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Is Token Collecting A Thing? You Bet Your Bottom So-Called Dollar It Is!

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1420 Posts
 Posted 09/05/2021  2:03 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add CCFPress to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
A friend of mine who isn't a coin collector but heavily involved in the realm of collectible toys recently asked me about some elongated pennies and brass tokens he had seen advertised on an online auction website. He was mainly curious if a lot of folks collect pieces like that. It's a fair question. And one that comes with a resounding "YES" as the answer.

Of course, there are collectors for just about everything out there, and when it comes to tokens there's no shortage of them. Just ask the folks at the Token and Medal Society - an educational and non-profit exonumia organization widely known by its acronym TAMS. Indeed, people have been collecting tokens for generations, and there are so many types to collect, it's almost hard to know where to start.

1933 SC $1 KM-687a Blue Anodized Aluminum Santa Monica Breakwater, PCGS MS63

Now, I'm more of a Lincoln Cent guy, but you best believe I've got some tokens to my name. And it all started with my grandmother gifting me two transit tokens - one from my maternal family's native Massachusetts and the other from my hometown region in Central Florida. They ended up becoming the last things she ever gave me before Alzheimer's disease really took a hold of her. This was in 1993, during my first 14-ish months or so as a coin collector, and I've since added a variety of other tokens to my collection.

So, what do I collect and why? With tokens, it's been my experience that I'm best focusing on some topical parameters when it comes to adding new pieces to my set. For me, those would be tokens relating to my hometown, those emblazoned with images and logos of my favorite local theme park, and any piece that bears my year of birth.

Having interviewed other token collectors over the years for various projects and journalism assignments, this seems to be the way they go, too. After all, tokens encompass a truly vast array of subject matter - and there are seemingly endless varieties out there. So, narrowing down collecting objectives to subject matter often makes the most sense for the plurality of token enthusiasts.

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Pillar of the Community
United States
1076 Posts
 Posted 09/05/2021  2:14 pm  Show Profile   Check Collects82's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Collects82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I haven't done too much with tokens, but I have deep interest in Family History and this is where my two hobbies collide. I've tried to pick up tokens from some of the obscure towns my ancestors lived like Arco, Idaho. Would love a token tied to Bodie, CA where ancestors on both my parents side spent time, on my father's side managing the railway and on my mother's owning a brothel/opium den. Tokens are a cool way to bring their times to life because they likely held these same tokens when they were there.
My hoard of '82s is up to 223! 218 BC x 1, 118 BC x 3, 18 BC x 1, 82 x 1, 182 x 1, 282 x 2, 382 x 1, 582 x 2, 682 x 1, 782 x 2, 882 x 1, 982 x 4, 1082 x 1 1182 x 8, 1282 x 2, 1382 x 1, 1482 x 5, 1582 x 13, 1682 x 16, 1782 x 58, 1882 x 62, 1982 x 37
Bedrock of the Community
United States
10248 Posts
 Posted 09/05/2021  6:20 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collected mostly medals and so called dollars and other exonumia for the past three years. There are many pieces that depict people, places and events in our history. I collected a lot of Worlds Fair items pre WWII. A bunch of old west theme characters and famous Americans that I like.
I learned a lot about history studying them. There are some awesome designs too. Some can be quite pricey, others are surprisingly affordable but there are plenty out there to steer in any direction and make a nice attractive collection. I think I had my most fun in all my collecting years in this niche of numismatics.
My favorite album!
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World's Fair Exposition Medals and Tickets
New Member
United States
6 Posts
 Posted 09/17/2021  11:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TexMex to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I collect lower Rio grande valley Texas tokens. Started as an interest in local history and kinda took off from there. Got some rarities from most of the towns, including ghost towns. The best part is getting a token and tracing it back to it's origins, sometimes even finding photos or articles linking them to the past. I find the history behind them fascinating.
Valued Member
United States
205 Posts
 Posted 09/18/2021  8:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sagegirl to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I started off collecting tokens about 4 or so years ago. I bought a couple of bulk quantities of tokens. I flipped them and sorted them out by category, car wash, parking, telephone, shell oil tokens, and ETC... Then I decided that if I am going to put so much time into the hobby I would narrow down my parameters of what I would collect. I now focus on the County of any town I lived in, Any us military base I was stationed at and surrounding communities, and finally any us military token from any country I was stationed in, which for me was Korea.. It been fun and frustrating at the same time but I sure wouldn't change anything..
Pillar of the Community
4386 Posts
 Posted 09/20/2021  8:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While I do have quite a diverse and possibly an excessive amount of exonumia, one area of particular interest is anything from my long-time place of residence Ottawa, Ontario and the surrounding county. I have close to 70 pieces in quite a number of categories: communion token, dog tag, good for, etc.
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