VOLUME 55, NUMBER 1                                 JANUARY, 2001                                 OUR 643rd ISSUE  


AVA Display Board Usage

Bridge Toll Token of Terrebonne

AVA Catalogs and Books for sale.

Officers of the American Vecturist Association.

January Supplement to the Atwood-Coffee Catalogue.

Notes by Harold V. Ford.

February 4. Joel Reznick asked me to mail the January issue to everyone, including those who still haven't paid their $20 AVA dues for year 2001. If you still have not paid your dues, please do so, as this is the last issue of The Fare Box you will receive otherwise. Mail $20 ($23 Canada; $30 overseas) to Joel Reznick, Treasurer, at P.O. Box 116 - Wheeling, IL 60090-0116.

I finally received my 2nd supply of the ME 1000 E tokens, and all who ordered them should have them by now. If you ordered and still have not received the token please let me know. I have 9 of them left, and that's the end of them.

On the front page of the November issue we mentioned a 38mm white plastic inscribed M/V $1.00 MOUNT KATAHDIN. Winford Nowell reminds me that there is a Motor Vessel called the Katahdin that operates on Moosehead Lake in Maine. The token may have something to do with the boat, perhaps to buy something on the cruise. Stay tuned. The token does look modern.

Robert Williams reports a nice 29mm old aluminum token inscribed L. RICHARDSON / LOUISVILLE, ILL. // GOOD FOR / ONE / FARE. This appears to be an old hack token.

Last month we reported that the long lost 5¢ B. F. & P.C. token once listed for Broad Ford, PA, but since deleted, had turned up. I've examined the picture of the token on a print-out from e-bay, and if you look at it one way it looks to be a 3, turn it another way it's like a 5. 1 want to see a good rubbing before we list it, and in any event we don't know where those tokens were actually used.

Sid White writes "CO 690 B was made to sell for souvenirs, and has no catalog value. What do I do with one that is bronze and is dated 1983? 1 would guess that they made these every year to sell for souvenirs, but have not shown up in our listings. Now what do we do?" Good question. To what extent were these tokens actually used for rides? Can someone help us out?

D.F. Burnette of Newport, NC, sends a WM 20mm token inscribed in '-incuse letters simply "DH" inside a circle, on both sides. Party he got it from said it had been used as a bus token. I'm always skeptical about stories like this, ever since someone in Minneapolis tried to pass Off a bottle deposit token as a bus token. But anything is possible.

Looking over tokens I've acquired in the past couple years I am struck by how many different plastic tokens have been issued by Heartland Express of Minnesota. It seems as though every rural bus line in Minnesota is called Heartland Express. I assume they are all subsidized by the State. I'd like to see a complete listing, in one place, of all the Heartland Express tokens. Most of them have a common logo that looks like "people in bus windows."

At our Coeur d'Alene Convention last August, David Cox showed me a token like NY 875 D, but apparently made of some dull grey metal like steel, except that it is not steel. We thought it was an unlisted metal. Well, just now I filed well into the token, and there is bronze, deep underneath the thick plating. Turns out that what we have is the rare NY 875 AA. Sometimes those platings are really thick, and that can throw you off.

William H. Hoover (8205 Vinings CV - Arlington, TN 38002-4771) is doing research of the streetcars of Memphis, and would like to hear from any member who has old photos, or information about early Memphis streetcars.

Recently sold in e-bay for a hefty sum is an old ferry token from Metropolis, IL, which is listed in this month's catalogue supplement. I am putting photos, taken off the internet, below and hope they come out. Token is aluminum 26mm.

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By John M. Hoffmann

Use of the new AVA 4-panel display board at transportation-related conventions to attract new members began in late 2000 with two railroadiana conventions being attended.

The 23rd Annual Gaithersburg, MD, Transportation Show the first weekend of November was attended by members Dave Bennick and Bob Schottin. They reported considerable interest being shown in our exhibit by show attendees with numerous membership applications being given out along with many free tokens being distributed as well.

The boards and associated pictures and materials were then sent to Ohio where members Louis Lockwood and Larry Kemper attended the 28th Buckeye RR Artifact Show in Columbus, OH, the middle weekend in December. Although the weather was rainy and snowy, which affected show attendance, again there was much interest in our display and about twenty membership applications were passed out, and many freebie tokens given out.

