They say that “necessity is the mother of invention.” This is certainly true in the field of banknote collecting as the the depression era in the 1930s fueled a number of innovations. In an time when national currency was hard to come by, local communities, banks, businesses came together to issue local currency, sometimes called “scrip.” Some of these notes were issued on paper, but there are a sizable number of these local notes called ‘wooden nickel certificates’ that were printed on wood.

Cape Cod Strawberry Festival Wooden Souvenir (1938) – Falmouth, MA. Available for purchase at

What began as a desperate attempt to stimulate local economies during hard times, appears to have continued on past their time of need. We have a number of examples of wooden nickel certificates that were issued as commemorative items including the following example that was issued in Cincinnati to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Northwest Territory, the predecessor to the states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota.

We have a number of wooden nickel certificates and local American scrip available on our website.

Wooden Nickel Certificate (1938) commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Northwest Territory. Available for purchase at