are not done! One must consider the predecessor issues used prior to NYCTA issued tokens, which were issued by the Board of Transportation - New York City Transit System. These not so quite as recognized.

   Next, but not certainly last; nor to be overlooked; are the individual private companies that operated streetcar and bus services in the 5 boroughs. These include, but not limited to; the very popular Interborough Rapid Transit token that was never circulated. 

   Then, you have some of the earliest horse drawn stage car tokens from the 1800's made of pewter, and Vulcanite - a hardened rubber also known as ebonite. Yes, hard rubber tokens. These older 19th Century token issues fetch hundreds and even thousands of dollars. They may be out of reach for the casual collector, but they do come up for sale from time to time and are a very integral part of the history of New York City Transportation Tokens.

   Another facet of the tokens that is to be considered are the errors. In some cases, they also command a stout price as they are in demand. An exception to this being the NYCTA "Y cutout" token in both large and small varieties (more so for the large). It appears strike errors of the "Y" punch being not "clocked" properly with the words on the token are rather easy to procure. Naturally the more dramatic of these misalignments are more desirable than the lightly misaligned types. The most desirable tokens are where the Y punch is way off center and extends past the rim of the token.

   For some, collecting New York City transit tokens can be a daunting and expensive hobby, for others it is an obsession!

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The Atwood Coffee Catalog

   If you have your heart set on trying to acquire the varieties as some of us do, I highly recommend and suggest, nay; INSIST; that you join the American Vecturist Association, and purchase Volumes 1 (Catalog), 2 (History) and 3 (Varieties) of the Seventh Edition of the Atwood-Coffee Catalog. But, you can purchase the catalogs without joining.

   The Atwood-Coffee is an indispensable guide to collecting tokens. Did I say indispensable? I should say absolutely necessary. As a convenience, I am providing the link to the American Vecturist Association.

   The tokens listed below are accompanied with their corresponding Atwood-Coffee catalog number for the New York State chapter: NY630A. For the most part, the tokens are listed here below in alpha-numerical order, as listed in the catalog, with some minor corrections and reorganization to allow for chronological order and continuity.

   Also, some detailed notes accompany the listing with the respective tokens, that elaborate further than the Atwood-Coffee catalog does.

   Tokens displayed on this page are presented at 200% on a 16:9 widescreen format monitor at 100% window size; and all images are scaled accordingly to one another.

   It should also be noted that token issues for the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad and its successor the Port Authority Trans Hudson are listed on that respective page:

Page 12 - Hudson & Manhattan Railroad / Port Authority Trans Hudson

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19th Century Transit Token Issues

   

   Possibly the least known and least observed of the New York City transit tokens. They are without a doubt, historical. We are fortunate to have these available for inclusion here.

   The Omnibus, was a rear entry stagecoach drawn by two horses with interior seating for 12 to 14 passengers was introduced to New York in 1827. 


image courtesy of A. Pasquet, Untapped Cities

   This in turn led to the horsedrawn trolley, allowing larger capacity of seating, with platforms and steps on the ends:


courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Archives

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   By 1849 there were 425 vehicles operating on 25 franchise routes. By 1851, there were 608 vehicles in operation. All but one route converged on Broadway south of Canal Street towards South Ferry. Only ten of these routes issued tokens. These figures apply only to Manhattan and the other boroughs has similar systems as well. 

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Nassau Railroad

   Organized in 1865 it would operate three horse car lines in Brooklyn, with parts reaching into Queens. It would merge in 1868 to form the Brooklyn City, Hunters Point and Prospect Park Railroad.

21mm, brown Vulcanite, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY629A

extremely rare; $500.00 to $700.00

Brooklyn Cross Town Railroad

23mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY629B

extremely rare; $250.00 to $500.00

15/16", brass, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY629 not listed

extremely rare; $500.00 to $750.00

Brooklyn City Railroad

   This zone check is believed to have been used as a payment receipt for the extra fare collected on the line extending down Brooklyn's Third Avenue to Fort Hamilton.
An extra fare was paid at the Brooklyn city line (in 1870s).

Zone Check

31mm, black Vulcanite, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY997A

extremely rare; $500.00 to $750.00

Third Avenue Railroad

   In 1855 the Third Avenue Rail Road extended service up to Harlem. Although the service was in operation, the rails were not yet laid the full distance, so a horse car was used on the southern parts and an omnibus on the northern reaches of the line. The tokens show an omnibus or rail car with Yorkville or Harlem destinations for a total of four varieties.  George H. Lovett was the die engraver, and an "L" on each obverse is at ground level, he may have also struck these token. The scarcer varieties are the omnibus with the Yorkville destination and the horse car with the Harlem destination. The cash fare for the full distance was 15 cents unless the tokens were purchased ahead of time.

Harlem

27mm, pewter, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630M

rare; $500.00 to $750.00 for better grade

Yorkville

27mm, pewter, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630N

rare; $500.00 to $750.00 for better grade

Harlem

27mm, pewter, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630O

extremely rare; $600.00 to $850.00 for better grade

Yorkville

27mm, pewter, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630P

rare; $300.00 to $500.00 for better grades

To Cable Line

23mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630Q

The first Cable Line in NYC opened in 1885 and operated crosstown on 125th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. In 1893-94 the Third Avenue Railroad it's main route from Park Row up Third Avenue to 129th Street to cable operations. This token dates 1885-1894.

uncommon, but the second most common of the 19th Century tokens
$50.00 to $75.00



4th Avenue Line - Haskins & Wilkins

   Haskins & Wilkins operated the 4th Avenue Line. Two routes with thirty-five two-horse stages.

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630E

extremely rare; $1000.00 to $1250.00

5th and 7th Avenue Lines - Marshalls & Townsend

   Marshalls & Townsend operated the 5th and 7th Avenue Lines.  They operated forty-six two-horse stages. Soon after ordering the tokens, they sold the franchise for the 5th Avenue route, so some have the 5th & lettering scratched off from the struck token. A later order of tokens had the "5th &" removed in die. So, the A-C listing is reversed chronologically, but show properly here

5th and 7th Avenue Lines

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630F

extremely rare; $1000.00 to $1250.00

7th Avenue Lines ("5th &" scratched off token)

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630H

very rare; $400.00 to $600.00

7th Avenue Lines ("5th &" removed from die)

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630G

very rare; $400.00 to $600.00

6th Avenue Lines - Young & Ward

   Young & Ward operated the 6th Avenue Line with forty two-horse stages on two very similar routes, the cross over on 8th or 9th street being the only difference.

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630I

very rare; $400.00 to $600.00

8th Avenue Lines - Finch, Sanderson & Co.

   Finch, Sanderson & Co. operated the 8th Avenue Line with fifty-six two-horse stages. The first order of tokens had both partners listed, but when Sanderson left the partnership, his name was removed from the tokens on the existing stock.

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630J

very rare; $400.00 to $600.00

("Sanderson" scratched off token)

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630 (unlisted)

extremely rare; $750.00 to $1000.00

Kipp Brown & Co.

   Kipp & Brown operated the Chelsea Line. They operated three routes with sixty-two two-horse stages. The franchise, stables, omnibuses and horses sold for $85,000 in 1856.

Chelsea Line

27mm, pewter, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630K

very rare; $250.00 to $400.00

Telegraph Line - Tyson & Co.

