Sweden Amusement Tokens

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This section is under construction. As a first step, we will add pages for some of the most encountered tokens by issuer. You are very welcome to add more pages or contribute to existing pages. If you wish, you can make requests for the addition of issuers on the discussion page.


The social and political role of amusement parks

This section owes much to Dansen och makten by Mattias Svenson, January 2013.

Swedish amusement parks are the sedentary version of mobile fun fairs that preceded them, supplemented with facilities for other forms of public entertainment. They are generally a mix of one or more dance floors, restaurants and a fun fair. They may also offer services, such as a theatre or function rooms. From the beginning, they (and restaurants offering an opportunity to dance) were a political issue. In 1928, member of the Riksdag Per Albin Hansson said in a speech that restrictive measures on music and dancing in public were inappropriate because of "a general feeling that society benefits from a certain degree of freedom." His stance was popular among the general public. However, the clergy and large segments of politicians, doctors, teachers and academics (the "bourgeoisie") offered stiff resistance. In 1932, Social Democrat Åkerman asked in the same venue "Can nothing be done to stop the dance?"

The bourgeoisie saw public entertainment as immoral and wanted to act against "entertaining film, public dance, especially in conjunction with the serving of intoxicants and the criminally stressed and pornographic literature that reaches young people already in school age and in secret ways.” John Björk, of the People's party added that "in the countryside, dance floors are often moral hotbeds". The church demanded legal measures, notably in a letter to the government from bishop Yngve Brilioth, proposing a government inquiry into what interventions were necessary to halt a continuing moral decline due to public entertainment.

Due to the outbreak of the second world war, not much happened on the political front, but the bourgeoisie expanded its influence. Preacher John Hedlund put it like this in 1946: "A wave of unbridled sexuality has swept the world. The most primitive forms of entertainment have seen the light of day. One such is modern dance. It is a manifestation of spiritual poverty and moral rot.” Probably, the rise of jazz ("negroid so-called music") and sexually charged singers like Elvis Presley contributed to this outburst.

In spite of these opinions, young people kept flocking to the dance halls. Modern music became widely accepted. The bourgeoisie therefore changed tack from sex to alcohol. "What does the presence of one or another slightly intoxicated person mean in this respect in comparison with the dance music, whose character includes, among other things, the physical and mental attitude of a lulling and raging drunkard?" wrote, for example, elementary school teacher Erik Walles in his book Jazz attacks. This fit in with the increase in the drinking age to 20 and a high tax on alcoholic drinks.

An increasing number of academic studies showed that neither the sex argument nor the alcohol argument were true. As one stated: "It was the boredom in the municipal society that created dissatisfaction. The commercial entertainment made the summer evenings sparkle a little extra." Once, during the great economic crisis of the 1930s, the amusement parks were the last forms of popular public entertainment that were still open when many restaurants and theatres closed. Now, it is generally recognised that the parks fulfilled an important social function in a country with long winters. Ironically, once the political and religious resistance subsided, the amusement parks went into decline, under pressure from home entertainment. The number of remaining parks is in a steady decline. Some parks were modernised, but a number of those still operating need rejuvenation.

Amusement park tokens

The tokens are still available in quantity, making it likely that they were not used as entry tickets, but for amusement and vending machines. They were probably not sold individually and may not have been redeemable, so leftover tokens would explain their availability today. Also, tokens had to be changed from time to time in view of inflation and to clean up contingent liabilities. Such operations would make forgotten tokens worthless.

There are a large number of municipal park tokens. These parks are tilted more towards (popular) culture, ranging from theatre to cinema and dance. Since the tokens are not well catalogued, all listings should be considered as provisional, including generic tokens meant for municipal parks.

Generic token makers would also compete to make specific tokens listed below. The generic tokens are fit for use outside the amusement sector. However, since they seem to have been used mostly for amusement machines, they are listed here.

Amusement token issuers

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Specific issues

Amusement park and fairground tokens used in one location

Amusement park, fairground and casino tokens used in several locations

Slot Machine Tokens

Municipal park tokens

Generic issues

See also the list of Swedish Transport Token Manufacturers and Stamps


Bernt Thelin & Jan Hildemar, Svenska polletter från nöjesfält och tivoli. Svenska Pollettföreningens Småskrifter Nr 5, 2021

Bo Gustavsson, Göteborgpolletter: Polletter för krogar, nöjen och sjöfart från början fram till i dag. (sv) [Tokens for restaurants, entertainment and shipping from the beginning to the present] 2018

Bernt Thelin and Magnus Wijk, Skånepolletter: Skånska polletter och deras utgivare från äldre tider fram till nutid (sv) [Skåne tokens and their issuers from older times to the present day] 2016

Monica Golabiewski Lannby & Ian Wiséhn, Stockholms polletter (sv) [Tokens from Stockholm] 2010

Erik Stolberg Opslagsværk over Danske Spille-Og Automatmærker (Dan), Reference work on Danish Gaming and Slot Machines 1986