What coinage was legal tender in the Philippines, China, United States and its Pacific Possessions and some other countries before World War II? Answer: the “Strato Clipper Token” of Pan American Airways.
|OBVERSE: ONLY PAN AMERICAN OFFERS LUXURIOUS SLEEPERETTE SERVICE ON DOUBLE DECKED “STRATO” CLIPPERS. REVERSE: YOU ALWAYS WIN (YOU PAY inside arrow) WHEN YOU FLY PAN AMERICAN|
|The first Trans-Pacific Flight arrived in Manila Bay using the commercial airline ”China Clipper” of Pan American Airways on November 29, 1935. The sea became its landing site since the airplane had a boat-like landing gear.|
The first commercial flight to depart from the Philippines left Manila Bay for the Guam-Honolulu-San Francisco flight on December 2, 1935 (photo shown above). It carried mails bearing a Pan-American Airways cachet. The seaplane was a Martin M-130, a four-engine, commercial flying-boat transport. It was 90.1 feet in length, 24.7 feet in height, with a wingspan of 130 feet. At gross weight of about 51,000 - 52,252 pounds, it was powered by 4 Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-S2A5G radials engines. With China Clipper’s Chief pilot Edwin Musick, its maximum range was 3,200 miles with passengers or 4,000 miles with mail.
|PanAm flight brochure|
Pan American Airways introduced double-decked “Strato” Clippers when San Pedro Makati completed its Nielson Tower Airport. These new airplanes had wheels as landing gear. Each airplane cost US$1.5 million, with a cruising altitude of 20,000 feet at average cruising speed of 310 mph. Its propellers were free feather, reversible thrust hydromatic with 16 ft., 8 in. diameter square-tipped blades. The tokens were given free of charge for flights across the Pacific and used to pay for the use of the upper Sleeperette couch that could recline way back to near horizontal position at a press of a button, and upper bed as seen in the pictures above.
|Nielson Tower Airport photo|
The Nielson Airport is shown on the map below, cropped from Sheet 3454-IV-SW TATAY SW PHILIPPINE ISLANDS N1430-E12100/5, prepared by the Chief Engineer, GHQ, SWPA, January 1945. This map is important since it provides the actual demarcation lines in-between cities, especially the legally disputed boundary between Makati and Taguig.
Tokens have been part and parcel of our local coinage reserved for specific geographical areas or purposes. But, few were really applicable and accepted in several countries like the Clipper token.--- Emmanuel “Manny” Encarnacion