Reviews of Token Books

This is not inclusive, it just represents some books that I happen to have, or am familiar with.
Sources of token books are listed at the bottom of this page. I have indicated sources of books to the best of my knowledge, but prices and availability may change.


A Thousand Guineas, by W. Bryce Neilson (2003), 70 pages, one page of illustrations, index

An excellent guide to the "Spade Guineas" of England. These are gaming counters or advertising pieces which were made in rough imitation of British gold guineas and half-guineas. (Some of the more common types have the text "In Memory of the Good Old Days.") Includes a couple pages of general information/history, a list of makers, and a fairly comprehensive index. Most of the tokens have complete text describtions but are not illustrated. There is one page of "Examples" which has front and back images of ten tokens. If you are interested in spade guineas, this is an excellent reference.

Availability: From the publisher, Galata, priced in British pounds, but cost US $37 with shipping in 2006.

Tokens of Spain, by Russell Rulau (2003), 174 pages, illustrated, index.

One of the few books about non-US tokens, and a must-have if you collect Spanish tokens. Tokens are arranged by city, which is reasonable, but sometimes makes it difficult to locate the listing for a tokens if you're not sure what city it is from. The index helps, but is not as detailed as one might wish. Most of the tokens are illustrated with either photos or line drawings, and there are a few pages of general information about Spain and Spanish tokens in the front.

Availability: Numismatics International $35, Rich Hartzog $35

Exonumia Journal Articles: A guide for identifing tokens and medals from the 1600s to current times, by Gregory G. Brunk, TAMS Journal 43:1 (2) (2003), 71 pages, no illustrations.

If do you any research about tokens, this is a must-have! This is a bibliography of all of the articles about tokens that the author has found, often going through peridicals page by page. It is organized mainly by country, but also has category headings within each country, and has a good index. I've been doing quite a bit of research on Arras tokens, but this book had a reference that I hadn't found!

Availability: TAMS printed some extra copies, I don't have an exact price but I'm told it is in the $7.50 range. If you want it, buy it now or you'll just have to wait till a copy appears on eBay, and probably pay a lot more.

Tokens and Medals: A Guide to the Identification and Values of United States Exonumia, by S. P. Alpert and L. E. Elman, First Edition (1982). 300 pages, softcover, many illustrations.

This is an excellent general reference book to the various types of tokens, medals, and other coinlike objects that a collector may encounter. This book will not allow you to exactly identify a specific piece, but if you come across something you are unfamiliar with, there is a good chance that this book will give you a general idea of when and why similar pieces were issued, and the range of values of such items. Although most tokens are difficult to value accurately, and prices often fluctuate, the values listed are usually more-or-less in line with prices I have seen, or with what I feel are "fair" values. The final chapter (7 pages) on "Fakes, Fantasies and Restrikes" is also extremely useful, and could easily save you the cost of the book. The fantasy brothel tokens and "L.A. Stamp" tokens show up quite regularly on eBay. You are warned.

Availability: From Stephen Alpert for $12.50 postpaid.

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The Atwood-Coffee Catalog of United States and Canadian Transportation Tokens , by J. M. Coffee, Jr. and H. V. Ford, Fifth Edition (1996). 845 pages, hardcover, no illustrations. (volume I)

If you collect US transportation tokens, you must have this book. This is one of the most complete and professional books on tokens that I have seen. The organization is excellent, the descriptions are clear, and the index is comprehensive. New Editions are published at several-year intervals, but old editions seem to hold their value (judging by prices and auction results I have seen). Values are given for nearly all listed tokens, and as far as I can tell, the values seem quite accurate. [Note: This is Volume I, which lists the major varieties of US and Canada transportation tokens. There is also a Volume II, which contains additional information about the tokens, and Volume III, which lists minor die varieties.]

Note: The 6th edition (2006) is currently in press and will be available soon from the AVA. I do not have pricing info for the 6th edition yet.

