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Wooden Nickel? What is that?


Have you heard the phrase ‘Don’t take any wooden nickels‘? I was really confused when the first time I heard the sentence.

I was thinking: What is wooden nickel? What do you mean by saying wooden nickels, how can I take it? I’ve never seen a wooden nickel.

If you have the same questions as I did, you will understand what wooden nickels really are and what they imply in a conversation.

1. Wooden Nickels History

2. The meaning of ‘Don’t take any wooden nickels’

1. The History of Wooden Nickels

Back in the day, when people are suffering from poverty and starvation because of the great depression during the 1930s in the states.

The banks were also facing huge financial challenges, and some of them couldn’t even have enough coin in stock.

What did they do at that time when people can see bankruptcy everywhere?

That’s right, a local bank in Tenino, Washington came up with an idea – wooden nickels. They printed marks on small wood slides and issued them as emergency currency.

not long after, more and more banks start to release their own scrip and tokens to alleviate more direct pressure from coin shortage.

In 1933, The Chicago World’s Fair made wooden nickels more than a scrip but also a souvenir.

As time goes by, there is no need for producing wooden nickels for money circulation.

But more and more merchants start to use wooden nickels as scrip and souvenir because they are a novelty, commemorative, and an excellent method to promote its business.

Sometimes they can also be the replacement for a small amount of money if the merchant does not have enough change.

That means, if they don’t have a penny, you might get a round tuit instead.

2. What does ‘Don’t take any wooden nickels’ mean?

If you have been told ‘Don’t take any wooden nickels’, it does not mean don’t take the scrip from the bar or restaurant.

As mentioned in part 1, wooden nickels are not coins. They are just discs that made of wood and people used them as real money.

So wooden nickels are counterfeit currency to some degree, but the banks have made people believed they are equal to the real coins.

You will never know when it’s going to be voided by the banks.

So the meaning “Don’t take any wooden nickels” have become “Don’t get tricked or fooled.

People usually say that when after saying goodbye at that time. e.g. See you soon pal and don’t take any wooden nickels by the way.

Nowadays, it’s quite normal for the young who don’t know what the phrase means. But I still hope the article can be helpful for you guys.

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