Company Profile – TokensDirect

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TokensDirect Touts Benefits

19th Century Biz Continues Product Relevancy into 2024

Despite card systems becoming increasingly used in the amusement industry, TokensDirect has forged ahead and is quite literally carving their own path forward. The company’s marketing manager Gibson Olpp said people may think tokens are old-fashioned, but they’re still a practical choice for a lot of operators.

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TokensDirect is a division of Osborne Coinage, one of the oldest companies in the U.S. (it dates back to 1835). Pictured above is their Cincinnati, Ohio, HQ.

“We like to speak to the audience of people who are buying existing facilities,” she explained. “It’s more mom and pop type places like arcade bars, bowling alleys, FECs and route operations. Tokens are still a viable, cost-effective option – even more so than quarters.”

The first benefit, she said, is advertising. A token can act as a souvenir as well as a reminder to go back to the venue since a location’s branding is on one side of the token. Plus, Olpp added, “They look like money so people very rarely throw them away.” So, when people do come across it again, it has the same effect – as in, “Let’s go back to that arcade bar soon!”

Facilities can also use them for promotions. Say a bowling alley wanted to run a special for free shoes. They could have tokens made with FREE SHOES on one side and their brand on the other. Advertising with a deal can take the token that extra mile.

Another benefit is that tokens offer more security than quarters since they have no cash value. Plus, Olpp noted that during Covid, quarters were hard to come by.

Gibson Olpp, TokensDirect Marketing Manager

Gibson Olpp, TokensDirect’s Marketing Manager

Yet another positive is a different angle of having no cash value. If a player, for instance, hands an operator a $20, they get $20 in quarters. If some of that goes unused, the operator still made an equal trade. With tokens, if players take some home, operators make a little extra coin themselves – and it comes full circle once the player has that reminder to come back.

And, of course, there’s also the nostalgia of tokens – a full pocket (or two) of that jingle-jangle sound and a room full of games to keep you occupied.

Olpp also discussed the advantage of tokens instead of free play, which is a prominent feature at many arcade bars. “If you only have so many machines, one person using it exclusively takes away from what you’re trying to do at your facility,” she said. With tokens, there’s no machine hogging, if for no other reason than at some point, a player has to get more tokens.

TokensDirect company profile 0224TokensDirect company profile 0224 - No Cash Value TokenWith 50-60 employees and nearly 200,000 sq. ft. of factory and office space in Cincinnati, Ohio, TokensDirect – a division of Osborne Coinage – is a private mint that has been in business since 1835 (yes, that’s eighteen thirty-five).

“We are one of the oldest companies in the United States,” Olpp said. “Every­thing we have is made here – a vast majority of our metals are from U.S. sources and we also make our own tools and dies.”

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The engraving room inside the expansive, almost 200,000 sq. ft. TokensDirect factory.

The company’s die vault goes back to the 1800s and includes historical artifacts like dies from Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign; they made two sets of coins for him. They also have a hammer press that dates back to the 1800s and a screw press from the early 1900s.

Among their more recent feats, the company was the supplier for Chuck E. Cheese in their heyday, producing millions of tokens a year. TokensDirect also made five special commemorative coins in 2018 for McDonald’s to celebrate 50 years of the Big Mac. There were 15 million made featuring the different designs.

“We really have a skilled workforce,” Olpp said. “We’re making millions of tokens a year and they can do anything from thousands of tokens a minute or making fine silver coins one at a time.”

In addition to tokens for the amusement industry, TokensDirect also does a lot of business with self-service car washes, fairs and festivals, and laundromats. On the amusement side, in addition to arcade bars, bowling alleys, FECs and route operations, there’s roller-skating rinks and mini-golf courses, too.

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A die being cut.

Their tokens and coins range in size, from slightly smaller than an inch on up to 3” custom coins. They also use various materials and have a colorization process. Turnaround time on new custom orders is typically 10 days.

“The quality of our work on tokens is very detailed,” Olpp said. “It has a really crisp impression. We take great pride in having graphic artists on staff.”

She added that they’re happy to show people their work in person if you stop by, but you’re also welcome to visit their online store to learn more. TokensDirect has a diverse option of stock designs if you aren’t going the custom route.

No matter what you choose, Olpp is here to remind you that tokens are still a viable option for many operators. “When you think it’s quarters, card system or nothing – you’re wrong.”

Check out www.tokensdirect.com for your token opportunities.

 

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