Author Topic: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens  (Read 1206 times)

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Offline FosseWay

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Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« on: November 04, 2012, 03:13:27 PM »
I went to the tram museum in Gothenburg today, where among other things they had an exhibition on how passengers paid for journeys over the years. The information below comes from this display -- apologies for the quality of the pictures.

Before 1919 a system involving märken (a kind of stamp) was used, but in that year it was decided to use metal tokens instead. As I understand it, it was possible to pay the conductor (later the driver) with cash as well (up until sometime last decade, in fact). Passengers were, however, encouraged to use tokens as this meant that there were no problems with finding change for large-value banknotes or coins.

The first token was entirely devoid of text. On one side is a typical Gothenburg tram of the WW1 period and on the other is the city arms. These were introduced in May 1919 at an initial price of two for 25 öre. The price rose in December the same year to 15 öre each.

In 1922 a child fare token was introduced. This token was also more informative. One side carries the Göta Lejon, with the date (1921). Below the lion, BARNPOLLETT means child token. 'Inlöses efter styrelsebeslut', which appears on this and all the later tokens, means 'Redeemed according to management decision'. The child fare at this time was 10 öre. This token was designed by Karl M. Bengtsson of Gothenburg.

In 1924 the adult token was changed to one more similar to the child version, but dated 1924. VUXENPOLLETT means adult token.

The 1921/24 tokens remained in use until 1949, though their value changed. In 1941 fares rose to 20 öre for adults and 15 öre for children, but in 1945 the child fare was reduced to 10 öre again.

In 1949 the price rose to 25 öre and a new type of adult token was introduced, with a triangular hole. There is no mention of a corresponding child token. This token remained in use through three price rises, in 1951, 1952 and 1955, until 1956, when a paper coupon system was introduced.

I have yet to come across any of these tokens to add to my collection, though they do come up on Tradera from time to time.




Offline Figleaf

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2012, 04:38:04 PM »
Excellent post! Thank you.

If I understand you correctly, the holed tokens came about after a price rise. In other words, when the price rose, the un-holed tokens were probably declared invalid and redeemable and replaced by holed tokens at the higher price.

I have a few holed French transportation tokens. They are usually described as "cancelled", which seems a wasteful way to use metallic tickets. The price rise story appeals much more to me.

Peter
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2012, 05:37:01 PM »
I'm not entirely clear what the relationship between price rises and changes in the tokens are. There were several price rises where no new tokens were issued; presumably those that were sold after a given date cost more in money but were valid for precisely the same journey when used on the tram, rather like the UK's non-denominated inland postal stamps marked 1st and 2nd.

As far as I can see the 1924 and 1949 vuxenpolletter are the same except for the date and the hole. My reading of the display is that the 1949 tokens had the hole from the beginning and that it's not either a mark of cancellation or something added later to change its value. It's clear that the designer didn't envisage a hole being punched just there on the token, but nothing I've seen suggests that they circulated without the hole before later being punched.

On a wider note, transport tokens often seem to have odd-shaped holes (the NYC ones with a Y-shaped hole spring to mind). Is this simply a matter of visual differentiation to make them as different from circulating coinage as possible, or did the hole play some role in identifying the token to a turnstile or other slot machine?

Offline malj1

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2012, 10:18:45 PM »
Some very useful information which adds to our knowledge of these.

I wonder if perhaps the tramways authority had their own machine to add the triangular hole to re-validate these particular tokens to a higher value. They could then withdraw all the tokens in/after 1949 and then reissue [with hole] at the new value.
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2012, 01:22:17 AM »
The US transportation tokens come in a limited number of sizes and metals. It would therefore make sense if the holes had a control function. See this thread.

Peter
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2012, 07:45:08 AM »
I wonder if perhaps the tramways authority had their own machine to add the triangular hole to re-validate these particular tokens to a higher value. They could then withdraw all the tokens in/after 1949 and then reissue [with hole] at the new value.

