US Coins

AVA changes its address after 60 years

After 60 years, the mailing address for the American Vecturist Association has changed.

J.M. Coffee announced in a recent issue of The Fare Box, the AVA’s monthly newsletter for transportation token collectors, that he was closing the post office box he had opened in Boston’s financial district in the spring of 1951. He wrote that it was becoming inconvenient for him to have to pick up the mail at the post office.

Mail may be sent directly to Coffee at 1501 Beacon St., Apt. 1501, Brookline, MA 02446-4604.

In news articles, researchers are trying to locate a 28-millimeter brass cloverleaf token originally reported in the January 1991 Fare Box as having been used on the Bay Island steamer in Pierce County, Wash. Though they originally thought the steamer was a freight vessel only, researchers have recently learned it carried passengers.

The boat operated under the name Bay Island from 1913 to 1926, when it was sold and converted to a tug. Researchers are trying to locate the owner of the token so that a rubbing may be made and the piece listed in Atwood’s Catalogue of United States and Canadian Transportation Tokens.

A previously unlisted token surfaced in a most unlikely place a little more than a half century ago. On July 27, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative forever stamp honoring Owney, a dog that rode the rail cars during the era of the Railway Mail Service in the 1880s and 1890s. The dog was given medals and bag checks wherever he went that were affixed to a vest.

The dog was killed accidentally in Toledo, Ohio, in 1897. Mail clerks had the animal stuffed and Owney stood guard at a post office until 1911 when he was presented to the National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. A 1960s visit to the museum determined that one of the depotel tokens on Owney’s vest was a previously unlisted piece.

Collector Steve Walker examines “classic” transportation tokens from cities in South Dakota and Wisconsin that share the same “fabric” and are likely the work of one diesinker.

Additional information about the American Vecturist Association and how to join can be found on the AVA website at ¦

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