Author Topic: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)  (Read 63807 times)

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Offline KONDi

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The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« on: October 22, 2012, 01:44:46 AM »
Dear coin collectors and coin dealers,

In this post about old Shanghai tokens I would like to introduce you shortly the history of old Shanghai bus tokens.

"C.G.O.Co.Ltd", the China General Omnibus Co.Ltd was a British-owned bus company and was established in Shanghai in 1922. However some sources of information says, that the company was established in 1924. The company was registered in Hong Kong, but all of its business is in Shanghai. J. A. Fredericks was a was a British man who founded "C.G.O.Co.Ltd". The company's first line opened to public in October of 1924.

The first line was from Bund to Jing'an Temple. The company introduced the second line in 1934 from Jing'an Temple to Hongkou Park.

China General Omnibus Co.Ltd company issued 3 sets of bus token:
1st set: 1922 1 cent, 2 cents and 3 cents.
1 cent and 2 cents are made of brass and 3 cents is made of copper-nickel.

2nd set: 1926 2 1/2 cent and 5 cents, where 2 1/2 cent is made of brass and 5 cents is made of copper-nickel alloy.

3rd set: 1939 1 cent, 3 cents and 5 cents
All bus tokens from 3rd set were made probably in Shanghai and those from 1st and 2nd set were made probably in US.
Those all 3 bus tokens from 3rd set are made of aluminium.
1 cent with JDS initials on reverse has 21mm in diameter and 2 mm in thickness.
Please notice that the reverse side of this token has the initials "JDS" written in cursive script. These initials stand for J.D. Shatler who was the General Manager of the company.
3 cents with number 3 on reverse has 24mm in diameter and 2,5mm in thickness
and finally 5 cents with number 5 on reverse has 27mm in diameter and 3mm thickness.

In chinese catalog titled "The chips and coupons in old Shanghai" there is also example of 1 cent with JDS initials which is a brass pattern (these are extremely rare and expensive). You can take a look on piece of 1 cent brass pattern. It has 21mm in diameter. However there is also 3 cents brass pattern listed in the catalog of world transportation tokens by Ken Smith. If someone has page with pictures of this 3 cents brass pattern I would be appreciate if you could scan or take a photo and post here.

The 3rd set (1939) has many die varieties. The full set is only three pieces: 1 cent, 3 cents and 5 cents. This set is listed in Ken Smith's catalog of world transportation tokens, with only the major varieties--left and right bus, thick and thin planchets. No errors are recorded.  However according to my researches aluminium bus token from 3rd issue (1939) has following varieties:

1 cent bus going left hollow wheels
1 cent bus going right hollow wheels
3 cents bus going left solid wheels
3 cents bus going right hollow wheels
5 cents bus going left solid wheels
5 cents bus going right hollow wheels
1 cent bus going left hollow wheels (brass pattern)
3 cents bus going ??? ??? wheels (brass pattern)

In my collection I have off-center error 1 cent and one of my friend in Shanghai has error 3 cents bus going left solid wheels. These tokens from 1939 are crudely made (most likely in Shanghai) and errors are to be expected.

The aluminum tokens were not issued primarily for use by the bus system. They were issued for general circulation as small change during a shortage of small change in Shanghai after the Japanese occupation. Many other privately issued tokens were produced at that time for the same reason.

The source of almost everything we know about pre-World War II Shanghai tokens comes from an article: "The Coins of Shanghai" by A. M. Tracey Woodward, published in China Journal August 1937 and reprinted as monograph #3 by the Numismatic Society of China (1937). Woodward died before the aluminum tokens were made.

In the China Journal for March 1940, there is an article titled "Small Money" by H. Crozier Fauldner about the tokens being issued in Shanghai for small change. He mentions the aluminum bus tokens as having been issued, not really for use as a bus token, but for use as small change, due to the disappearence of real coins after the Japanese occupied Shanghai. Many businesses issued metal tokens or paper scrip at that time, in values of 1, 2, 5 and 10 cents, for use as small change. Since the article was published early in 1940, I suspect the aluminum tokens were made in 1939--certainly before March 1940.

Thank you very much for your reading. I hope you enjoyed it as always.
Photos of those aluminium bus tokens from Shanghai from 3rd issue (1939) you will find here below.

Best wishes,

KONDi
CCC member 368
Shanghai/China
2012.10.22
13:43
« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 01:53:17 AM by KONDi »
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 01:48:32 AM »
other photos... :001_tt1:
KONDi
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Offline MrOrganic

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2012, 04:26:38 AM »
thank for the info!
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2012, 07:11:02 AM »
You are welcome!:)
KONDi
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Offline PCGS-ASIA

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 12:41:16 PM »

Great stuff.  Thanks!

What is the title of the chinese reference book you have pictured?

My coin collection pales tremendously in comparison to my library....

Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2012, 01:29:18 PM »
Dear PCGS-ASIA,

Thank you :001_rolleyes:
The title of this catalog is "The chips and coupons in old Shanghai" 2005
KONDi
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Offline PCGS-ASIA

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 01:34:07 PM »

Thanks.  I desperately need to take a trip to China.