   Tyson & Co. operated the Telegraph Line. It was the only east-west route of the token issuing companies. They used eighteen two-horse stages in 1851, increased to thirty in 1852. William Tyson sold out the line in 1856. There are four varieties of tokens: Two each of the lettering near or far from the edge, the near the edge variety has one or two periods under the o in Co. The far from edge variety has a period or no period after Tyson. The brass Tyson tokens as a whole are the commonest, the design with the letters close to the edge are the scarcer varieties. William Tyson was the president of the Omnibus Proprietors' Mutual Association.

28mm, brass, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630La (letters close to edge, 2 periods: 1 under ọ in company, 1 after)

uncommon but not rare; $50.00 to $75.00

28mm, brass, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630Lb (letters close to edge, 3 periods: 2 under ọ in company, 1 after)

uncommon but not rare; $75.00 to $100.00

28mm, brass, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630Lc (letters away from edge, 1 period after Tyson, 1 period under ọ in company)

uncommon but not rare; $75.00 to $100.00


28mm, brass, pierced
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630Ld (letters away from edge, 1 period under ọ in company

uncommon but not rare; $75.00 to $100.00

Token collectors please note:

The Telegraph Line - Tyson & Co. tokens are the most common of all the 19th Century transit tokens because they were struck in brass and not pewter.
There is evidence of fire damage on some of these tokens due to a stable fire, and the pewter variety would have melted; and thus not survived whereas the brass variety would.

Fire damaged

42nd Street, Manhattanville & St. Nicholas Avenue Railway

   Boulevard was the pre-1890 name for the section of Broadway north of Columbus Circle.

28mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630S

extremely rare; $1000.00 to $1250.00

N-York and Harlaem Railroad Co.

   Incorporated in 1831, the first section opened in 1832 with the first being along Bowery from Prince Street to 14th Street. Further extensions included 1833 for service in Fourth Avenue to 32nd street. In 1834 north along Fourth Avenue to Harlem and then in 1837 further north to Harlem. A southern extension was made in 1839 via Bowery, Broom and Centre Streets to City Hall and Park Row.

   Horse power was used at first for the entire route with steam engines introduced in 1837 for service north of the 27th street depot. After 1870, the horsecar service turned at 42nd Street and continued up Madison Avenue to 86th Street. Steam train service ended at the new Grand Central Terminal.

   The B&S under the railroad coach is the mark of the maker of the token, Bale & Smith.
same reverse as below
18mm octagonal, German silver, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630Da

three varieties:
a - rosette counterstamp on obverse
b - dog counterstamp on obverse
c - without counterstamp

18mm octagonal, copper-nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630Dc

three varieties:
a - rosette counterstamp on obverse
b - dog counterstamp on obverse
c - without counterstamp

18mm octagonal, copper, solid
Considered a pattern
Atwood-Coffee NY998a

two varieties:
a - without counterstamp
b - leaf counterstamp

tokens at left are photo rendering

18mm octagonal, lead
Considered a pattern
Atwood-Coffee NY998D

two varieties:
a - without counterstamp
b - leaf counterstamp


Expect intense bidding not only from New York topic collectors but broad spectrum token collectors as well.

These New York & Harlaem Railroad tokens crossover in interest to collectors of Hard Times era tokens and NYC collectors in general, expect intense bidding.

Omnibus tokens are "pierced" as drivers presumably carried the tokens on a looped ring of wire for convenience. 

The above omnibus tokens were struck as solids by the manufacturer; and the holes were added after delivery.
Unpierced examples do exist and command a 20% premium.

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!



20th Century Transit Token Issues - pre-unification



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Surface Transportation Corporation
Orchard Beach Turnstiles

1949

23mm, copper nickel
Atwood-Coffee
NY628A

S.T.C. = Surface Transportation Corporation

fairly common; $7.50

1949

16mm, brass
Atwood-Coffee NY628B

uncommon; $15.00

Manhattan And Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority

1965

23mm, copper nickel
Atwood-Coffee
NY628C

M.A.B. = Manhattan And Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority

fairly common; $7.50

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!





Brooklyn Bus Corporation

   Organized as a subsidiary of the Brooklyn - Manhattan Transit Corporation to operate their franchised bus lines. Ultimately it was taken over (along with the BMT) by the New York City Board of Transportation in 1940.
1938

22mm, white metal, gunmetal plated, solid
Atwood-Coffee
NY629C

two varieties: 629Ca, 629Cb

fairly common; $10.00

Brooklyn & Queens Transit Corporation

   Another subsidiary of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Corporation created in 1929 to operate streetcars in Brooklyn, Queens (and via the Brooklyn or Williamsburg Bridges into Manhattan. Previously these lines were operated by the BMT directly. Ultimately it was taken over (along with the BMT) by the New York City Board of Transportation in 1940.
1929

22mm, white metal, solid
Atwood-Coffee
NY629D

four varieties: 629Da, 629Db, 629Dc, 629Dd,

common; $7.50

1936

24mm, brass, 2mm punch hole in center
Atwood-Coffee NY629F

uncommon; $15.00

Kings Coach Company

   Operated two routes in Brooklyn (eventually taken over by the BMT) and one in Queens (taken over by Triboro Coach).
1935

23mm, white metal, K cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631Ba - counterstamped

not commonly seen; $20.00

1935

23mm, white metal, K cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631Bb - not counterstamped

not commonly seen; $25.00

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!




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Interborough Rapid Transit Company (unissued)
Moderately rare.

September 12, 1928

Struck by Scovill Manufacturing for the Interborough Rapid Transit for intended fare increase to 7 or 8 cents in 1928.
The New York State Public Service Commission denied the proposed fare hike, and sacks of tokens were placed into storage.
In 1943, a significant amount of these tokens, still in their original cloth sacks were sold to Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Co,
and smelted into new 16mm H&M Tokens.

In 1948, the remainder were sold again, and smelted for metal content.


10,000,000 struck

22mm, copper nickel
Atwood-Coffee NY630U
6 varieties known regarding design and IRT font: 630Ua,
630Ub, 630Uc, 630Ud, 630Ue, 630Uf

increasingly difficult to find. $75 and up

East Side Omnibus Corporation

   Organized in 1932. The company operated five routes operating on First, Second and York Avenues. The company went bankrupt in 1948 with their routes taken over by the Board of Transportation.

1933

22mm, copper nickel, ES cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630AA

two varieties:

fairly common; $10.00

Avenue B & East Broadway Transportation

   Organized in 1932. It operated two routes; Grand Street Crosstown and one on Avenue B. It was taken over by the New York City Transit Authority in 1980.
1934

23mm, copper nickel, diamond center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630ABa - counterstamped numerals

uncommon; $15.00

1934

23mm, copper nickel, diamond center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630ABb - not counterstamped

fairly common; $10.00

1947

23mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630ACa  - counterstamped numerals

uncommon; $20.00

1947

23mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630ACbnot counterstamped

fairly common; $15.00

1951

16mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630AD

uncommon; $20.00

1951

16mm, copper nickel, gun metal plated, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630AE

uncommon; $25.00

1952

16mm, copper nickel, red enameled, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630AF

uncommon; $25.00

Department of Plants & Structures Bridge Railroad (Williamsburg Bridge)

The New York City Department of Plants and Structures was a transit operator organized in September 1919 by Mayor John Hylan. The Department was charged with organizing six private entrepreneurs to operate "emergency buses" to replace four abandoned storage battery street car lines: the Madison Street Line; Spring and Delancey Street Line, Avenue C Line and the Sixth Avenue Ferry line.
The system grew taking over the Brooklyn and North River Line (streetcar) and Queens Bus Lines. The DP&S also began operating trolleys in Staten Island to replace the Staten Island Midland Railway. All routes mentioned would be privatized.

