Have you ever heard of a wooden nickle?

Examples of wooden nickels

Ken Marich

During your life has anyone ever told you “not to take a wooden nickel”? This American adage is considered to be a light-hearted reminder to be cautious in one’s financial dealings. Well, wooden nickels exist and are novelty or commemorative “coins” sometimes referred to as tokens. They date back to the late 1800s and were used for promotional purposes. Wooden nickels were abundant in the 1930s and were issued by banks and merchants to be used at festivals and fairs in exchange for food or drink. During the great depression some towns allowed limited usage of wooden nickels for some financial transactions due to the coin shortages.

In 1933, at the Chicago World’s Fair wooden nickels were issued as souvenirs. While these tokens can be made in many different shapes, the round wooden nickels have been the most popular with collectors over the last 75 years. The first wooden nickels issued in Canada were called broomsticks as they were round, thick and stubby and looked like they had been lopped of a broom handle. In 1931, the Bank of Tenino, WA failed and the community issued emergency wooden script that was used for the sales tax system. There are currently a number of wooden token societies in the U.S. and Canada that have supported this hobby. Can you still have custom wooden nickels made for special events? You bet! The Texas-based Old Time Wooden Nickel Company will be glad to take your order. They have developed new wooden tokens such as quarters, half dollars and dollars. The company has expanded their production to over six million custom printed wooden coins per year. In recent times, wooden nickel trading has become more popular and their cost is very reasonable, ranging from 50 cents to fifty dollars.

The SaddleBrooke Coin Club meets the second Thursday of each month in the Sonoran Room in the Mt. View Clubhouse. The club meets from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and welcomes all SaddleBrooke residents and friends. Our next meeting is on October 11. For more information contact Terry Caldwell at 719-246-1822 or at [email protected].