Transit tokens in the United States date to 1831, when brass coins were minted for John Gibbs’s U.S.M. stage in New Jersey. Horsecar tokens were issued more widely in the 1830s, as were tokens for horse-drawn omnibuses. By 1897, the U.S. had its first subway in Boston, and in 1904 the New York subway system was inaugurated. Tokens were also produced for ferries, buses, and streetcars, often out of cheap white metal, aluminum, or more costly bronze. One characteristic of many, but certainly not all, transit tokens is that they often feature cutouts, sometimes in the shapes of letters, to differentiate them at a glance from other coins.


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