Another of the DP&S acquisitions was the Bridge Operating Company, which operated the Williamsburg Bridge Local trolley in 1921. This line, as opposed to the previously mentioned lines; would remain City operated. The fare to cross the bridge was 1 2/3 cents, or three tickets for a nickel. How the tokens factored into this, it not certain. The Williamsburg Bridge trolley was replaced by bus on December 5, 1948, and the bus route was B39 and became part of the City of New York Board of Transportation.

1921-1948?

16mm, copper nickel, star punch out at center
signature of Lincoln C. Andrews, receiver
Atwood-Coffee NY630AE

common; $10.00

Comprehensive Omnibus Corporation

   Organized in 1933 by the same owners of the East Side Omnibus Co. It operated three routes: the Madison-Chambers Crosstown; 49th-50th Streets Crosstown and the 66th Street Crosstown. The company went bankrupt in 1948 with their routes taken over by the Board of Transportation.
1935

22mm, bronze, CO cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630W

uncommon; $20.00

1944

22mm, steel, CO cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY630Y

uncommon; $25.00

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!





Green Bus Lines

   Formed in 1925, it combined and sold off numerous smaller company franchises during its lifetime. It was taken over by the MTA in 2006.
1937

21mm, bronze, ball center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631R

uncommon; $7.00

Jamaica Buses

  Granted bus franchises in 1933 and remained independent of the MTA until 2006.
1933

22mm, brass, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631C

uncommon; $15.00

1972

20mm, brass, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631U

uncommon; $7.00

1976

20mm, brass, bar center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631V

common; $10.00

North Shore Bus Company


   Established in 1920 and operated until 1947. Routes were concentrated in Flushing and Northern Queens.
unknown date (1935-1947)

22mm, copper nickel, triangle cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631E

uncommon; $15.00

1930

16mm, copper nickel, R cutout
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631F

common; $7.50

New York & Queens County Ry. Co.

   Operated streetcar lines in Western and Northern Queens, as well as a line over the Queensboro Bridge. It was a subsidiary of the Interborough Rapid Transit Co. until the IRT prioritized their operation to subways and elevated lines and no longer wanted to finance the interest payment on the outstanding bonds. Lincoln C. Andrews was appointed receiver for three years commencing January 1923 but the line was unable to raise the fare above five cents.
1924

16mm, coper nickel,
ball center
signature of Lincoln C. Andrews, receiver
Atwood-Coffee NY631A

uncommon; $20.00

Queensboro Bridge Railway

   These tokens were issued for the streetcar shuttle which used the outer lanes on the bridge from an underground loop-track terminal on Second Avenue (Manhattan) to a loop track in Queens Plaza. Tokens were used for discounted fares for workers and volunteer at Coler - Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Welfare Island (reached by a station/building built next to the bridge and making a connection with it for automobiles.
1944

23mm,
steel, bar center
Atwood-Coffee NY631O

common; $7.00

1945

23mm, brass, bar center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631P

common; $6.00

1947

23mm,
copper nickel, bar center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631Q

five varieties: 631Qa, 631Qb, 631Qc, 631Qd,
631Qe,

extremely common; $4.00


collection of Philip M. Goldstein

    A bridge connecting Welfare Island to Queens would be built in 1955 and streetcar operations ended on April 7, 1957. On that date, bus service replaced trolley service and the following tokens issued. This brass 16mm token was sold to employees and volunteers at the Coler - Goldwater Memorial Hospital at the rate of 24 tokens for $1.50 which equated to 6¼¢ per token.

    Although used on the Steinway Transit Company bus serving Welfare Island, it used the name of the corporate owner.
1970

16mm, brass, ball center
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631T

common; $5.00

Steinway Transit 

   These tokens were issued for use by employees and volunteers at the Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Welfare (now Roosevelt) Island. Tokens were sold at the Hospitals at a half fare discount. They were valid for use only on the Steinway Transit Route serving Welfare Island, the Q102.
1976

16mm, white metal, S
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631W
two varieties: 631Wa, 631Wb

common; $4.00

Triboro Coach Corporation

   In the 1920 the company was known as the Woodside - Astoria Transportation Company and operated a number of routes in Astoria, Woodside and Maspeth. In 1931 the company was reorganized as Triboro Coach Corp. and added several other routes from smaller companies expanding service to Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, Forest Hills, Jamaica and Rockaway Park. In 1946 the company was sold to Green Bus Lines but operated as a subsidiary. Eventually the franchise lines were taken over by the MTA in 2006.
1936?

22mm, 
copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631I

uncommon; $20.00

1936

22mm, 
copper nickel, gunmetal plated, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631J

uncommon; $15.00

1936

24mm, brass, solid
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631K

common; $12.00

1936

24mm, brass, T punch out
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631L

uncommon; $5.00

undated (1940?)

24mm, copper nickel, copper plated, S
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631M

uncommon; $15.00

1940

24mm, copper nickel, gun metal plated, S
Atwood-Coffee 
NY631n

uncommon; $20.00

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!




Richmond Light & Railroad

   John J. Kuhn was appointed receiver for three years (1920-1923). Under his leadership the company was able to raise the fare to eight cents, and exited from the receivership by splitting up into the Staten Island Edison Co. and the Richmond Railroad Co.
date unknown (1902-1927)

16mm, copper nickel, R
Atwood-Coffee 
NY632A

uncommon; $25.00

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!


   Before continuing further on this chapter of tokens, there is one token that must be viewed. This token is quite special - only two are known to exist; and when one is placed for sale, it commands prices that even an advanced vecturist blanches at. 

   It is the proposed pattern for the New York City Transit System (Board of Transportation) Subway Token.  Those two pieces of the pattern token below that were struck, are now the "holy grail" for vecturists and NY transit collectors alike.

Extremely Rare / Next to impossible - only two known

Pattern - Not produced

16mm, white metal, ball center
A-C NY998N


   The following tokens were used throughout the city, and therefore do not fall into a borough category as the tokens in the preceding chapter do. 

   Furthermore, the Atwood-Coffee catalog, (at least in my opinion) makes a glaring error in the categorization of the NYCTA token issues: they are attributed to the Borough of Manhattan (NY630 series), when the New York City Transit Authority headquarters was in Brooklyn! Specifically, it was located at 370 Jay Street. This building was also the location of their very highly secure Office of Revenue and its associated vault where the fare proceeds were brought to be accounted, and then transferred to the respective banks. These vaults also contained the token issues for that period. 

   So, in all practicality, the NYCTA token issues should be attributed in the catalog to the Borough of Brooklyn, (NY629 series) and not Manhattan.

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First Unification; New York City Transit System - 1940 - 1953
1938

22mm, copper nickel, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY629G

five varieties: 629Ga,
629Gb, 629Gc, 629Gd, 629Ge,

uncommon; $15.00

1940

22mm, steel, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY629H

uncommon; $15.00

1940

22mm, brass, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY629I

very uncommon; $25

1941
Issued for Childrens Fare - associated with the Three Cent Children's Ticket in
Fare Tickets Chapter, First Unification above.
24mm, brass, 2mm punch hole in center
Atwood-Coffee NY629J

uncommon; $12

1941?

