NYC: Token and change

“From the inauguration of IRT subway services in 1904 until the unified system of 1948 (including predecessor BMT and IND subway services), the fare for a ride on the subway of any length was 5 cents ($.05 in 1904 equivalent to $1.51 in 2021; $.05 in 1948 equivalent to $0.56 in 2021). … For the most part, token models were changed periodically as prices changed, but not always. The first token change occurred in 1953, but this change did not to reflect a change in fare cost. The NYCTA’s original design as proposed on July 25, 1953, for the 15 cent fare raise was the 16mm ‘Small Y Cutout’ token. However, due to the time the NYCTA actually received approval for a fare hike on June 14, it left them short of time ordering the tokens. … Due to the pressing need to get a token into service, the NYCTA also agreed to splitting the contract of token manufacture among all three firms (instead of just one) as well as taking deliver of the ‘Small Solid’ first, and the ‘Small Y Cutout’ second. The final batches of ‘Small Y Cutout’ tokens would not be delivered until September 24, 1953. At this point the NYCTA removed the ‘Small Solid’ from circulation by token clerks. Their short life span explains both their lack of recognition by most New York City subway history buffs, as well as the tokens rarity. As the ‘Small Y Cutout’ tokens remained in circulation until 1970, they are prolific and stand out in the general memory of the transit user. In 1970 the fare was raised to 30 cents. This token is 23mm in diameter with a Y cut out, and is known as the ‘Large Y Cutout’. The token did not always change with the fare: in 1972, when the fare increased from 30 to 35 cents, the MTA simply raised the prices of existing tokens (although a change in token size had been mulled). … In the later era of token use it was a common scam to circumvent the payment of fares by jamming the token slot in an entrance gate with paper. …”
W – Token and change
Remember NYC’s Subway Tokens?
NY Times: The New Token: An Icon Gone Generic;Design Lacks the Brass Of Its Predecessors
New York City Subway Tokens

NYCTA tokens from 1953 through 2003 (minor die varieties not shown)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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