NY Subway Map and Tokens, 1990

Great little slice of history here. The photographer on Flickr seems to recall the cost of a token as being 60 cents at the time; Wikipedia prices it at $1.15.

As a graphic designer, all I can see is the terrible registration in the (cheap) printing — look at the huge yellow halo bleeding out to the right of the green and red printed areas. (In four-colour printing, green is made from combining cyan and yellow inks, red is made from magenta and yellow. When the plates are poorly aligned with each other, the presses run too fast, or cheap paper stretches or moves during the printing process, you get misalignment of the inks, leading to poor registration like this.)

EDIT: As has been pointed out to me, the tokens and the map shown in the photo aren’t contemporaneous. The “solid brass” token shown here was used from 1980 to 1985; during that time, the cost of a subway ride rose from 60 cents to 90 cents. (Source: nycsubway.org’s comprehensive page on subway tokens)

(Source: jonwa60/Flickr)

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  1. creamconecoffee reblogged this from transitmaps and added:
    Or what you’d expect coming out the 80s.
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