Availability: From the AVA ($45, or $30 for AVA members) discount for members will almost pay for a year's membership ($20), so if you want the book, you might as well join the AVA for a year. Joining the AVA is also highly recommended in its own right, for those interested in transportation tokens. Also available from Rich Hartzog (1997 5th edition) for $45 ppd; from Sanford J. Durst for $45 plus shipping.

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Video Arcade, Pinball, Slot Machine, and Other Amusement Tokens of North America , by S. P. Alpert and K. E. Smith, First Edition (1984). 254 pages, hardcover, no illustrations.

Although incomplete and ever-more-out-of-date, this book is a must-have if you collect amusement and/or arcade tokens. The descriptions are somewhat brief, but clear, and information is included about when and why many of the tokens were used (particularly the older issues). The book includes several pages of history and general information about amusement tokens, and an excellent maverick index. Any attempt to catalog every amusement token is doomed to failure, but this book makes a valiant effort, and lists something like 15,000 tokens!

Availability: Turtle Hill Book Co. $22.50 + shipping; Sanford J. Durst $23 + shipping; Crow River Books $35 + shipping

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1994 Smith Supplement to the 1984 Alpert & Smith Amusement Token Catalog , by K. E. Smith and K. S. Smith, 1994, 150 pages, loose-leaf, no illustrations.

This covers additions and corrections to the 1984 book in a similar format. Also highly recommended for arcade token collectors.

Availability: From Stephen Alpert for $15.00 plus $2.50 shipping; ; Crow River Books $35 + shipping

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Utah Trade Tokens , by H. R. Campbell, First Edition (1998). 300 pages, spiralbound, a few illustrations.

I don't focus on trade tokens, but this book came out just before I left Salt Lake City, and I decided I should have a copy for my library. Includes maverick and topical indexes, descriptions of some recent discoveries of token hoards, and short biographies of some "Utah Token Pioneers". Also contains an extremely useful page of advice on "How to Date Your Token." [Note: This book should not be confused with Campbell's Tokens of Utah , by H. F. Campbell, which is much more eclectic, listing modern arcade and promotional issues, as well as trade tokens.]

Availability: Rich Hartzog Exonumia for $124.95 + shipping

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Play Money of American Children , by R. F. Clothier, (1985), 52 pages, softcover, many illustrations.

This is an excellent book which lists nearly all of the (US) play money that I have come across while rooting around in junk boxes. Each major type is illustrated, and information about dates and reason for production is included when known. I found the listings themselves somewhat dense and hard to follow, but this is still a very worthwhile book for anyone interested in play money. This book is concerned with "coin" play money, but does have two pages in the back showing various types of "currency" play money.

Availability: From the author's web site at $15.00 for the original book, or $7.50 for Xerox copies (both postpaid). You can now view the book on the author's web site, as well!

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Idaho Merchants' Tokens 1865-1967 , by F. R. Schell, First Edition (1967) 102 pages, spiralbound, profusely illustrated

Each entry is depicted with a photograph of the front of the token, and brief text giving catalog number, rarity, metal, size, and reverse code (photographs of standard reverse designs are found in the back of the book). Although I do not do much with trade tokens, nearly all of the older Idaho tokens I have come across are listed in this book. No historical information is given on the tokens, but the pictures are excellent. I believe that a second edition of this book was also printed, much the same but slightly expanded?

Availability: Out of Print. A copy showed up on eBay a while back and drew spirited bidding to close at $49.56 + $3 shipping.

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Note: there is a new (2000) book on Idaho tokens by Hollis Pincock which is more of a checklist (no illustrations). It is available from Rich Hartzog for $47.50 + postage.

The Identification of the Feutchwanger Cents, Low 120 , by J. T. Koutsoures, (1981?) 12 pages, softcover, many illustrations

This pamphlet uses photographs and descriptions to distinguish six obverse and nine reverse dies of Feutchwanger cents. Rarities are given for the thirteen known muleings of these dies. This is pretty specialized, but a great reference for anyone interested in the Feutchwanger cents.