22mm, bronze, solid
Atwood-Coffee
NY629K

uncommon; $20

Unissued - Error

Instead of properly stating the obverse legend: NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT SYSTEM",
this token bears the legend: "NEW YORK CITY TRANSFER SYSTEM"

22mm, bronze, solid
Atwood-Coffee
NY629KA

extremely rare; $250

New York City Transit System - Manhattan Bus Division
1949

22mm, copper nickel
Atwood-Coffee
NY630V

rare; $100

.

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OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!

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Second Unification; New York City Transit Authority Tokens - 1953 - 2003


New York City Transit Authority Chairman Maj. General Hugh J. Casey displays the "new" token in 1953.
The token model shown is actually the second token issued, the "Small Y Cutout".
Press Release image from the collection of George S. Cuhaj

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   Before we progress to the visually rewarding images of the tokens, a few clarifications need to be made.
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"The First NYCTA Token"

   The first item for clarification: in the collective memories of NYC transit users, only the most astute recall the small "dime sized" solid token:    It was only in circulation for approximately six weeks before being culled out of circulation in September. 

   Most people only recall the "Small Y Cutout":  and now misattribute it as the "first token". As a result of this and quite unfortunately, many transit and city history related websites, blogs and social media posts refer to this as the "first token". However, it is not.

    The reasons for the lack of general recognition of the first token had remained foggy until now. According to George Cuhaj, it is accepted and understood that the Transit Authority needed to get a token into circulation in time for the announced fare hike to 15 cents on July 25th. 

   As there has been nothing official published or displayed on the part of the Transit Museum, this piqued my interest and led me to research the matter. I would be rewarded for my efforts. I gleaned the following articles from the New York Times Digital Archives, and they uncovered and clarified the situation quite well. 

   So, I put together this scrapbook of articles, so the unedited copy could be reviewed. A synopsis,and my notes follow.

New York Times - May 17, 1953New York Times - June 3, 1953

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New York Times - June 5, 1953 New York Times - June 7, 1953

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New York Times - June 9, 1953New York Times - June 17, 1953
   

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New York Times - June 19, 1953New York Times - June 21, 1953

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New York Times - July 14, 1953

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New York Times - July 25, 1953

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New York Times - July 25, 1953New York Times - July 29, 1953


   So, in reviewing these New York Times articles, apparently there was quite the fiasco in May, June and July of 1953; With the formation of the NYCTA only becoming effective on June 15 to replace the Board of Transportation, and with the NYCTA seeking authorization from the State to operate all three divisions (IRT, BMT, IND) and to impose a fare hike to eliminate the operating deficit, of which was the stated goal of creating the New York City Transit Authority in the first place.

   In the grand scheme of things, the formation of NYCTA may have turned out to be a blessing or a bane; and its first fare raise was hastily executed. In some defense of the TA, the way the operating charter was written; any raise in fare must take place by July 30, to be effective of the same fiscal year. In other words, had the fare hike taken place on August 1 or later, it would not be financially accountable until 1954, and with the deficit the system was in, financial relief was needed "toot sweet" and "post-haste".

   A synopsis of this situation reads as thus: the announced fare hike which had been discusses most of 1953, was scheduled for Saturday, July 25. However, NYCTA had not yet been given authority to do so, despite all the back and forth between the Transit Agency, the Mayor and the Governor. 

   The NYCTA, and rightfully so; did not wish to repeat the mistake of the IRT some twenty-five years before, where the IRT had minted 10,000,000 pieces of their proposed 7 cent tokens, only to have the proposed fare raise rejected by the Public Service Commission. This of course, led to the IRT storing the hundreds of bags of now useless tokens. Ironically, the IRT tokens are mentioned in one of the New York Times articles above. So, the NYCTA wisely held off on ordering their tokens until the last possible moment. 

   Now in a rush, on or about June 3, the NYCTA approached the US Mint to strike the tokens, but their request was rejected. The Mint did not want to put itself in the private token / coinage market, and while the Mint even accepted production of some foreign government coin issues as goodwill per request of the State Department, the line was drawn at not producing private issues. When this rejection took place, there was quite expectedly a bit of concern on the part of NYCTA. Governor Thomas Dewey (New York), got involved to intercede on the NYCTA's behalf with the US Mint, but his ministrations were refused as well. As such, the NYCTA then ran to the Canadian Mint on or about June 4, and of whom also turned down the NYCTA.

   By this time, June 7; the NYCTA was in full blown panic mode. It needed the 15 cent fare hike to help make it solvent, but the turnstile mechanisms already installed could not accept two coins. And leaving the fare at 10 defeated the purpose of the fare hike. The fare had to go to 15 cents and tokens had to be the medium used. The NYCTA publicly solicited bids from the private manufacturers. The three token manufacturers that responded were: Scovill Manufacturing, Osborne Coinage, and Meyer & Wenthe. All three came to the conclusion they while they could supply the tokens to the NYCTA; not enough tokens could be produced by July 25 to the design as specified by the TA - ergo, the "Small Y cutout."

   However, they suggested; if the NYCTA was willing to accept the first batches of tokens as solid tokens and not cut-out tokens (which required the extra steps of orienting and punching the token after being initially struck with the basic design). With the combined efforts of the production lines of the three private manufacturers, they could produce enough of the solid style tokens by July 24, to give the NYCTA sufficient stock in regard to their 15 cent fare raise and the introduction of a token issue to control it. The token manufacturers further stated the two types of tokens would be compatible with each other in regards to the token mechanisms in the turnstiles. Furthermore, as the production resources of all three manufacturers would be needed, the bidding contract would need to be written to allow for a split up of the manufacturing quantities.

   The NYCTA, pretty much with its back against the wall; agreed to all suggestions and stipulations; and on June 17 it signed the contracts, with the following noted:

contractquantity orderedcost
Scovill Manufacturing7,000,000$11.65 per 1,000
Meyer & Wenth7,000,000$12.37 per 1,000
Osborne Coinage6,000,000$11.90 per 1,000
totals:20,000,000$239,540

   Three bids were rejected, which ranged from $13.00 to $35.00 per $1,000. Also, the option for 30,000,000 additional tokens may be ordered after July 30.

   The three token manufacturers set about to produce them. So the first tokens delivered to and released by the NYCTA were not the "Small Y Cut out" as originally planned and announced, but in fact the "Small Solid".

   Subsequent production of tokens would conform to the TA's original design of the "Small Y Cut out" and deliveries would continue after July 25, with finally delivery taking place in September 24. On this date and the solid tokens withdrawn from service after this date.

  On July 25th, the following statistics were announced:

17,290,000 tokens had been delivered as of the evening of July 24, with
2,349,349 tokens sold in 48 hours, with 
4,484,000 disbursed to IND token booths, 
5,302,000 disbursed to IRT token booths and 
3,075,000 disbursed to BMT token booths. 

4,000,000 tokens were kept in reserve and 
41,500,000 total tokens expected by September 24, 1953.

   Also learned from this article, was that the tokens were not intended to be accepted on surface transit (streetcars and buses) - it was for rapid transit (subways & elevateds) use only! Buses were to remain coin only until decided otherwise. However, some riders accidentally dropped tokens and they were accepted as payment in good faith albeit with a polite admonishment. Tokens on buses would not be officially accepted until May 18, 1963 - almost ten years later!



"Jay Street... We have a problem."


