Turkey telephone tokens

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Telephone service had a slow start in Turkey. In 1840, during the reign of Abdul Mejid, the Postahane-i Amire (Ministry of Posts) was established. In 1855, the first telegraph service came about. Experimental lines were laid in Istanbul from 1881. However the suspicious Ottoman regime of the time, no doubt fearing the telephone could be used by opponents of the regime and foreign spies, banned almost all telephone usage in 1888.

With the constitutional revolution of 1908 this ban was lifted and and in 1909 the first telephone service was opened. In the same year the name of the ministry of Posts was changed to Posta Telgraf Telefon (PTT) a name that would be used until 1995.

Operators.jpg

Phone exchange equipment was purchased from France. Initially this network was envisaged to serve just the official buildings. However lack of technical know-how quickly showed itself. Seeing a chaotic situation develop, foreign investors petitioned the government for a concession to run the telephone network. The government caved in and chose an Anglo-American-French consortium. The 30 year concession for Istanbul and region was signed in 1911. The investors created a company called ‘Dersaâdet Telefon Anonim Şirketi’ (Istanbul Telephone Company Ltd.) which became operational in February 1913. The service caused a bit of a social revolution, as all operators were female and holding a job. Photo: Levantine heritage

After the Turkish Republic replaced the Ottoman Empire in 1923, the ministry became a general directorate of the Republic. In 1995 the telephone and other telecommunication services were split off from PTT. After less than a year, these services went into a new company, Türk Telekomünikasyon A.Ş. (Türk Telecom). By 2005, this company was privatised, but 55% of the shares were sold to Oger Telecom and the Turkish state holds another 30%.

Similar 11-lobed tokens that are blank on both sides are listed on the page for Egypt

Government telephone tokens
TTU1.jpg
Filename TTU1
Side 1 T. C. POSTA TELGRAF TELEFON / 1951
Side 2 Moon and star with GENEL / TELEFON (public telephone)
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 25.6
Weight (grams)
Notes
Source africancoins
TTU2.jpg
Filename TTU2
Side 1 T. C. POSTA TELGRAF TELEFON / DATE
Side 2 Moon and star with GENEL / TELEFON (public telephone)
Manufacture copper-nickel
Size (mm) 22.6
Weight (grams)
Notes Watchit.jpg TTU2 varieties
Source Jezuss
TTU5.jpg
Filename TTU5
Side 1 P T T between grooves
Side 2 TELEFON / JETONU (dot over J, smaller size)
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 22.6
Weight (grams)
Notes Local calls
Source malj1
TTU3.jpg
Filename TTU3
Side 1 P T T between grooves
Side 2 TELEFON / JETONU (no dot over J)
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 26.0
Weight (grams) 8.9
Notes Long distance domestic calls
Source Figleaf
TTU4.jpg
Filename TTU4
Side 1 P T T between grooves
Side 2 TELEFON / JETONU (dot over J, larger size)
Manufacture brass
Size (mm) 27.9
Weight (grams)
Notes International calls
Source Groenendijk

In view of the above history, it is likely that ALSA and Kumtel were producers of telephone equipment, rather than network owners. The numbers on these tokens are likely part numbers.

Private telephone tokens
TTI1.jpg
Filename TTI1
Side 1 ALSA / 640569 / Istanbul
Side 2 Blank
Manufacture Nickel clad iron
Size (mm) 26.8
Weight (grams)
Notes Watchit.jpg TTI1 varieties - 12 lobes
Source Groenendijk
TTI2.jpg
Filename TTI2
Side 1 KUMTEL / 433490 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / JETON
Manufacture Aluminium
Size (mm) 24.25
Weight (grams)
Notes Watchit.jpgTTI2 varieties - 11 lobes. This token with the number 433491 on the reverse is listed on the page for Egypt
Source Jezuss
File:TTI3.jpg
Filename TTI3
Side 1 KUMTEL / 433490 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / JETON
Manufacture Zinc clad iron
Size (mm) 24.25
Weight (grams)
Notes Watchit.jpgTTI3 varieties - 11 lobes
Source Groenendijk
File:TTI4.jpg
Filename TTI4
Side 1 ALSA / 640569 / Istanbul
Side 2 Blank
Manufacture Zinc clad iron
Size (mm) 24.5
Weight (grams)
Notes Round
Source Groenendijk
File:TTI5.jpg
Filename TTI5
Side 1 KUMTEL / 433490 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / JETON
Manufacture Nickel clad iron
Size (mm) 24.5
Weight (grams)
Notes Watchit.jpgTTI5 varieties - round
Source Groenendijk
TTI6.jpg
Filename TTI6
Side 1 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Manufacture Nickel clad iron
Size (mm) 24.5
Weight (grams)
Notes Round, 2 notches
Source Jezuss
TTI7.jpg
Filename TTI7
Side 1 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Manufacture Aluminium
Size (mm) 24.1
Weight (grams)
Notes 11 lobes
Source Groenendijk
TTI8.jpg
Filename TTI8
Side 1 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Manufacture Nickel clad iron
Size (mm) 24.1
Weight (grams)
Notes Watchit.jpg TTI8 varieties - 11 lobes
Source Groenendijk
File:TTI9.jpg
Filename TTI9
Side 1 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Side 2 KUMTEL / 456978 / JETON
Manufacture Zinc clad iron
Size (mm) 24.1
Weight (grams)
Notes 11 lobes
Source Groenendijk