Availability: (4/3/03) A 2001 update is available for $5 postpaid from the author: James Koutsoures, 489 Crest Ln., Antioch, IL 60002-1205

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Siamese Porcelain and Other Tokens , by H. A. Ramsden, F.R.N.S (1911), 57 pages, softcover, many illustrations

Despite the "Other" in the title, this book primarily covers porcelain gaming tokens of Siam and neighboring countries. 20 pages of numbered photographs (or high-quality drawings) of tokens follow a numbered list of brief descriptions. A four-page introduction includes a list of some of the characters frequently encountered on these tokens, and what values the characters represent.

Availability: Turtle Hill Book Co. $15 + shipping

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Sales Tax Tokens , by Emil Di Bella, (date?), 12 pages, softcover, a few illustrations

This is really more of a checklist. It lists the major varieties of tax tokens issued by the various states, with photographs of six of them. Includes listings of "sales tax coupons" from Ohio, provisional issues of Illinois, cardboard and wood issues of Washington, cardboard private issues of California, and others. I suspect that the listing is not totally complete, but it includes the issues usually encountered. No values or rarities are given.

Availability: Bobs coins has a few copies for sale (3 different editions). They are not cheap ($30-40) so if you just want a reference book to use, you'd be better off with a copy of Malehorn's book for about the same money (IMHO). However, if you want a copy of the DiBella, this is the only place I know of it get it.

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United States Sales Tax Tokens & Stamps , by M. K. Malehorn (hardback, a couple hundred pages, illustrated).

I do not own a copy of this book, but I borrowed a copy a couple times, and found it to be excellent. It covers all US sales tax tokens (coin and ticket types) and related issues, and includes a good amount of history, also varieties, rarities, etc. If you are a "serious" tax token collector, you will definately want a copy of this book, it is well worth the price.

Availability: from for $49.95; Rich Hartzog Exonumia for $49.95 + shipping; Turtle Hill Book Co. $49.95 + shipping; Sandford J. Durst $50 + shipping.

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Canadian Arcade and Machine Tokens Handbook , by J. P. Sauchenko (1989), 150 pages, card cover, many illustrations (retouched photocopies)

This is a good resource, but I find it somewhat difficult to use. Tokens are organized by province and city, and most are illustrated. Illustrations are clear, but it is sometimes not obvious which illustration goes with which listing. Listings include a number of "stock" tokens, or tokens from chains. Includes arcade, good-for, transportation, carwash, parking, and other tokens. Includes "maverick" index.

Availability: Richard Stockley sells for $9.00, an updated edition is available for $20.95US from the author.

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Standard Catalog of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens & Notes, by S. Pelletier, 15th Anniversary Ed. (1993), 417 pages, softcover, many illustrations.

This book covers the tokens issued by towns which are good for a certain amount (usually a dollar) during a certain event, and have an expiration date marked. These are fairly modern (oldest is 1958, most are 1970's and later) but have devoloped a significant collector following. This book does an excellent job of describing and illustrating all the different tokens, and includes close-up figures to help distinguish the known varieties, as well as mintages and values for most tokens listed. Information is given on many of the tokens, and the towns that issued them. There is also an 18-page introduction (in English and French) of background information on the author and Municipal trade tokens (listing are in English only). Most of the book deals with "coin" type tokens, but an 18-page section at the back lists "currency" types. An index is included, although because most of these tokens list the town of issue, finding most entries is easy. A well-designed and well-made book, strongly recommended for anyone interested in this type of token.

Availability: Richard Stockley sells for $15.00

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Latin American Tokens , by R. Rulau, 1st Edition (1992), 410 pages, many illustrations.

