Why collect arcade tokens?
There are a lot of other token collectors, but most specialize in 18th Century
trade tokens, which are really neat, very historical, and are often ungodly expensive
(though still cheap compared to rare US coins). In addition, the "antique" trade
token field has been relatively well "staked out". Many discoveries remain, but
the average trade token has already been identified and cataloged.
Frankly, the big advantage of modern arcade tokens is that they're cheap (and
so am I). There are other reasons, including:
- Arcade tokens are still in use, and thus are a "living" collectable (this
also means that you can start a collection as close as your local arcade)
- There are huge numbers of arcade tokens. While this can be daunting, it
also means that I have years of happily searching through junk boxes to look
forward to. I collected US coins for a while, but found that I lost interest
when I had acquired most of the cheap coins.
- Many (most?) arcade tokens have not been cataloged. Alpert and Smith wrote
an excellent book in 1984, but it was not complete even then, and is very
out of date now. If you compile a good guide to arcade tokens, the collectors
will beat a path to your door (all 50 of us!).
- You can never have a complete collection. While this may seem like a downside,
it does "take the pressure off". Do you have a "complete" collection of Liberty
Head nickels but feel unfulfilled because you will never own the 1913? Not
a problem with arcade tokens! You'll never even get close!
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