   Continuing to delve into the New York Times Digital Archives; I read on that not two days after the release of the tokens, it was found that a brand of metallic play money sold by F. W. Woolworth (16 pieces for 10 cents) would also trigger the release mechanism of the turnstile. Compounding this discovery, it was also learned and announced by Sidney H. Bingham, General Manager of the NYCTA; that the West German 1 pfennig coin (made of copper) would also trip the release mechanism. Furthermore, it was also discovered that tokens from the Chicago, Kansas City and Connecticut transit systems would also trip the release; however as these tokens cost 20 cents each (and cost 5 cents more the NYC Transit fare), there would not be any financial gain to the user, and they were not considered a threat. 

   On July 27th, it was announced that 20,000,000 more tokens were to be delivered that day, with 13,500,000 tokens distributed and 3,700,000 held in reserve. It was also announced in this article that Woolworth's had voluntarily pulled the play money from their store shelves in the New York City area (but an injunction had been drafted in case they refused). 

   It was also stated that Mr. Bingham had stayed up all the previous night positioned by a turnstile "in his shirt sleeves" at the 14th Street and Seventh Avenue Station station, adjusting and readjusting the mechanism until it could reject the play money reliably. This accomplishment took place at 2 pm. It should also be noted that Mr. Bingham was no stranger to the innards of a turnstile - his uncle was Frank Hedley (President of the IRT), who with assistant James S. Doyle; had patented the first turnstile design for use in New York City in 1921!

   This article (for better or worse) also lists the diameter dimensions for both the token and the play money: .650" for the token and .630" for play money, with the original rejection setting at .600" or less. Now the rejection setting was approximately between the two at .640" +/-. This would reject the play coins, but allow the new tokens to work. The play coins were also thinner than the tokens, allowing for another dimension to discriminate. As I was sitting here and typing this, I just had to break out my micrometer: .648 on the Solid and .647 on the Y Cutout. I just had to make sure they were right!

   With this magic number now known, NYCTA turnstile technicians spread out throughout the system to adjust the other 2,466 turnstile mechanisms. Also, with sufficient quantities of tokens in TA possession, bags of 1000 tokens were now being sold to banks, cigar and cigarette stands, newsstands and other businesses for added convenience to sell to  transit users.

   On July 28th it was reported that 120,000 tokens had been sold to the following companies for resale: Guaranty Trust of New York,New York Savings Bank, Dun & Bradstreet, New York Telephone, Western Union Telegraph, Abraham & Straus, the US Army and US Navy, as well as independently owned newsstands.

   On July 30th it was reported that 21,650,000 tokens had been delivered, 13,888,000 distributed and 7,762,000 held in reserve. 170,000 tokens have been sold to banks, businesses and other concerns for resale to customers. As a result, the token "rationing" of five per person was relaxed somewhat, and was now increased to 10 tokens per person, enough for a work week (2 trips per day multiplied by 5 days). Also 4,364 "spurious" coinage (foreign coins, slugs, washers and fake tokens) were collected, but this number was expected to diminish since the recalibration of token discriminators two days prior.

   On July 31st, the first arrest of "turnstile cheating" took place: Rafael V. Rivera, 27; of East 109th Street was caught trying to use a Chicago Transit Authority token in a turnstile located at the 125th Street Station on the IRT Lenox Avenue Line. Arrests after this date also increased of people either trying to use slugs or for the outright mass manufacturing of counterfeit tokens (January 20 and 21, 1954). 

   When sufficient quantities of the "small Y cutout" tokens were finally produced (which was the intended design to be placed into circulation) they were shipped to NYCTA for distribution to token booths, and entered into circulation. Final delivery of the small tokens were scheduled for September 24. So, as the token clerks emptied the turnstiles, the solid design of tokens were pulled from circulation. 

   It retrospect, it seems duplicitous and a waste of both resources and financial investment for a short lived token issue; but rest assured, this is what took place. 

   The questions that now remain are:

1)Were the 16.5mm solid tokens shipped back to the manufacturer and struck to have the Y removed or were they simply scrapped?
2)Why not just leave the 16.5mm solid in circulation?

Authors note:

   Despite these articles being in the public domain for decades (either physically in print in the New York Times archives and now digitally), it is left to wonder why exonumists, transit historians, not to mention the NYCTA themselves and the Transit Museum have not published this information before.

   Irregardless, we now have our answers.

   As to why the Transit Authority hides this and does not publicly acknowledge this history of the small solid token as being first, leaves us to wonder. Is it due to a perceived embarrassment? The first of many examples of agency blundering? 

   It is up to the NYCTA to answer, and answer it they should; because the small solid token has its rightful place in the history and chronology of NYCTA transit tokens. But it has been and continues to treated like the unwanted step-child with no acknowledgment in Transit Museum displays. 

   Temporary or permanent, it was not an unused pattern, or a prototype. or an error. Its design was intentional, and its production rescued the NYCTA in its earliest days, and it circulated in the hands of many transit users. Therefore the small solid token should be acknowledged as such, along with its subsequent cousins. 

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"Dime sized" (not)

   The second clarification: is that while the first two token designs used by the New York City Transit Authority were called "dime sized", they were not actually the size of a dime.

   This misleading moniker was in reference to its general appearance to other coinage, but not to its actual dimensions. The US dime is 17.91mm or .705" in diameter. The small size tokens are 16.5 mm / .650" in diameter. This differential in size allowed the turnstile mechanism to discriminate between a dime (worth 10 cents) and a 15 cent token. Not doing so, would simply allow unscrupulous transit users to use a dime instead of a paying the 15 cents for a token.
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Subway & Bus? Sorry - no bus!
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   It was also learned from these New York Times articles, that this first issue of token was not for use in the surface divisions (street car & buses). It was intended to be for rapid transit (subway & elevated) use only. Tokens would not come to be accepted on buses until May 18, 1963, almost 10 years after the token was first released.
.

   In regards to the other tokens issues by the New York City Transit Authority:     

Fare hike = new token designs (nope)

   Another item that needs to be clarified, is that the date a new token design was released does not always correspond to the date of rise in fare. Case in point: the Bulls-eye Token. The fare hike to $1.00 took place on January 1, 1986, but the Bulls-eye Token was not released until April 21. Unfortunately, several websites, historical societies and blogs correlate the new token design with the fare hike. This is not always the case. 

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NOT Complete Sets!

   Quite unfortunately; misrepresentation and misinformation abounds with the sales of so-called "complete sets" of five, six or seven NYCTA tokens as seen on internet sales sites.

   No doubt, these were put together by misinformed and / or overenthusiastic and unscrupulous sellers.

   There are in fact eleven token issues for a basic set: nine Regular Fare and two Special Fare, as will be seen in the catalog below. There always have been and always will be.

   Even if one was to exclude the Special Fare Tokens (and I do not know why one would - they were available for purchase to the general public, albeit at limited locations), there still remains nine token designs released for standard fare, not five, six or seven. 

   Furthermore, you could assemble a set of six tokens individually and for a lower cost than by purchasing the so called "sets", but keep in mind, it still would not be a complete set.

   If one were to include die and font varieties that exist for a some of those token designs; you now have yourself at least twenty-one tokens to aim for in acquiring a "true" complete set of tokens for the NYCTA. 

   Either way, there are 11 tokens for a basic set or 21 tokens for die variety set.  

   In short: future buyers interested in purchasing so called "complete sets" of 5, 6 or 7 tokens, beware! 

