The Token and Medal Society: Having fun and preserving history
Founded in 1960, The token and medal society (TAMS) is more than just collecting coins. Known as “exonumia”, TAMS is an organization that is dedicated to the collection, discussion and preservation of an eclectic assortment of tokens, medals, badges and medallions representing all aspects of American life. Subway tokens, prison tokens, saloon tokens, prize medals, service medals, commemorative medals, the list is endless. Tokens that represented a local trade, service or business which couldn’t be found outside a small town. While not valuable in terms of composition, their craftsmanship is sound and detail varied and interesting. Not only is the organization dedicated to collecting these items, they are also interested in preserving the history of how they were made and why they were used. By preserving tokens and medals from a forgotten era, TAMS is really preserving the story of small town American life.
Celebrating 50 years of membership
The local Michigan chapter of the Token and Medal Society was established in 1965. This year (2015) is the Michigan Chapter’s 50th year anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the TAMS board members decided have pins specially made for each original member. Each pin is approximately 3/4″ in diameter and made from brass. The front side features the TAMS logo, two men in the process of minting a coin. The reverse side is an engraving of the member’s name and their membership number. The pins arrived in immaculate condition with no extra work needed by us except to clean and plate them as is. Each token was carefully mounted to our plating fixtures to ensure that the plating was uniform and there there were no surface blemishes anywhere on the tokens themselves. Our 18kt Medici gold plating was the perfect color for the classic design of these tokens.
A token gift for the TAMS secretary
The TAMS secretary in charge of the project had sent us 34 pins to be plated. 31 of which were for the TAMS members and 3 un-engraved pins to be used as test pieces. After the project was finished, a discussion began amongst the staff about what to do with the 3 extra pins. The un-engraved pins most likely wouldn’t be used when returned to TAMS. None of us here were TAMS members, so we didn’t have any special interest in keeping them either. Then an idea struck. We should turn the coins into a bracelet as a give to the secretary in charge of the project. One of skilled bench technicians soldered the three tokens onto a bracelet we fabricated. The bracelet was bead blasted to a satin appearance. In contrast the coins were polished to a high bright luster. We then electroplated the bracelet with 18kt Medici gold to match the other tokens. We are certain that she will be the jewelry token trend setter at their presentation banquet later this year!
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Metal Arts Specialties
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