"NYC Transit tokens rest in the bin of a token booth April 12, 2003 at 42nd St" (via LIFE)

Back in 1953—58 years ago today—the subway token was first introduced, and there was a fare hike, from 10 to 15 cents! 50 years later the token died, and the NY Times even gave it an obituary—noting the "causes of death were technology and economics." (Last year they were briefly revived by an unlikely source: the band Phish.)

The subway token was brought in because of the aforementioned fare hike—apparently "instead of making the subway turnstiles work with a dime and a nickel, or three nickels, the subway station engineers decided that it would be much easier to create their own 15 cent subway token." With each fare hike a new token was created, and you can still find most of them on eBay. When it was eventually killed off by the MetroCard, the fare was just $1.25. [via NY History]