Wooden Nickels 101: All About Wooden Nickels And Round Tuit Tokens

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Wooden nickels… a lot of us have heard of them, and there are some people we wouldn’t trust giving wooden nickels to.

We’ve also been told never to take any wooden nickels.

But what is a wooden nickel?

Is it a coin we can spend?

Let’s find out more about wooden nickels.


History Of Wooden Nickels

Wooden nickels are often used as a type of token commonly handed out at fairs and events.

However, during the Great Depression, some towns actually allowed limited usage of wooden nickels for some transactions due to coin shortages.

Over the years, they became popular handouts during grand openings and special events.

While wooden nickels have been made since at least the 1930s, it is thought that wooden nickels may date to as early as the 1880s. However far back wooden nickels date, they have remained an interesting part of pop culture and exonumia for generations.

Different Types Of Wooden Nickels

Wooden nickels come in a variety of designs. Several popular stock designs hearken to the Buffalo nickel (struck from 1913 to 1938) and feature the head of a Native American on one side and a bison on the other side.

However, there are truly countless designs. Many are custom made for fairs and companies. Many wooden nickels even commemorate special events, like:

  • Special holidays
  • Parades
  • Anniversaries

Collecting Wooden Nickels

If you really want a challenge, try going after building a collection of wooden nickels. You’ll have so many to choose from you may not even know where to begin!

Another thing making wooden nickels difficult to collect is that many are quite scarce. You may be surprised to learn that, as in mainstream coin collecting, there are highly sought-after specimens in wooden nickel collecting.

Here are some examples of the types of wooden nickels you might want to consider collecting; each category represents a design, theme, or originator of certain wooden nickels:

  • Banks
  • Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts
  • Fairs
  • Festivals
  • Museums
  • Political
  • Restaurants
  • Stores

What’s A Round Tuit?

I’ll do it “when I get a round tuit!” Talk about a play on words, huh?

Round Tuit is a type of wooden nickel that has been popular for decades. Round Tuit is distributed in many venues, ranging from grand openings to fairs and festivals.

Round Tuit wooden nickels are sometimes quite witty, while others are solemnly proverbial.

In any respect, Round Tuit wooden nickels have been popular with collectors since they emerged decades ago.

Wooden Nickel Values

Most wooden nickels are quite cheap. Sometimes you can buy handfuls of them for only a few dollars. Many are sold today for less than 50 cents each. Older, scarcer wooden nickels can fetch between $1 to $5 each, based on the demand for the piece.


I'm the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I'm also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I've contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I've authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!

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