A Telephone Token

Kigali airport 10 taxiphone token
Kigali airport 10 taxiphone token (Image from Ciro Marta)

Obverse:- “TAXIPHONE” centrally with “AEROGARE” above-around and “KIGALI” below-around
Reverse:- large “10” centrally.
Material - Brass.

    This is evidently a token for operating the public telephones at the airport these days known in English as “Kigali International Airport” and once known as “Gregoire Kayibanda International Airport” after the country’s first president. Kigali is Rwanda’s capital city and is geographically central to the country. Perhaps the airport name has been simplified for use on the token, the full name would not have been essential. I would guess that the “10” indicates an amount of 10 Francs but there are other possible meanings. I have known of this type for at least 5 years and would suppose that even before that time it was no longer in use due to the general changeover to phone cards around the world. A few (similar) sources mention that this Kigali’s airport was “expanded to accommodate large jets in 1968”, no doubt this significantly boosted the number of passengers through the place. So with these various factors in mind I would date the token roughly 1970s/1980s. Their use may have only lasted for a short time as these tokens are difficult to find – you cannot just pick one up by a quick search on Ebay! France had tokens for public telephones that included the word “TAXIPHONE”, several different types in fact. These French pieces are much easier to find; a few such pieces likely appear in every collection of world telephone tokens.

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Page started with "A Telephone Token" at May-2013.