10.9 C
Thursday, March 23, 2023

MetroCard fan asks NYC for help restoring stolen collection

- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

He’s hoping to get his MetroCard collection back on track.

A broken-hearted Canadian MetroCard collector — yes people actually collect them — is reaching out to Big Apple residents for help replenishing his stolen transit treasure. 

Tech consultant Jeffrey Andrew, 26, lost his cherished and growing pile of 50 MetroCards when a thief broke into his Toronto home in December, swiping old headphones, clothes — and his box of metro mementos. 

“I was devastated,” Andrew said. “I’m not much of a money kind of guy. I’m much more about nostalgia and things that are meaningful.”

As more New Yorkers switch over to the tap-and-go OMNY payment system, Andrew begged residents online to send him their empty or expired transit cards collecting dust in their drawers, hoping to restart his collection.

Jeff Andrew lost his MetroCard collection when his home was robbed last month.
Jeffrey Andrew

His filched MetroCards — including a framed variant from the 2018 limited edition David Bowie release as well as his very first yellow MetroCard purchased during a 2014 trip — mean “a lot more to me” than to everyday New Yorkers, Andrew moaned. 

“It would almost be equivalent to like if you go on a trip, and it’s like the best trip of your life and you get a souvenir, and then it’s stolen from you, and you have no way to really get it in your own country.”

At least one collector, freelance photojournalist Lev Radin, who has acquired almost every MetroCard variation, offered to part with some spares for the down-on-his-luck enthusiast. 

“I’m not a person who will be a millionaire from these cards,” Radin laughed.

Subway Series MetroCard from 2000.
Special edition MetroCards have been released for sports events like the Subway Series.

MetroCards were first introduced by the MTA in 1993, when the fare was a mere $1.25. The cards, initially designed with a blue background and yellow font, were seen as a sleek replacement for cumbersome subway tokens.

The transportation authority soon began selling ad space on the cards, while also issuing special editions to celebrate anniversaries and sports championships — 600 different variations over the years, according to Metrocard Central.

Not everyone will be so quick to hand over their more unusual subway cards though, as some special-edition MetroCards can sell for decent chunks of change

Back of a American Planning Association branded MetroCard
Branded MetroCards were given to attendees of a 2017 American Planning Association conference in New York.

Last year, Greg Loibl, 52, who claims to have been “the biggest collector of MetroCards” until the mid-2000s, recently sold a 1995 card advertising Gristede’s & Sloan’s Supermarkets on its back for $800 to a private collector, while a 1998 MetroCard with a “Big Apple” design brought in a cool $250.

His rarest card, which he’s refused to sell so far, is a never-released collectible featuring imagery of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other December holidays.

“That’s an auction piece,” he said. “Maybe one day there’ll be a show and I can take it there.” 

Unreleased "December Holidays" MetroCard.
One MetroCard collector said the “December Holidays” special edition MetroCard was never released and is rarest card in his collection.

A Notorious B.I.G. MetroCard
A Notorious B.I.G. MetroCard was being sold for $5,000 on eBay.


Supreme MetroCards are another popular limited edition.
Supreme MetroCards are another popular limited edition.

Back of a Subway Series special edition MetroCard
A Subway Series special edition MetroCard was being sold on eBay.


Other MetroHeads, however, say the card often becomes inseparable from the memories of the places it took them to.

“It was something I brought with me every single day as I traversed through college,” Dena Rosman, a 23-year-old analyst at JP Morgan, said. Her favorite has the Manhattan subway system on its face instead of the standard yellow design.

“I think that having a physical item stays with you, being used so consistently, you form that connection, that identity.”


- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img
Latest news
- Advertisement -spot_img
Related news
- Advertisement -spot_img