Improvements and new ideas are being incorporated in the displays as we progress and are looking to attend several shows in 2001. Membership ideas and suggestions for additional locations are welcomed.

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The Bridge Toll Token of Terrebonne
By Jean-Luc Giroux 

Aluminum Prov. Quebec Rectangular 32 x 19 mm Atwood 900-A

Uniface Bowman 4920a

[Translated by R.A. Greene]

From three trips that I made to Terrebonne, Quebec, the results of my investigations were not the height of my expectations. The first trip I made took me to the City Hall to find the records service, to ask if they had any documentation concerning the toll tokens of the old bridge. They replied that they had nothing on this subject and suggested that I visit the library, which is where the municipal archives are kept. Unfortunately I found nothing on the subject of the token or tickets concerning the toes. On the other hand I found lots of information on the tariff structure, the annual revenues for the bridge from 1907 to 1965. A little disappointed to find nothing on the dates of issue, or of the quantity issued, or the period of utilization of the token. Seeing my dejection the librarian referred me to Mr. Aime Despatis, a professional journalist, Editor of La Revue de Terrebonne, a member of the Historical Society of Terrebonne, the leading person in the historical world of Terrebonne. The] librarian told me that if Mr. Despatis couldn't answer my questions then no one could. A flame of hope flared in my heart.

When I met Mr. Despatis at the newspaper office, the first thing that I had to do was show him an example of my token, and ask if he knew of their existence. He said Yes, and that many years ago an employee of the CPR [Canadian Pacific Railway] had shown him one at the Windsor Station in Montreal. He told me that I was of very few people who possessed such a token. I eagerly reassured him, saying that I knew another person who had an example and that surely other collectors could have them in their collections and that it was possible that others might be found in a drawer, or in old envelopes, or boxes of family memorabilia.

Mr. Despatis said that the token had probably been in use from the opening of the bridge in 1907, but was unaware of how long it had been used. The token was used exclusively by the residents of the Town of Terrebonne because it represented a reduced toll. One could only obtain them at the City Hall of the Town of Terrebonne, proving that one was a resident of the Town. To me this seems inefficient. Mr. Despatis told me that he did not understand the reason the municipal archives had nothing that mentioned the token. Was it possible that the documents were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1922, as well as the tokens? That would explain the great difficulty in finding the tokens today. It was an enigma that I could not clear up during the three days of my enquiry. I knew that the token was rare. Now I was more convinced of that.

On another visit I had searched the area of Old Terrebonne to discover something, either tokens or information, but unfortunately found nothing. It must be said that it's not obvious to find news of events which are nearly a century old. It is necessary to meet people who have a sense of history for the information that has been passed from one generation to the next. The majority of the people I met were totally unaware of the existence of such a token, but many that remember the pasteboard tickets in various colours which were used on the bridge. It is necessary to speak of the use of the tickets in the 1930's, which were more often remembered.

These tickets were used exclusively by the residents of the Town of Terrebonne, and it was necessary to obtain them at the City Han there. The sole thing that I was able to pluck at Terrebonne was a small quantity of the tickets, which themselves are not easy to find. I bought them from a collector.

This has led me to conclude that this token is not only rare, but it is Extremely Rare. If you compare it with the Bout de l'Isle tokens of Montreal [QC 620 A-L] which are considered rare but which you can always find in auctions even those of little importance. What can we say about the Terrebonne token? I have been in the field of numismatics for more than 40 years and I have never seen one offered at auction or in a coin dealer's stock. Following my meeting with Mr. Despatis he put an announcement in La Revue de Terrebonne about the token, but no one has turned up with a token, and it has been more than four weeks.

Now there is no doubt in my mind about the degree of rarity of this piece. I am convinced that very few collectors have a specimen in their collection. Finally, to prove my hypothesis I would like to sound out the collectors of North American tokens, especially those vecturists who are members of the American Vecturist Association, the most important association of transportation token collectors. I appeal for your collaboration and cooperation. If you possess this token, QC 900 A, would you please send me a postcard confirming that? It is not necessary to identify yourself. I would like to thank you in advance for your assistance.

It is understood that such a survey is not scientific but taking into account those who will not respond and the percentage of tokens probably tucked away in the bottoms of drawers we shall have a better idea of their rarity. In the months following I shall endeavor to provide the results. In closing, we hope that this article on my search for information about this token has been of interest.

