Romania, Bucuresci (Hunedoara County, Transylvania) "Jsak [Isaac] Focşaner" Zionist coffee and tea house token for 1 Leu (ND), circa. early 1920's; struck in copper-nickel; no maker marks; weight: 4.1g; size: 25.5mm. Obverse bears narrowed Star of David with Hebrew word "Zion" in center, with Romanian legend around edge "Jsak Focşaner * Bucuresci *"; on reverse "1 Leu" in center. Medallic rotated strike; beeded edge on obverse and reverse. In VF with a slight clip missing from the top left - possibly manufactured that way. Schaffer BUC-651, rarity 5 (extreme rarity: 6-15pc) p.77.
Transylvania came under Romanian control following the Versailles treaty of 1920 (hence the estimated dating of this token); the city of Bucuresci (not to be confused with Bucuresti - Bucharest, the capital but spelled - oddly - on the token without the accented "ş") is located in Hunedoara country, which, according to Jewish history sources, was part of a region populated by Reform Jews desiring integration and assimilation, as opposed to the more Orthodox Jews in the rest of Romania who identified more with Zionism and emigration.
A possible reason for the word "Zion" appearing on this token lies with the proprietor's name, "Focsaner" - "of the city of Focşani": during the period of the first "Aliya" (immigration wave to Palestine of religious Jews, 1860-1903 - many sources even date the first Aliya from 1881), as a result of the influence of this unorganized movement, on 30-31 December 1881, the First Congress of all Zionist Unions in Romania for the promotion of settlement in Eretz Israel (Palestine) was held in the west Romanian city of Focşani. This congress, held 16 years before Dr. Theodore Herzl's First "World Zionist Organization" Congress in Basel (1897), had a major influence on Romanian Jews, and the coffee house proprietor, probably eschewing the significance of that event took the city's name as his own surname and promoted Zionism through his business work in the more Reform region of Hunedoara.
Product Tags: Romanian Exonumia, Medals, Medallions & Tokens, Jewish & Israeli merchant/business tokens and Judaic Tokens & Medals from Romania and from 20th Century, 1920s, 1919-1923 3rd Aliya, 1924-1929 4th Aliya, which are Hebrew on/in non-Israeli object