Remember This? Wooden Nickles

Dorri Partain
Northeast News

Don’t take any wooden nickels- but maybe you should.

The popular phrase, “Don’t take any wooden nickels” predates the actual wooden nickel, which has never been used as true United States currency.

The adage dates to the 1900s as advice to someone to watch out or don’t let yourself be taken advantage of.

The first wooden “nickels” or tokens appeared in 1934, as an advertisement/souvenir for a fair in Birmingham, New York.

The gimmick proved popular enough that by 1948 the Elbee Company of San Antonio, Texas added custom-printed wooden nickels to their line of novelty items.

Representing the denomination of 5 cents, the nickel was first minted in 1866, and eventually replaced the precious 5-cent coin, the half dime.

The Coinage Act of 1873 ceased production of the half dime, which was the original denomination as prescribed in the Mint Act of 1792, so for seven years, there were two 5-cent coins in circulation.

The nickel is named for the percentage of nickel used to mint the coin, 25 percent in addition to 75 percent copper.

Early wooden nickels usually had either an Indian head or bison on one or both sides in homage to the “buffalo” nickel that was minted from 1913 to 1938, when the wooden nickel began gaining popularity as a novelty item.

In 1995, wooden nickel enthusiast Herb Horning purchased the wooden nickel division from the Elbee Co. and renamed it the Old Time Wooden Nickel Co.

During his lifetime, he amassed over 1.5 million collectable tokens, some of which were on display as a museum at his factory’s location.

He also created the “World’s Largest Wooden Nickel,” which is 5.5 inches thick, 13 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 2,500 pounds, which stands outside the factory.

The family-owned business produces 6 million custom-printed or engraved wooden nickels a year that are given out at businesses or sold at attractions like the Arcadia Round Barn.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • National Cheeseburger Day is just around the “Corner”

    September 11th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News It’s that time of year again! Time to celebrate the all-American Cheeseburger. Just like last year, […]


    Remember This: Erasers

    September 11th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Make no mistake, erasing is much more fun these days than in years past. Before Edward […]


    At the end of the road

    September 4th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Santa Monica Pier, home of the Santa Monica Auto Camp, at 1617 Ocean Avenue, one block […]


    Will You Remember This?

    September 4th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News The creation of U.S. Highway 66 was a multi-year process that began in 1912, when Cyrus […]


    Remember This? Get Your Kicks on Route 66

    August 28th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News The U.S. highway known as “America’s Main Street” became the title for a hit television series […]


  • San Bernardino, CA

    August 28th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News At 295 North E. Street in the heart of downtown San Bernardino, California, once stood the […]


    Are we there yet?

    August 21st, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Checking out of the old White Rock Court, we continue our westward trek as Route 66 […]


    REMEMBER THIS? Coca-cola

    August 21st, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News If you’re thirsty after that long drive from Kingman to Barstow that takes you through the […]


    Kingman, AZ

    August 14th, 2019
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News From Flagstaff we continue our westward journey to Kingman, Arizona, where we’ll overnight at the famous […]


    Remember This: Waffle iron

    August 7th, 2019
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Pancakes or waffles? The batter is nearly the same, but the cooking method produces either a […]


  • Faces Of Northeast


  • Postcard

    Welcome to Flagstaff!

    August 7th, 2019
    by

  • Remember This?


  • retorts illustrated by bryan stalder


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.