Just to buy books....

Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 09:02:01 PM »
Dear PCGS-ASIA,

Well..., maybe I can get you this catalog and send you if you want.
Please let me know.
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2013, 03:31:12 AM »
I would like to dedicate this post to my friend Amber:)
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 10:53:16 AM »
Dear all,

I would like to introduce below the 3rd issue of old Shangai bus tokens from 1939 of The China General Omnibus Co.,Ltd. vouchers/tickets of this company from 1940 and 1942.

The China General Omnibus Co., Ltd. according this what I found was British company registered in Hong Kong in June 1923. It has all business in Shanghai and its surrounding areas. It was controled by Sassoon Group. On 9th October 1924, 6 buses were traveling from Bund to Jing'an Temple and it was the first line. Later the number of buses increased to 14. The number of passengers increased as well from 3,5 million passengers in 1925 to 89 million passengers in 1941.

From 1924 to 1941, the company only allocated a dividend of 4 times yearly surplus, the vast majority for reinvested. Before the outbreak of the Pacific War, Sassoon Group sold a lot of stock outstanding share market, and throws in a few years more than 85 percent of the number of shares held by the vast majority of Chinese retail purchase. After the victory of the war, the Shanghai municipal government on several occasions requested the company to resume business, and then plans to acquire the company's industry, Jiewei agreement. In February 1947, the company to convene an extraordinary shareholders' meeting declared clean up.

This is the small piece information which I found. My researches about The China General Omnibus Co.,Ltd. helped me to answer right now for one question. That tokens from 1st issue were in use in from 1924 since the first line was opened in Shanghai in 1924, not like I thought in 1922 which is a date closer to registration of the company in Hong Kong.

Let me introduce you 2 vouchers/tickets which were used after 1939.
The first voucher with value 2 cents from 1940 has Chinese words on one side and English words on the other side. It says:
The China General Omnibus Co., Ltd.
(Incorporated under the Hongkong Ordinances)
No. AC 96654 and with punched number: CGOC 30 6 40
This coupon is issued for the convenience of passengers and will be accepted on the Company's vehicles only in payment of Fares. Good for 2 cents. It will remain valid until the 30th June 1940.

The second voucher with value 5 cents from 1942 has also Chinese words on one side and English words on the other side, which say:
The China General Omnibus Co., Ltd.
(Incorporated under the Hongkong Ordinances)
No. FB 39591 and with punched number: CGOC 31 3 42
This coupon is issued for the convenience of passengers and will be accepted on the Company's vehicles only in payment of Fares. Good for 5 cents. It will remain valid until the 31st March 1942.

I also found on the e-book "Streets of Shanghai" where on one of page there are The China General Omnibus Company Limited - Bus routes.
The more I find about this bus company, the more interesting it becomes for me:)
On the end of my researches I would like to share with everyone the photo which I found of bus which were use on that time in Shanghai.

Enjoy!:)

Best wishes from Shanghai:)

KONDi
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Offline SANDAC

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 12:17:48 PM »
China is changing so rapidly that common everyday items can become collectible within one's lifetime.  The extraordinary investment in transportation infrastructure of the last two decades changed many things, and one of them is the physical ticket.  Tickets are all electronic now, but they were paper-based not so long ago.  Below are used tickets from my personal travel in 1982.   A train ticket (first-class sleeper) from Beijing to Hankou (Wuhan), then a 2nd-class boat ticket on the Yangtze river from Hankou to Nanjing, and then train ticket from Nanjing to Fuzhou, Fujian. 

Actually, these are not everyday tickets.  They were luxury accommodation for senior officials or foreign travellers.  The price was simply out of the reach of common Chinese.  The Beijing train ticket was 251.60 yuan for two person, 2nd class boat ticket was 29.60 yuan per person and 73.60 yuan for the train to Fuzhou.  Even at those prices, we still had to pull all kind of strings and favors to get these tickets.

Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 09:31:41 PM »
Dear SANDAC,

You are absolutely right. China is changing really rapidly. Used to they use tokens in buses, later they switched into tickets and now you can simply use you plastic transportation card to take a bus from one place to another.

By they way. Here is my new piece of 5 cents aluminium old Shanghai bus token which I bought recenty. I think it is in XF condition except the scar which has on obverse, but it definatly looks better than my previous one which was in VF/XF condition.
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 09:33:20 PM »
Sorry, I posted my new one twice N2
Here is my old one :001_smile:
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 10:07:43 AM »
....and those are buses which C.G.O Co Ltd British company used in old Shanghai.
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The secret of old Shanghai bus tokens from 3rd issue (1939)
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 02:50:34 AM »
Dear all,

I would like to present you a photo which I received from Mr P. Baker.
It is his 5 cents old Shanghai bus token made of aluminium from 3rd issue (1939)----bus going left solid wheels.
I must say that this is the most beautiful piece I have even seen N46 N67 N30
The condition is AU to even UNC.
Thank you Mr Baker for the photo of your 5 cents. I hope you don't mind I posted here. Your piece has educational meaning I would like to appreciate a beauty of this token N48
KONDi
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