   Now it can be safely said, we can progress to the visually rewarding aspect of this catalog - the token images! Again, keep in mind token images are shown at 200% for detail.

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Second Unification; New York City Transit Authority Tokens - 1953 - 2003

The colloquial name used by collectors is in quotation marks above the issue.

obverse reverse notes
"Small Solid"  or "Dime Sized Solid" 
This was the first token issued by the NYCTA.
16.5mm solids were used from July 25, 1953 to September 1953, 15¢
for rapid transit use only (no streetcars or buses) with the 16.5mm Y cutout (below) introduced mid-September 1953 when the above publicity image was distributed.
These solid tokens were removed from use soon thereafter.

brass, solid
diameter: 16.5mm / .650", thickness: 1.19mm, weight: 1.839g
design: Louis A. Schineller (NYCTA)
Scovill Manufacturing; Osborne Coinage; Meyer & Wenthe
total struck (solid & Y cutout varieties): 41,500,000 

Atwood-Coffee NY630AN

with four die varieties: N630ANa, 630ANb, 630ANc, 630ANd

rare; $25.00

"Small Y Cutout"
This was NOT the first token issued by the NYCTA.
It is the second, but was original design as ordered.
September 1953 - July 5, 1966: 15¢ (rapid transit - see note below)
July 5, 1966 - January 3, 1970:  20¢

f
or rapid transit use only (no streetcars or buses)
bus fare was 13¢ from 1954 till 1955
Fifth Avenue bus route fare raised to 15 cents on January 1, 1954
remainder of bus routes raised to 
15¢ in 1956 and fares for rapid or surface transit became uniform.

Accepted on buses effective May 18, 1963.
Used for children's admission to Transit Museum post-1970


brass, Y cutout
diameter: 16.5mm / .650", thickness 1.19mm, 1.775g
design: Louis A. Schineller (NYCTA)
Scovill Manufacturing; Osborne Coinage; Meyer & Wenthe
total struck (solid & Y cutout varieties): 41,500,000 

Atwood-Coffee NY630AO
with six die varieties: 630AOa, 630AOb, 630AOc, 630AOd, 630AOe, 630AOf

extremely common; $1.00 in minimally circulated condition

"Large Y Cutout"January 4, 1970 - December 31, 1971: 30¢
January 1, 1972 - August 31, 1975:      35¢
September 2, 1975 - June 27, 1980:     50¢

diameter: 23mm /.90", 1.69mm thickness, 4.7g, brass, Y cutout
Osborne Coinage Company, the Roger Williams Mint


Atwood-Coffee NY630AS
with four die varieties: 630ASa, 630ASb, 630ASc, 630ASd
Thick oval font (shown) and thin round font.

Also, multiple variations exist in presence of, or lack of dots; and their size
between "NEW" and "TRANSIT" and the words "CITY" and "AUTHORITY"


There was discussion in reverting to the small Y Cutout token when the fare rose to 
35¢,
but this did not take place and this token remained in service.


extremely common; $1.00 in minimally circulated condition


   To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the IRT; the NYCTA, under the jurisdiction of the state controlled MTA, jointly planned celebrations. William Bonell, a graphic designer from J.C. Penney Co. was selected to design a commemorative token which was to circulate concurrently with the then current 23mm Y-cut out issue.

   Osborne Coinage of Cincinnati, Ohio struck ten million in brass for general circulation. The design includes a subway kiosk entrance on one side, and a rendering of the 1904 subway car on the other. A diamond cut-out at top radiates throughout the background in ever-larger dimensions. It is interesting to note that nowhere on the token does it say "Good for One Fare." An error is known with two subway car designs, and no kiosk design, but has not been verified.

   In addition to the regular strikes, 5,000 were struck in proof brass from polished dies and made available to the public from the NYCTA's revenue office at 370 Jay Street. An additional 10,000 pieces were struck in copper-nickel, but were never released, and are presumed destroyed.

   The Fifth Avenue Jewelry firm of H. Stern was licensed to have an edition of 250 (edge numbered) made in 14-karat gold. They also has a special NYC theme bezel available for an additional fee. (see further in 
Proofs chapter below)

"Diamond Jubilee"Issued in commemoration of 75th Anniversary / Diamond Jubilee of the opening of the first subway
in New York City in 1904
.

November 1, 1979 - June 27, 1980:  50¢

brass, with diamond punch hole at top center
23mm / .90" diameter, 1.5mm thick, weight: 4.73g;
10,000,000 struck

Atwood-Coffee NY630AY
with two varieties: diagonal lines in car body: NY630AYa, or
lack of diagonal lines in car body
: NY630AYb

extremely common; $1.00 in minimally circulated condition

"Large Solid"Possibly ordered as early as 1970 and stored for future use. It is first mentioned and shown in August 22, 1975 NYT article.

June 28, 1980 - July 2, 1981:                 60
¢
July 3, 1981 - January 1, 1984:              75¢
January 2, 1984 - December 31, 1985:  90¢
January 1, 1986 - June 2,1986:  $1.00


22.25mm (.875"), 3.9g solid
35,000,000 struck
Roger Williams Mint

Atwood-Coffee NY630AT

extremely common; $1.00 in minimally circulated condition


3 5/8" x 8 1/2"
Many people missed the first exchange period for the older Large Solid Y and Large Y Cutout tokens to the new Bulls-eye Token,
drawing a lot of ire.

The NYCTA held a second exchange period. This subway car placard announces the second exchange period.

"SJD Bulls-eye"with initials SJD below between "D" in "GOOD" and "F" in "FOR"
initials stand for Sylvester J. Dobosz,
assistant director of revenue.

 

April 21, 1986 - December 31, 1989:  $1.00
January 1, 1990 - December 31, 1992:  $1.15
January 1, 1992 - November 11, 1995:  $1.25


22mm, brass, with 8mm magnetic steel center
diameter: 22mm / .873", thickness: 1.4mm / .055", weight: .382g
50,000,000 struck
Roger Williams Mint

Atwood-Coffee NY630BE


extremely common; $2.00 in minimally circulated condition
due to the lack of expertise in identifying the SJD, these are commonly mixed in with those tokens lacking the SJD initials
The inclusion of the SJD initials is an interesting story to say the least:

"Before he retired, Dobosz managed to have his initials, “SJD,” included on newly minted subway tokens."

One irrefutable and conclusive article in the March 9, 1992 issue of New York Magazine:
"The investigative reporter Matthew Fenton covered his bases well. Undaunted by the stone wall that a big bureaucracy like the TA can be, he went from department to department trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. And get to the bottom, he did. His persistence led him to the “Revenue Office”, where the Assistant Chief admitted the existence of two different versions of the Bullseye. When pressed about the reason, Fenton was told to speak to his predecessor...”the man who ordered the tokens”, but “he’s retired”. When Fenton asked how he could track down the man, he was given a name: Sylvester J. Dobosz.

Ummm...”SJD”? Well, you didn’t think he would drop the ball now, did you?

The good reporter finds old Mr. SJD himself, living on a quiet, tree lined street in Queens. Apparently, in 1985, Dobosz was approaching the end of his 40 year career with The New York City Transit Authority, during which time he had worked his way up from token booth clerk to senior executive. But before he retired, Sylvester Joseph Dobosz called the Roger Williams Mint in Attleboro, Massachusetts and requested that they make one last change to the bullseye token’s design, instructing them to (Yep, you guessed it) add his initials to all 60 million tokens that had been ordered.

