Tehran bus tokens

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Public transport

Little is known about the history of the bus network in Tehran. The system has its origin in 1920. It is likely to have started as a collection of privately run, more or less competing lines. For a long time, the system operated only conventional buses. After the retraction of the tokens, trolley buses were introduced in 1992. They were joined by Rapid Transport Buses in 2008. Some conventional lines were single purpose, such as connecting a housing development.

Tokens

All tokens were issued in the period 1944-1957. Some are dated. All tokens are brass. Their introduction may have had to do with spent shell casings, that would have made brass very cheap after the second world war. If that is the case, the demise of the tokens may be connected to the end of martial law in 1957. This development must have weakened the economic and political power of the army, a constant source of spent shell casings. The tokens were succeeded by paper bus tickets.

Ticket prices are extremely low, but bus transport is often so uncomfortable that private car ownership is highly appreciated. Some tokens have a denomination, like 1 rial or 2 rials. This is likely to have been the price of a ride.

Known token issuers are:

  1. Adalat panah
  2. Adl
  3. Baharestan
  4. Dustaneh
  5. Mowlavi
  6. Naderi
  7. Naqshe bardari
  8. Rafat ba mas'uliat
  9. Renov
  10. Shahpur
  11. Shahrara
  12. Shemiran
  13. TCC
  14. Tehran sir
  15. Tehran trafik

In this list, the words Sahami (joint) Sharkat (company) nou (new) and oto (bus) have been ignored.

Background information

Persepolis archer.jpg
Faravahar Persepolis.jpg
Baharestan-majles
Huma Persepolis.jpg
Darius.jpg
  • The Persepolis archer on TEH15 refers to a bas-relief from Persepolis. The headdress is not a crown but part of the archer's clothes.
  • The man-bird Farvahar was used during the Pahlavi dynasty as a symbol for the people of of Iran. Originally, it is a symbol of Zoroastrianism, the main religion of pre-Islamic Persia signifying the soul. The design on TEH5a and 5b was probably inspired by a relief from Persepolis.
  • The gate shown on TEH03 is the central part of an ornamental gate left of the Baharestan building. The lions on the pillars have disappeared since the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty.
  • The Huma bird is a Griffin-like mythical bird flying forever, bestowing majesty and happiness. A column capital from Persepolis probably served as inspiration for the design of TEH14. Image is by درفش کاویانی [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
  • The seated king on TEH05b and TEH08 is Darius. The design was inspired by a bas-relief from Persepolis, showing a court scene. The attendant behind the throne carries a wedge, one of the royal regalia.

Catalogue

Tehran
File:TEH01a.jpg
Filename TEH01a
Side 1 Sharkat adalat panah, bazar - bagh Saba, from the bazar to Saba gardens
Side 2 Ornament and deer head
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams)
Notes The meaning of adalat (just) panah (refuge, shelter) is unclear.
Source Smith & Smith
TEH01b.jpg
Filename TEH01b
Side 1 Sharkat adalat panah, bazar - heshmatiyeh * شرکت عدالت پناه / بازار * حشمتیه *

from the Bazar(district 12) to Heshmatiyeh (district 7)

Side 2 Ornament and deer head
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Smith & Smith
TEH02.jpg
Filename TEH02
Side 1 Sharkat sahami oto ‘adl 1 r(ial)

شرکت سهامی اتو عدل

Side 2 khat 3 / خط ۳
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams) 2.0
Notes Adl (justice, fairness) could also be a family name.
Source Saro
TEH03.jpg
Filename TEH03
Side 1 Sharkat sahami oto Baharestan - Khat 9 / ta sis 1332

(established in 1332 شرکت سهامی اتو بهارستان / خط ۹ / تاسیس

Side 2 Gate.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams)
Notes Baharestan (now Majlis) is a name for the Iranian parliament
Source Saro
File:TEH04.jpg
Filename TEH04
Side 1 Sharkat Dustaneh
Side 2 1 rial
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Smith & Smith
TEH05a2.jpg
Filename TEH05a
Side 1 Sharkat oto Mowlavi nou 18 khat
Side 2 Farvahar, Khat 18
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source courtesy image: Richard Greever
TEH05b.jpg
Filename TEH05b
Side 1 Farvahar - 18 Khat خط ۱۸
Side 2 Sitting king Darius- no legend
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm)
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Saro
TEH06a.jpg
Filename TEH06a
Side 1 Sherkat oto Naderi شرکت اتو نادری
Side 2 Khat 12 خط ۱۲
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Saro
TEH06b.jpg
Filename TEH06b
Side 1 Sherkat oto Naderi شرکت اتو نادری
Side 2 Khat 19 12 خط ۱۲ / ۱۹ (incuse)
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 16,5
Weight (grams) 1,6g
Notes
Source Saro / photo credit : Prosit
File:TEH07.jpg
Filename TEH07
Side 1 Sherkat t'avoni sazman Naqshe bardari 1336 (1957 AD).
Side 2 1 rial
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 20
Weight (grams)
Notes Used by the Naqshe bardari company to transport its staff between their company provided living quarters and their work place. Literally, Naqshe bardari means cartography. The same term is used by a school in Tehran that does not teach cartography.
Source Smith & Smith
TEH08.jpg
Filename TEH08
Side 1 Sharkat rafat ba mas'uliat mahdud ta'sis 1334 (1955 AD)
Side 2 Sitting king Darius, servant behind throne.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Henk
TEH09a.jpg
Filename TEH09a
Side 1 Sherkat sahami oto Renov شرکت سهامی اتو ری نو / Khat 22 خط ۲۲
Side 2 Daimler-Benz logo.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Saro
TEH9b.jpg
Filename TEH9b
Side 1 Khat 8 خط ۸
Side 2 Daimler-Benz logo.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Saro
TEH10.jpg
Filename TEH10
Side 1 Sharkat oto Shapur nou. Khat 4

شرکت اتو شاهپور ذو / خط ۴

Side 2 4 Phoenix.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22.5
Weight (grams) 3.6
Notes
Source Saro
File:TEH11.jpg
Filename TEH11
Side 1 Shahrara.
Side 2 2 rialy.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 20
Weight (grams)
Notes Shahrara is a quarter just outside and to the North-West of the Tehran city centre. At the time, it was a new housing development.
Source Smith & Smith
TEH12a.jpg
Filename TEH12a
Side 1 Sharkat oto Shemiran / 1 rial (khat) 7.
Side 2 lion's head.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Smith & Smith
TEH12b.jpg
Filename TEH12b
Side 1 Sharkat oto Shemiran 2,5 rialy (khat) 7.
Side 2 lion's head.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 27
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Saro / photo credit : Statmatics
TEH13.jpg
Filename TEH13
Side 1 Shield with TCC monogram.
Side 2 Ornament and khat 20
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source Smith & Smith
TEH14.jpg
Filename TEH14
Side 1 Sherkat sahami Tehran sir nov / Khat 11 خط ۱۱ / شرکت سهامی تهران سیر نو
Side 2 Persepolis achaemenid griffins.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 19mm
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source
TEH15.jpg
Filename TEH15
Side 1 Sherkat sahami Tehran Trafic. Khat Shush شرکت سهامی تهران ترفیک / خط شوش
Side 2 Persepolis archer.
Manufacture Brass
Size (mm) 22
Weight (grams) 3.8
Notes Shush is a quarter just outside and South of the Tehran city centre. At the time, it was a new housing development.
Source Saro