The early copper-colored tokens are listed as CZ (copper plated zinc) in the Alpert 1994 Supplement and are called "patterns" with the note: "Chuck E. Cheese headquarters only orders tokens in B, NZ, and NZ pink anodized. The above copper plated zinc tokens showed up in bags of brass tokens delivered to some outlets from HH."
However! I have recently heard from a source who provided the following information: "We [Hoffman Mint] were making CEC tokens for all CEC operations until 1995. A major problem arose at our brass suppliers facility and we ran out of brass blanks. CEC corporate agreed to try the copper plated zinc alloy that we had a good supply of. Well, they hated them. The lightness of the token created problems with the coin mechs on their machines. Corporate CEC dropped us as their supplier and enlisted our competitors. We are still allowed to make tokens for independant CEC locations, which we still do."
Note: I'm not sure if this explains the earliest copper-plated zinc tokens. I am trying to find more information about this. Hoffman seems to have made CEC tokens starting in 1986, I'm not sure why the zinc tokens from 1982-85 were made.
Currently (1999) copper-colored tokens are deliberately ordered and are used at corporate locations as "manager" tokens, given out to replace lost tokens. Myself and some other collectors have filed into spare tokens, and it seems that "copper" tokens were copper-plated zinc through 1993, and copper-plated brass starting in 1994.
Return to main Chuck E Cheese page.