The replacement of tokens with technology continues apace. The latest victim of progress is the classic New Jersey Garden State Parkway token. -EditorHere's the checklist for your next visit to the National Museum of American History:
Ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz."
The contents of Julia Child's kitchen.
A draft of the Gettysburg Address.
Garden State Parkway tokens.
Well, maybe not right away for the last one.
However, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority sent a dozen of the tokens - which will no longer be accepted on the parkway as of Jan. 1 - to the Smithsonian Institution-run museum in Washington, D.C., on Monday. The tokens were dispatched to the museum after turnpike authority officials thought they would check with Smithsonian officials to see if they were interested in having some.
"They agreed," authority spokesman Joseph Orlando said.
Orlando acknowledged only a small percentage of the museum's collection is on display, so he doesn't think the tokens will wind up next to the Hope Diamond display anytime soon.
"At some point, they might be on display," he said.
The tokens were accompanied by a brochure that was distributed when the tokens went on sale in 1988.
Tokens also have been sent to the official state archives and the American Numismatic Society.
The tokens, which were sold as part of a discount toll operation, were a success in their day: Motorists bought about $2 billion worth of them from 1988 to the end of 2001, the last year they were sold. There were about 50 million of them in 2001.
Orlando said the turnpike authority estimates there are about 5 million of the tokens still in circulation.
As the sun sets on the tokens, the turnpike authority is giving token holders one last chance during December to turn the tokens in for cash.
To read the complete article, see: Garden State Parkway tokens to become a thing of the past (http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/186/story/305231.html)
My first job out of college was at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ. I spent many hours commuting on the Garden State Parkway and remember the tokens well. Long live the GSP token! -Editor
Wayne Homren, Editor
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