In an interview setting, Dobosz himself proved to be a tough nut to crack. Initially he says what he did “was just a means of identification”. When questioned further, he insists it was “a way of distinguishing one minting from another...you know, to discourage counterfeiters”. When pressed about why he didn’t use one of the less obvious ways of distinguishing coin design, he finally acknowledges “my last hurrah...it was my last hurrah”.That, we can conclude, was his way of saying "The devil made me do it".


When the powers that be at the NYCTA discovered the SJD initials, they were ordered removed from the dies (or new dies made?) and the remaining tokens of that order lack the SJD initials.

"Plain Bulls-eye"Plain - SJD initials removed from reverse

January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989:  $1.00
January 1, 1990 - December 31, 1992:  $1.15
January 1, 1992 - November 11, 1995:  $1.25

22mm, brass, with 8mm magnetic steel center
diameter: 22mm / .873", thickness: 1.4mm / .055", weight: .382g
60,000,000 struck
Roger Williams Mint?

Atwood-Coffee NY630BI

extremely common; $1.00 in minimally circulated condition

"Archer Avenue Bullseye"Released December 1988 to commemorate opening
of Archer Avenue Extension (IND and BMT). Circulated with above issue.

January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989:  $1.00
January 1, 1990 - December 31, 1992:  $1.15
January 1, 1992 - November 11, 1995:  $1.25

brass, with 8mm magnetic steel center
diameter: 22mm / .873", thickness: 1.4mm / .055" weight: 3.77g
100,000 struck
Roger Williams Mint?

Atwood-Coffee NY630BG

increasingly difficult to find due to lower production quantity and in better grades;
$20.00 in minimally circulated condition

"Five Borough" or "Pentagon Punchout"Final issue of token.

November 12, 1995 - May 3, 2003:  $1.50


red brass plated steel, (lightly magnetic) with pentagon shape punch hole
diameter: 20mm / .790", thickness: 1.4mm / .055", weight: 3.26g
60,000,000 struck

Atwood-Coffee NY630BJ

extremely common; $1.00 in minimally circulated condition


Special Fare Tokens
"Extra Large Y Cutout" or "Supersized Y Cutout"Issued as special fare token for train to Aqueduct Race Track
then repurposed for use
for Express Buses late 1980's-1990's

issued 1966

brass, Y cutout

diamter: 28.5mm / 1.125", thickness: 2mm / .079"; weight: 9.66g
Atwood-Coffee NY630AP
Osborne Coinage Co., Roger Williams Mint

uncommon; $15.00

"Special Fare" or "Silver Special Fare"used as special fare for train to Aqueduct Race Track

issued April 1979

white metal (non-magnetic), solid
diamter: 23.5mm / .923", thickness: 1.5mm / .058"; weight: 4.37g
500,000 struck

Atwood-Coffee NY630AX

uncommon; $20.00

   Tokens were not only sold via the manned token booths, but also through bank tellers and department stores for customer convenience. At some rapid transit stations, coin operated token machines also saw use during unmanned and rush hours:

wall mount single token dispenser: 15 cents
(dime and nickel only)
self standing double token dispenser: 2 tokens for 30 cents
(any combination of coins)
both images courtesy of the New York City Transit Museum archives

   Token sales ended on April 13, 2003. Redemption of tokens at turnstiles ceased on rapid transit lines on May 3, 2003 and on surface lines December 31, 2003.


OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!

Rolls and Ten Packs - "Timesaver Paks"

   Those people who used the subway and transit system for their daily commute, whether it be work or higher education; they would purchase their tokens in multiples of ten: Five days multiplied by two trips a day for those with one rid commute, or twenty tokens for those unfortunate souls who needed to take a subway and a bus; or three buses.

   The NYCTA realized a significant amount of time could be eliminated from these multiple token sales by offering pre-packaged token "packs". Those people who bought multiple tokens, could now purchase the pack, instead of the clerk having to count out 10 (or more) individual tokens. This certainly cut down on the time required at the token clerk window and sped up transaction time.

   When this convenience actually started is not known, but the first observed "packaging" for rolls of tokens is this one:

unmarked roll of ten tokens - not packaged by NYCTA as it does not bear an MTA or NYCTA logo.

Rolls of tokens were sold by high end retailers like B. Altman; financial institutions like Manufacturers Hanover; as well as 10 Long Island Rail Road stations as a convenience to customers. So in all likelihood this is an example of those packages.
Also possible, they were supplied to messenger or delivery service employees by their respective companies.

23mm, brass, Y cutout
Atwood-Coffee NY630AS

January 4, 1970 - June 27, 1980


large two tone blue M logo and
all upper case:
PLEASE COUNT & EXAMINE
TOKENS BEFORE OPENING

Express Buses - sold at Sixth Ave and 57th Street station token booth as the Express buses rode across 57th Street.

28mm, brass, Y cutout

Atwood-Coffee NY630AP


January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989

rare: $100.00 - $150.00

large two tone blue M logo and
all upper case:
PLEASE COUNT & EXAMINE
TOKENS BEFORE OPENING

22mm, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AT


June 28, 1980 - July 2, 1981:                 60¢
July 3, 1981 - January 1, 1984:              75¢
January 2, 1984 - December 31, 1985:  90¢
January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989:  $1.00



uncommon; $30.00 - $35.00

large two tone blue M logo and
all upper case:
PLEASE COUNT & EXAMINE
TOKENS BEFORE OPENING

22mm, brass, with 8mm steel center
Atwood-Coffee NY630BE

all with initials SJD

January 1, 1986 - December 31, 1989

uncommon; $20.00 - $25.00



M logo in circle
New York City Transit Authority

unusual red ink "TimeSaver Pak"

Please count and examine tokens
before opening

22mm, brass, with 8mm steel center
Atwood-Coffee NY630BE and NY630BI mixed


January 1, 1986 - January 1, 1989

uncommon; $25.00 - $30.00

  logo in circle, New York City Transit ("Authority" removed)
(use of this logo began in 1994)

blue ink "TimeSaver Pak"

Please count and examine tokens
before opening.

22mm, brass, with 8mm steel center
Atwood-Coffee NY630BE and NY630BI mixed


January 1, 1992 - November 11, 1995

common; $15.00 - $20.00

Located in the NY Times Digital Archives is reference to an experiment:
4 packs of tokens being sold at the Archer Avenue Station begining June 4, 1990.
No
accompanying image and no further reference to this experiment is mentioned in the archive;
therefore it is not believed the public response to the "4 pack" was not enthusiastic enough to warrant continued sales. 
The article is shown at left.

These experimental packs would have been comprised of "Bulls-eye Tokens"

22mm, brass, with 8mm steel center
Atwood-Coffee NY630BE


M logo in circle
New York City Transit Authority

blue ink "TimeSaver Pak"

Note the use of old M logo (pre-1994), with the Pentagon Token (a 1995 issue), with full legend New York City Transit Authority and despite the above issue with the new logo with predecessor token.

November 12, 1995 - May 3, 2003


22mm, red brass, with pentagon shape punch hole
Atwood-Coffee NY630BJ

common; $10.00 - $15.00

   Token sales ended on April 13, 2003. Redemption of tokens at turnstiles ceased on rapid transit lines on May 3, 2003 and on surface lines December 31, 2003.

OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!