This is a great book, with some problems. The illustrations and descriptions of the tokens are great, information is given about many of the tokens, the index is quite good, and there is a glossary of Latin American terms. However, I find the overall organization of the book hard to follow. There are lots of headings in different type sizes, but I have trouble keeping track of which size of heading means what. The coverage of the book seems fairly complete, though it covers such a broad area that I'm sure there are a lot left out. Most of the tokens listed are older ones, "modern" tokens are specifically excluded. The exact cutoff date varies, being around 1900-1920 for the larger countries, and later for some smaller countries. Also excluded are transportation, telephone, car wash, military, plastic, amusement and Leprosaria tokens. This good book would be a lot better if the index was more complete. It is tough to find where a given token is listed if you do not know the country and city that issued the token.

Availability: Rich Hartzog Exonumia (new 2nd edition) for $37.95 + shipping; Sanford J. Durst (edition?) $45 + shipping.

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British Machine Tokens , by Ralph Hayes, 1st Editition (1986), 175 pages, many illustrations. (plus 61p supplement, 1988)

If you have a bunch of tokens marked "Eurocoin", or valued in pence, then you need this book. Tokens listed seem to be mostly amusement, but any token for a coin-operated device seems to be fair game. Tokens are completely described, and nearly every token is illustrated with a photo of one side. Some photos are too dark to read clearly, but most are good. There is no index, but the alphabetical listing makes it pretty easy to find most tokens. Includes almost no information about specific tokens or companies.

Availability: 300 copies were printed, I got #292 from the author in early 1999, he may still have a few available.

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Oregon Trade Tokens by James Hemphill, 1st Edition (1992), 592 pages, some illustrations.

I don't specialize in trade tokens, but I picked up a copy of this book on eBay, and it is quite nice. If you have any interest in Oregon trade tokens, you need a copy of this book. Tokens are listed by town, but indexes in the back cross-reference by address, and by name. Listings are clear and concise, only a few tokens are illustrated, but also includes historical photographs from some of the towns. A note explains the origin of the name of each town, but no information is given on the tokens or the companies that issued them. Includes over 9100 tokens. This catalog was apparently also made available in electronic format, but I have never seen it that way.

Availability: Rich Hartzog $39.95 softbound, $59.95 hardback. Turtle Hill Book Co. $39.93 SB, $59.95 HB; Sanford J. Durst $40 + ship (hardbound).

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The Bicentennial Tokens of the Patrick Mint , by Jesse Patrick, 1977, 64 pages, many illustrations.

Ever see those small copper tokens that have a bicentennial design on one side, and a coin dealer ad (usually) on the other? This was a special issue by the Patrick Mint, which used several cost-cutting measures to offer these to dealers for about 10c per token, in quantity. This book has a couple pages of history, explaining how and why this series was produced. It also has large photos of the 5 "stock" obverse designs used. Most of the book is a list of the reverse designs, showing the artwork submitted by the customers and listing the obverse design, metal, and mintage (usually 1,000). Tokens are listed by location, plus a couple pages "by series." A maverick index is included to locate tokens which do not list the location. The Patrick Mint hoped that people would collect these tokens as a series, which as far as I know has not happened. Such a series would be a considerable challenge, as there are over 1,000 different tokens (including varieties), and I have not seen them for sale very often.

Availability: 500 copies made, as of 4/00 the Patrick Mint still had a few copies for sale at $9.95 each.

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Subway tokens which had and have circulation on the territory of ex-USSR , by A. Kokapa, 1997, 32 pages, many illustrations.

An excellent reference if you collect Russian subway tokens. Although most of the listings are in Cyrillic, there are enough English notations that I found it mostly easy to use. Tokens are listed by location, and most are illustrated. In the few cases where a token has several similar varieties, I had to look and read closely to figure out which was which, as the English text is very brief, but I did work it out. No index, but it is short enough that it's pretty easy to just page through it to locate a token. [Note: I have heard that there is a similar book which covers Russian telephone tokens, but I haven't seen a copy.]

Availability: several copies showed up on eBay a while ago (they went for about $5 each), I haven't seen them anywhere else.

