Author Topic: UK national transport tokens  (Read 42440 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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UK national transport tokens
« on: April 26, 2010, 12:59:48 AM »
It's hard to find out more about these tokens, but they are intriguing, if only because they are generally richly decorated. Also, they have nothing to do with one way trips to Australia. I found out that there is a company National Transport Tokens Ltd. in Blackburn, which distributes the tokens and calls itself a "transportation consultancy", which I always thought was the uniformed person who'd actually know stuff, wandering around aimlessly in stations or holding endless conversations with colleagues.

AJG told me about the reason of their existence. When you are 60, you may choose between a free bus pass and an amount (somewhere around 60) in tokens. I found that in spite of the word "national", there is no national public transportation organization. All kinds of lower governments do their own thing, apparently without any consulting with neighbouring or overlapping bus services or British Rail. Therefore, the owners of each system must decide whether or not to honour the tokens.

Apparently, the tokens are used to make sure that only those who may have a free bus pass can use them. However, it is OK to give change in real money, but you can't convert any token by itself. As an economist, my advice would have been to give all beneficiaries a tax discount of 60 and be done with all the forms, regulations and insecurity on whether you can use the tokens. As a collector, I am glad they went for tokens and bureaucracy instead.

Peter
« Last Edit: September 13, 2013, 05:24:52 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 01:05:47 AM »
Here is the first piece, a 50p. The reverses all have the denomination at the centre, with NATIONAL TRANSPORT TOKEN around. That's boring, so I didn't scan them. This one shows York Minster's Western front, which is one of England's finest cathedrals. The view on the token is impossible, since other buildings are too close by.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 01:38:40 AM »
This 50 p token presents Edinburgh castle, a particularly ugly, but interesting complex of military housing within what once was a majestic fortress. The picture is somewhat misleading as the castle stands in the centre of Edinburgh. The castle glacis is the stomping grond for an annual military tattoo.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 02:04:37 AM »
The subject of this token is Caernarfon castle, a spectacular complex of walls and towers near the Irish sea, opposite Dublin. The castle is the scene of the investiture of the prince of Wales. It is also connected to the 5th Earl, who financed the expedition that discovered the grave of pharaoh Tuthankamen. Folklore has it that he dies shotly afterwards as a victim of the curse of the pharaoh. Having visited the grave, I have been unable to ascertain the existence of the curse. I already had stomach trouble before I got there :)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 09:15:51 AM »
The last of the 50p has the logo of "National Transport Token Ltd." I hope to discover more monuments in due time. All 50p tokens are 9-sided, aluminium, 2.0 grams and 29.1 mm.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 10:02:27 AM »
On to 20p. Though I have only found pictures where the tramcar has rectangular windows, this seems to be the Brill 21E Tramcar, used all over the country. A smallish, double-decker car with open top and electricity when in most cities, trams were still horse-drawn. I guess modern safety inspectors would take issue with the low railing on the top deck an the accessibility of the electricity lines..

Peter
« Last Edit: April 26, 2010, 10:34:56 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 12:34:51 PM »
Somewhat further advanced in time and technology is this Daimler CVD6 bus. Powered by an 8.4 litre Daimler engine, it was still suitable for city traffic only. The body was built by Northern Coachbuilders. The type was phased out around 1966.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 12:43:28 PM »
I am amused by the designation of the class 508 train as an EMU, as that is also the designation of the precursor of the euro [ducking].

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 01:01:18 PM »
The metrocar on this 20p is a light railway vehicle, now pretty outdated, built by Metro-Cammel.

All 20 p tokens are 7-sided, aluminium, 1.5 grams and 24.7 mm. The reverse shows the denomination and legend NATIONAL TRANSPORT TOKEN around.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 01:33:17 PM »
For a long time, the only variant of the 10p I knew of was the holed one below. It is aluminium, 1.1 gram, 21.5 mm. Both sides are the same. I recently got a new version (thanks, AJG!). It features Aquarius, of uncertain gender in the pose of a British tourist on a Spanish beach. In view of the series above, I expect that other signs of the zodiac are around. The connection between the zodiac and public transportation is not at once obvious to me. The new type is considerably thicker and smaller, aluminium 1.9 grams, 19.3 mm.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2010, 01:43:14 PM »
The only 5p in my collection fits in the "holed" series, except that the 5p is significantly larger than the 10p, which must have been confusing. Like the holed 10p, it has a reeded edge, while all other tokens above have a smooth edge. It is 1.8 grams, 27.5 mm, aluminium and both sides are the same. I like the way the 5 is folded around the hole.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2010, 02:00:44 PM »
To conclude with, the pound. Contrary to all the others, it is dated and it has a pound sign (the others do not have a p in the denomination). In addition, there's a pearl border on the reverse the others don't have. The obverse bears the logo of National Transport Token Ltd. also found on one of the 50p pieces. The token has a reeded edge, it is aluminium, 2.1 grams and 23.0 mm.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

andyg

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2010, 07:31:10 PM »
Paul Baker once told me the 1 coins had the Utrecht mint logo on...
The 5p and 10p with holes are no longer valid, but the rest can be spent on the bus...

Offline africancoins

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2010, 07:56:14 PM »
My 1 Pound is without the mint marks... but I am sure I have seen an image of one with mark of the Utrecht mint.

The company website is not working...

http://www.transport-tokens.co.uk/

are they still in business ?

Thanks Mr Paul Baker

Offline Figleaf

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Re: UK national transport tokens
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2010, 08:19:48 PM »
Yes, it looks like they pulled their site from the server. Here is a marker on the corner of Blakewater Road and Philips Road in Blackburn, found with Google Earth. They are mentioned on the second sign from below. The photo may be years old, though.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.