Errors, Patterns, Proofs & Counterfeits

   Nothing attracts more attention than objects of "error" and they almost always capture the awe of even the non-collector. The "inverted Jenny" stamp block which never fails to amaze is evidence of this - even those who are not philatelists (stamp collectors) talk about it. US Coins and Currency have their fair share of error superstars as well; with common errors even being within reach of the novice collector. 

   So it is not surprising to know of errors existing in the realm of New York City transit tokens. 

   Now, with something as mass produced by high speed automated machinery, mistakes are bound to happen. Normally, quality control does a thorough job of inspecting batches of tokens, but every so often one escapes. Errors escape at the manufacturer who may have lax security. 

   The next point of observation would be the token clerk who would observe them at the distribution point or when they jam the counting machine or turnstile. It was a common practice for clerks to remove them and place them on a small visible shelf right above the distribution slot.

   For the sake of explanation, these manufacturing errors below differ from the "New York City Transfer System" error (NY630KA) listed in the First Unification chapter above, because that was a die engraving error, which made it into limited production and was used briefly.

Here is a very cool error. IRT token, one of the punch out punches broke, so only two punches complete and a slight impression of the third.

22mm, copper nickel
Atwood-Coffee NY630U

very rare

strike error; single mis-strike

22mm, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AT

extremely rare

strike error; rotated punch out

Most common of the errors. Seen in both 16.5mm (NY630AO) and 22mm (NY630AS) Y punch out types;
and to varying degrees of rotation.

uncommon, but seen for sale from time to time

strike error; double mis-strike

22mm, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AT

extremely rare

strike error, un-punched

16.5mm, brass, Y cutout
Atwood-Coffee NY630AO

caution must be exercised - at a quick glance, this token error could appear as the Atwood-Coffee NY630AN.

extremely rare

strike error; no strike / blank planchet

22mm, brass, with 8mm steel center
Atwood-Coffee NY630BE, BI or BG

extremely rare

strike error; rotated punch out

23mm, brass, Y cutout
Atwood-Coffee NY630ASv2

uncommon, but seen for sale from time to time

strike error; unpunched

28mm, brass, Y cutout

Atwood-Coffee NY630AP


extremely rare

notice the vertical line between the N and C, this was used to align the Y-cut out properly.

strike error, off center punch error extending through rim

23mm, brass, Y cutout
Atwood-Coffee NY630AS

extremely rare

notice the small center hole, used in the Y cut out alignment process


clipped planchet error

22mm, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AT

extremely rare


strike error - off alignment punch
23mm, brass, with diamond punch hole at top center
Atwood-Coffee NY630AY

uncommon 

strike error - unpunched
23mm, brass, without diamond punch hole at top center
Atwood-Coffee NY630AY

rare 

double sided obverse die error

Yes, these really do exist; and not produced as a novelty double sided coin from a trick shop.

22mm, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AT

extremely rare

doubled sided reverse die error

22mm, solid
Atwood-Coffee NY630AT

extremely rare

   As with other errors in numismatics; error tokens will garner the attention of error collectors outside of the New York Transit exonumia area as well. Heavy bidding can be expected in an auction venue.

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Die Set Up

   This next piece, while it may appear to be an error, is in actuality a Die Set Up piece. This was done to check the dies for adequate pressure and alignment. This can be determined by only one side bearing the token design, but note the rim on the opposite side is evident, but not the design. A blank rimmed die was in place instead of the die that carried the design.

die set up

23mm, brass, with unpunched diamond at top center
obverse only impression

Atwood-Coffee NY630AY
unlisted in Atwood-Coffee


extremely rare

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Patterns

1974 pattern

In anticipation of awarding a contract to the Osborne Coinage for what would be the 22mm brass NY630AT;
a very limited quantity of this token was struck in bronze for testing and quality purposes.

22mm, bronze, solid
unlisted in Atwood-Coffee

extremely rare


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Proofs

   This proof token was struck by the Roger Williams Mint using a specially prepared polished die pair. The results are coins or tokens that are exceptionally mirrorlike, and proofs are rarer than uncirculated coins. Uncirculated coins or tokens, on the other hand, are created in larger quantities and may have blemishes.

   These proofs were sold at the NYCTA Revenue Department cash window at 370 Jay Street in very limited quantities in 1979 to 1980 or so.

   They came in unmarked but heat sealed plastic pouches for basic protection from dings.

   The Fifth Avenue Jewelry firm of H. Stern marketed a 14 karat gold version of the Diamond Jubilee token. These were also struck from proof dies. Mintage of 500, edge numbered.

   The NYCTA had struck a very very limited supply (supposedly 25 pairs) of 16.5 and 23mm tokens, struck from new proof dies. These tokens are not to be confused with regular tokens which were polished, gold-plated and sold as cuff-links or tie-tacks.
 

75th Anniversary / Diamond Jubilee Brass Proof

Sold from the Revenue window at 370 Jay Street.

Produced from polished dies of NY630AY.

23mm, brass, with diamond punch hole at top center
unlisted in Atwood-Coffee

rare; 5,000 struck

75th Anniversary / Diamond Jubilee Token Gold Proof

23mm, 14 karat gold, with diamond punch hole at top center
individually numbered with H. Stern engraved on edge at top of token

A special NYC theme bezel available for an additional fee.


Atwood-Coffee NY630
AM Presentation Piece

rare, only 250 struck

.

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Counterfeits

   If there was a way to save on paying the full fare price, one can be sure that there are less than honest people willing to make a counterfeit token or make available selected world coins or tokens from other cities which would trip the turnstile.

   In most cases, these well executed counterfeits were mass produced, and sold in bulk quantities to a distributor. This distributor would add their mark up to the unit price, and resell the counterfeits, at say 25% to 50%; of and actual token cost for a package of 50 or 100.

   Something to be kept in mind about counterfeits, no matter how crude it is they really only have to work once. The tokens were often poorly made so as to be easily identified and separated from authentic tokens buy the booth attendant before recirculated in conjunction with the daily operations of the token booth.

   So, for the sake of thoroughness, the following are examples of NYCTA token counterfeits.

Counterfeit NY630AT

This token is drastically lighter than an authentic brass token. It appears to be cast in either zinc or aluminum.
Counterfeit NY630AS

Lead with light brass plating.


on display at and courtesy of the New York City Transit Museum


OverviewThe Atwood-Coffee Catalog

19th Century Issues - 1827 to 1900

20th Century Issues - 1900 to 1940
BronxBrooklynManhattanQueensStaten Island

First Unification "NYCTS" - City Wide Issues - 1940-1953

Second Unification "NYCTA" - City Wide Issues - 1953 - 2003

Rolls & "Ten Paks"

Errors, Patterns, Proofs and Counterfeits!
Page 1: Fare Tickets & Employee PassesPage 7: Half Fare Tickets - Sundays / Weekends
you are on Page 2: TokensPage 8: Half Fare Tickets - Senior Citizens & Handicapped
Page 3: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Rapid TransitPage 9: School / Student / Pupil Reduced Fare & Free Passes
Page 4: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Surface; Streetcar LinesPage 10: Special Issue Tickets
Page 5: Continuing Ride Tickets & Transfers - Surface; Bus RoutesPage 11: Staten Island Rapid Transit
Page 6: Continuing Ride Tickets; Surface; Add-A-RidePage 12: Hudson and Manhattan & Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH)



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 Philip M. Goldstein / George S. Cuhaj
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