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Catalogus Van Nederlandse Betaal - En Reclame Penningen, by D. A. Kooij, (1987) 297 pages, many illustrations

This is a great book for those strange tokens that you can't figure out. Quite a few of mine turned out to be from Holland! Tokens are divided by type ("Amusement", "Beer", "Gas", "Carwash", etc) and listed alphabetically within each category. Front and back of nearly every token is illustrated with good line drawings. This book is in Dutch, but includes a short Dutch-German-English table of commonly encountered words and phrases. I had to do a little outside research to figure out some of the listings, but most are pretty easy to follow. Includes an index in the back. No information about tokens, or the companies that issued them.

Availability: from Rich Hartzog $34.95; Sanford J. Durst $40 + shipping

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German War Tokens "Notgeld", by O. P. Eklund, with six supplements by H. Woodburn, (1948) 185 pages, some illustrations

This is mainly a listing. It contains descriptions of over 2100 "Notgeld" tokens, organized by city, but does not contain values, mintages, or any sort of general information about the tokens. A few are illustrated with decent black & white photos, but most are only described. While it would be nice to have some rarity data and general information about the tokens, this is an excellent listing of the tokens. It is not a totally complete listing, but seems to contain most of the issues normally encountered. (Reprinted from The Numismatist, various sections between Vol 61 and Vol 68.)

Availability: out of print

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Car Wash Tokens of North America, by Harold V. Ford, Bob Nolan, and John M. Coffee, 2nd edition (2001) 332 pages, some illustrations. Only 500 copies printed.

This is the standard book for carwash tokens, the latest editon was just released in Sept. 2001. Token descriptions are organized by state and city, there is also an excellent index. Includes a couple pages about the general history of carwash tokens, and several pages of illustrations. This book is an excellent value, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in carwash tokens.

Availability: While supplies last, $25 (for AVAmembers, $35 for nonmembers) postpaid from American Vecturist Association, PO Box 1204, Boston, MA 02104

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Feisel's Catalog of Parking Tokens of the World, compiled and written by Joseph V. Pernicano, 5th edition (1998) 338 pages, not illustrated but has a good index.

This is the standard book for parking tokens. Most of the book is USA parking tokens (by state), the remainder is world parking tokens (by country). Well organized with clear descriptions, and the index is a big help for tokens that do not self-identify their location. This book is an excellent value, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is interested in parking tokens.

Availability: I don't have pricing info, but I think this is still available from the American Vecturist Association, PO Box 1204, Boston, MA 02104

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Brazilian Telephone Tokens, by Helion de Mello e Oliveira (2001) (on CD-ROM)

Files are in pdf format, readable on most computers, requires Acrobat reader, included on the CD. Includes information on Brazilian telephone tokens, and listings of Brazilian phone tokens divided by catagory (companies tokens, state tokens, Telebras tokens, unidentified tokens, etc). Most tokens are illustrated. Listings are in Portuguese and English, also includes some additional information in Portuguese only. Looks like an excellent reference for these tokens, and the price is a good value. I suspect we will be seeing more token reference works on CD, as it is a great way to publish in low volume. Note: I could not use the CD on a pentium 166 with Cyrix chipset, but it worked fine on several other computers I tried. You should be fine if you have a fairly standard system, but you may experience difficulties if you have an "oddball" system.

Availability: $10 postpaid from the author (

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For Amusement Only, by Thomas Gustwiller (1995) 241 pages plus index, many illustrations

This isn't a book about tokens, but about the "trade stimulators that many early amusement tokens were made for. I include this book because it is neat to see the machines that used the tokens. There is a short (~1 page) introduction giving background information on the machines, and each machine is illustrated and accompanied by a brief description including the name of the machine, manufacturer, years made, value, rarity, and brief comments. It would really be nice to have more history for each machine, but this is the best I've come across so far.

Availability: Not sure. I got my copy on eBay.

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