Please send your cards to: Jean-Luc Giroux, FCNRS

606-4412, Place le Monelier

Charlesbourg, Quebec,

Canada GlH 7K3

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Volume I (1996) 870 pages hardbound. Retail $45. Member price $30 postpaid. (This includes complete listings of all tokens with valuations.)

Volume II (1984) 776 pages hardbound. Retail $30. Member price $17.50 postpaid. (This contains thousands of photos, history & data about tokens and companies.

Volume III (1986) 946 pages hardbound. Retail $50. Member price $25 postpaid. (Specialized photographic catalogue of minor die varieties. Very high quality photos.)

CAR WASH TOKENS OF NORTH AMERICA (1997) 280 pages hardbound. Retail $35. Member price $17 postpaid.

LAND COMPANY AND REAL ESTATE TOKENS (1991) 110 pages hardbound. Retail $20. Member price $10 postpaid.

(Above 2 books profusely illustrated and include valuations.)

Prices include postage to USA addresses. Canada and overseas please add postage differential: $2 for each volume of the Atwood-Coffee Catalogue; $1 each for Car Wash and Real Estate. Order from:


A four-year supplement to the Atwood-Coffee Catalogue, giving all listings that have appeared in Fare Box Catalogue Supplements for years 1996 thru 1999 is available from the Secretary for the nominal price of only $2.00 postpaid. Order directly from Louis Crawford - P.O. Box 1776 - Jackson, MS 39215-1776.

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President- John M. Hoffman - 8334 Heron Circle - Ooltewah, TN 37363

Vice-President -William A. Sowell - P.O. Box 1235 - Cathedral City, CA 92235-1235

Secretary -Louis Crawford - P.O. Box 1776 - Jackson, MS 39215-1776

Treasurer -Joel J. Reznick - P.O. Box 116 - Wheeling, IL 60090-0116

Curator -Keith M. Haney - 4614 Stonegate Way - Corpus Christi, TX 78411-4829

Past President -William G. Garrison - 9505 Normandy Ave.- Morton Grove, IL 60053-1337

The above, and the editor of THE FARE BOX, constitute the Executive Board

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By Harold V. Ford


Metropolis 570 (Reported by Bill Sowell)


A o A Oc Sd Metropolis/Ferry/Never/Stops (26mm) $100.


Luverne 480 (Reported by Bill Garrison)


A Pb 38 Sd (same as obverse)(white printing) 1.25


B Pr 38 Sd (same as obverse) (white printing) 1.25


Missoula 660 (Reported by Bill Garrison)


0 B 25 Sd Dispatch/2001/Hm (Carousel horse)(* 2001) .50

p B 25 Sd Ruble/2001 /

q B 25 Sd Soro/2001/Hm .50


Cobleskill 139 (Reported by Joe Radomski)


A B 25 Sd (cartoon bus) /RWM 1.00


TX 835 A (listed 12/00): add slash after PHONE/

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Bill Sowell noted the Metropolis, IL, ferry token on a recent e-bay auction. He was not the high bidder, so the new owner is unknown at this time. Metropolis is slightly down the Ohio River from Paducah, KY. A local history notes that a ferry began in the early 1840's and was still going in 1916, which probably comes close to dating the token, per its die work.

The Rock County Heartland Express of Luverne, MN, could not sell our N.I.S. specimens of 480 A until the reordered a new supply of tokens. They did, and now we have two separate listings.

The first new tokens from the Missoula carousel for 2001 have been issued. This is a continuing series that after that after the first one we listed, names and illustrates a different carousel horse. The New Issues Service will handle them.

The Schohaire County Public Transportation of Cobleskill, NY 139 A listing, is a full fare token per the local authority. N.I.S. will handle it, thanks to Bill Garrison.

Several have questioned how we list an obverse inscription of a token, be it a TT or CWT. In most cases the name of the operation is listed first, even though it is not at the top of the token. We try to list the verbiage in a natural flow so the inscription makes some sense. If we did otherwise the Token Identifier in the back of each catalogue would be chaotic.

Please report any new car wash token listings ASAP. A new catalogue is close to a cut-off date. Please lend me specimens, as many modern issues are borderline brass or light bronze.

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