Could be, but there's still the question of why the 1949 issue was so treated at the time a price rose, and not the 1919 or 1924 issues, both of which saw price rises during their period of validity. The clincher would be to find a 1949 token with no hole, I guess. All the ones I've seen on sale have had the hole.

Offline Kushi

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2012, 09:43:26 AM »
Smith and Smith (1990) catalogue numbers for these four tramway tokens, top to bottom.
Sweden 240 EB EJ EF and EH.

Offline orsk2

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2012, 05:27:51 PM »
GÖTEBORGS SPÅRVÄGAR
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Offline malj1

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 10:23:06 PM »
Very nice image, can you add the diameter?
Malcolm
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Offline orsk2

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2012, 05:18:57 AM »
Yes, of course.
19,6 mm.
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2013, 04:57:28 PM »
I've recently acquired an issue of a long-defunct numismatic periodical, Mynttidningen, from 1995 which describes a range of varieties in the first token in this series. Most are not listed elsewhere AFAIK - they certainly aren't all in Smith & Smith.

There are two principal varieties of the side with the tram, in which the tram is travelling to the left or to the right. The author of the article surmises that the right version is the original issue but points out that otherwise it's not possible to assign a chronological order to the varieties.

The "tram right" variant also carries the designer's name, K. Eklund Gbg.

The "tram left" variant has a number of subvariants. The precise location of the top of the pantograph in relation to the power line is one determining factor - sometimes it simply touches the line and sometimes it goes above it. The shape of the pantograph loop also varies. In addition, the electrical unit on the roof of the tram has, or does not have, "prongs" sticking out horizontally at either end. My example below (8590) has no loop above the power line but does have the prongs. Additionally it has apparent die cracks at both ends of the tram, which are identical on the token pictured in the article.

The other side carries the coat of arms of the city of Gothenburg with a crown above. The crown comes in various sizes and shapes. The "tram right" obverse appears only to be coupled with the "crown with 2 bands" as on 9476 below. 8590 has a small crown with 4 rows of bricks below - there are other variants with larger crowns and/or more rows of bricks.

In total there are 5 tram side variants and 4 arms side variants.

Brass, 19.6 mm, 2.87 g

Offline malj1

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2013, 12:18:56 AM »
Very interesting. I see the image from the museum in reply one above shows a variety of the tram left (8590) with more rows of bricks to the crown, while the other side the pantograph is slightly above the wire and the attached rope, to pull down the pantograph, is shown clearly too.

I see Smith & Smith have the two main varieties at 240 EA & EB and mentions (vars) which covers the others.
Malcolm
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2013, 09:59:01 AM »
I will see if I can scan the illustrations in the article and post the variants. But yes, the one in the photo from the museum is different from my own example of the "tram left" variant.

Re the rope to pull down the pantograph - I had wondered what that was, and now you explain it, it seems so obvious! There are still some trams of the type shown on the tokens in use here, and they don't have such a rope, but I guess they've been retrofitted with batteries so that the pantograph can be raised and lowered by the driver in the cab, as with more modern trams.

Edit - was just looking for a picture of one, since I couldn't be bothered to go into town and take a picture  ;D, and note that in fact it does have the rope! Never noticed before. This is the earliest tram still in service here (1902) and therefore predates the tokens. Anyway, this is the closest we still have to the tram on the token:


Offline malj1

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2013, 01:14:49 AM »
That is a lovely view of the tram. I have been behind a tram a few times when they have hurtled around a corner too fast and lost contact with the wires, and have had to sit and wait and watch efforts to reconnect the power, our early trams had a single pole like the London trolley buses had. These were quite scary if the bus strayed too far from the wire resulting in loud banging on the roof as the arms bounced around.
Malcolm
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Göteborgs Spårvägar - Gothenburg tram tokens
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2013, 07:12:51 PM »
Losing contact with the wires doesn't seem to be as much of a problem here as losing contact with the track, which happens fairly frequently (almost always at a limited number of derailment blackspots where there are lots of points).