Scottish Transport Tokens

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More About This Title Scottish Transport Tokens


Most transport tokens in Scotland were introduced in the middle of the 19th century, but until recent years they did not attract many collectors. The collecting and study of tokens has now very much become a branch of numismatics. The early tokens were usually struck in brass, copper or bronze, but as we moved into the 20th century celluloid ones were introduced. From celluloid, various forms of plastic and fiber have been used as well as various metals, and this has continued right up to the present day. Tokens were in fact the tickets of their time. Paper tickets did not come into use until about the 1880s and in Glasgow on the tramways from the late 1870s. By selling a number of tokens, transport firms were assured of the custom of these passengers. This also saved the conductor—or guard as he was sometimes called—from handling cash and was thus also a security precaution.


Ronnie Breingan is a past President of the Glasgow & West of Scotland Numismatic Society and the Ayrshire Coin Club. A retired banker, Ronnie works as a guide at the National Trust for Scotland’s Culzean Castle.