CEC Type 1A - "Old Rat Head" (1977-1982)
Type 1 is divided into two sub-types. Tokens that are generic (no city listed on token) fall into sub-type 1A, and those specifically listing a city fall into sub-type 1B.
Type 1B tokens were offered as an incentive to new franchise owners, but not every franchise center during 1978–1983 got them (it is unknown why), and some corporate centers got them (again, not sure why). Type 1A tokens were produced for every corporate or franchise center that did not get the type 1B design.
Type 1 exhibits the most varieties of any other type. In the early years of Chuck E. Cheese’s development, either the corporation was experimenting with different design features, or mints in the different regions of the U.S. helped create the designs resulting in different varieties.
The low-relief designs of 1981 (106 & 107) and 1982 (112 & 113) can be found with certain elements (especially the ©) only partially present, or even missing completely. The tokens with full © were struck with new dies, while the ones with faint or partial © were struck later after the dies had been polished, lowering the fields. The tokens with the © completely missing were the last ones struck after excessive die polishing lowered the fields enough to eliminate the already shallow design. Because the "faint/no ©" tokens and the "full ©" tokens were struck with the same dies they are not separate varieties.
Much like the low-relief designs mentioned above, the 3D Rat Head (109) designs either suffered a similar issue regarding excessive die polishing (resulting in some details like the neck and hat to come up faint or missing), or some tokens were struck with insufficient pressure causing some of the elements to not fully form. All these tokens should be considered one variety.
Unlike the faint, or missing © on the tokens mentioned above, the 1982 "loose ©" variety (115) appears to be fully struck with no excessive die polishing present. Also, the "c" is a completely different font than the "c" with the circle around it. Therefore, there seems to have been two distinct designs used, so the two designs are rightly considered as different varieties.
Type 1 tokens feature the original "Old Rat Head" design of Chuck E. and bears the name "Pizza Time Theatre" on the obverse. Some tokens say "Pizzatime" while others say "Pizza Time", and some tokens say "Chuck E. Cheese" while others say "Chuck E. Cheese’s". Additionally, different font types, sizes, and weights were used.
The reverse bears the motto "In Pizza We Trust", and states "25¢ Play Value", "25¢ Play", or "25¢ Value". Different font types, sizes, and weights were used. A small group of tokens during this time use the stock "No Cash Value" design on the reverse with no date listed.
Different metal compositions were used including brass, gilt brass, bronze, gilt bronze, and nickel plated brass. It is not known for sure why the nickel plated brass tokens were produced, but it is believed they were produced by the mints as proof copies, and included in each shipment. These tokens are listed with an asterisks and a note at the bottom of the page.
Some tokens can be found that are plated in zinc or copper. These tokens were plated after leaving the mint for a Pizza Time Theatre promotional event. In addition, some Type 1A tokens can be found spray-painted by individual restaurants for use as control tokens. These tokens are listed on the CEC Nonstandard Issue page.
Type 1A tokens exist in .880 and .984 diameters with the large majority of them being the .984 diameter.
All Type 1A tokens were struck in medal orientation.
Two exceptions to the designs of the standard Type 1 tokens include tokens produced for restaurants in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Both designs feature the "Old Rat Head" and list no date. The Canada token (124) says "A La Grace De La Pizza" on the obverse, and "In Pizza We Trust" on the reverse. The Australia token (122 & 123) says, "Charlie Cheese Pizza Playhouse" on the obverse and "For Amusement Only" with a map of Australia on the reverse.
There also exists a 3D version of Chuck E. in 1981 (109) that utilizes a distinctly different font on the obverse and reverse and is missing the "fan" ornaments on the obverse and reverse.
TYPE 1A RARITIES
.984 "No Cash Value" token – 121B
All nickel plated tokens.
Charlie Cheese Playhouse token with stars – 123B
Bz 1981 3D Rat Head token – 109Bz
Charlie Cheese Playhouse token with dots – 122B
1981 "Pizzatime", "Chuck E. Cheese" token – 110B
1982 "Pizzatime", "Chuck E. Cheese" token – 116B
CEC Type 1A Tokens
*It is thought that all the Type 1 nickel plated tokens were actually mint proof tokens. One or two proof tokens were included in each batch of tokens delivered to a restaurant. This suggests they were technically not standard production tokens and would be extremely rare. Perhaps they were used by the mint to test the final design of a die before running a complete batch.