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Modern World Travel meets the C.T.A.'s

Commercial Travellers Associations Began What International S.O.S. Continues

Friend and fellow Blogger, George Cuhaj, passed me an interesting New York Times article today. It covered the development of world business travel precautions, insurance plans and services since 9/11. One of the companies, which seems to be a leader in this field is International SOS, though other companies are emerging, while some larger enterprises are developing their own training and services for their own employees. The basic point was that there are options available to shield you from the aggravation and risk involved with failed health, kidnapping and other physically alarming difficulties world travels are at risk of encountering.

When I went to Costa Rica last month, the group I was with did take the time to check out in advance what we might have to do to provide solid health care for any of our group who might become seriously ill during our travels. Luckily we never had to exercise our knowledge of the Costa Rican healthcare system, as the worst any of us experienced was motion sickness and a bacterial problem, which allowed me to discover the extreme functionality of the air sickness bag. Sorry, no pictures, but I should add that air sickness bag collecting has quite a following, with many websites, displayed collections and avenues for trade.

But back to the New York Times article. One thing that did occur to me as I was reading was that there have always been organizations to aide us with travel. For Domestic travel in the U.S. we have had AAA for many years, but in other parts of the world I am sure there have been travelers organizations as well. One numismatic example that I recently came across involved threetokenlots currently being offered in the Noble Numismatics sale set to close July 24-27, 2007.

All three of these lots offer mid-sized groupings of tokens from Commercial Travellers Association or C.T.A. from different areas including Queensland and Tasmania. As you can see from the images, kindly provided by Noble Numismatics, these are very attractive tokens with monograms or initials on the obverses and denominations on the reverses.

As to their use, I know little, but there are some histories of Australian Commercial Travellers Associationson the web. Seems there were many of them established in the late 19th Century to ensure the proper development of travel based infrastructure in various regions of Australia. The first C.T.A. in Australia was formed in Adelaide in 1866, one year after the death of the famous rebel outlaw, Ned Kelly and by the turn of the Century the many individual associations had united to provide services and benefits to members. Over time most of those benefits have faded away, but I think many of the C.T.A.'s may still exist as clubs.

In any case, these tokens are a link to the first major body to begin unifying the Australian continent for purposeful advancement of public good. The British Colonies of Australia were not unified into a country until some five years after the uniting of the C.T.A.'s, marking these tokens as some of the most interesting and affordable early Australian numismatic items available in the coin market.