1943? - Ceylon

G.P.O. Token

A Cu-Ni token from Ceylon which was used in General Post Office (G.P.O.) phone Booths. They may have replaced the GPO countermarked 10 cent coin.

ValueTen cents
Diameter15.5 mm
Thickness1.10 mm
Weight1.12 gms
gpo_ceylon_crown_obverse gpo_ceylon_crown_reverse

Obverse : Carries crown at center
Reverse : Has + G.P.O.+ at top and CEYLON at bottom along the periphery.

This token of the same diameter and weight of the definitive Ten cent silver coin which was demonetized by proclamation of Governor dated 1942 December 3rd with effect from 1943 February 28th. At 1.1 mm it is slighty thicker than the 0.75 mm Ten cent coin.

Mark Freehill reports in column Numismatic Odyssey of World Coins 1969 December issue (Vol 6 #72, Page 1388)
A letter from the postmaster general and director of telecommunications, Colombo, Ceylon, confirms that this piece is indeed a telephone token.
In Ceylon 10 cent silver coins were used by the public to obtain calls through the manual exchange operator; the pieces are placed in the box on the request of the operator.
During World War II, 10 cent coins were demonetized and replaced by paper money and the Postal and Telecommunications department supplied these tokens to replace the 10 cent coins used in telephone boxes.
The tokens were sold at the postoffice counters and other public counters at 10 cents each. They are no longer in use, and it is not now possible to say how many were issued by the department.

It is not in Pridmore which mostly lists 19th Century Tokens, but sold with Pridmore collection (Glendining & Co Auction 1982 October 18th, London lot#53), described as telephone Check. It is illustrated in Dick Ford collection (in Taisei-Baldwin-Gillio Auctions #19 Ceylon 1995 February 23. Singapore lot#297).

Need to see if it is listed in Catalogs available at ANA
A catalogue of telephone tokens of the world. by Targonsky, Paul.
1st ed. Meriden, Conn., 1968. 23p. 5 pl. 28cm. 1c. NB20.T3(ANA)
A catalog of telephone and telegraph tokens of the world. by Groenendijk, H.A.
The Netherlands, 1989. ix, 81p. 21cm. Listing only, no illustrations. 1c. Paper. NB80.G7(ANA)

The token was scanned at 600 dpi and the images are displayed at 400 dpi. This token was in the collection from my father I got in the late 1960's. In 2001 at age 90 years he did not recall it's use. The image above is of a token I purchased on ebay in 2003 April from a dealer in Australia.

The token from the original collection was cracked maybe from repeated usage as a phone token, and covered on onside with hairlines scratches which are probably resulting from an ignorant childhood attempt to polish it.