The souvenir Wooden Nickel. Cheap. Classy. Collectible. The epitome of nostalgia. A great way to bring home a piece of the magic experienced on your special trip. Long overdue, the time to bring back the Wooden Nickel as a highly coveted collectible is at hand! Here at nostalgicdisney.com I plan to do just that. STAY TUNED TO MY SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS FOR MORE DETAILS IN THE NEAR FUTURE!
In the meantime, enjoy a gander at this vintage beauty of a wooden nickel once acquired at Disneyland as a souvenir long ago. While definitely available in Frontierland as indicated, there is a circulating rumor that it had more of a direct connection to the Indian Village that once existed from the time the park opened until 1971.
It is believed that wooden nickels have existed since the 1880s but became prevalent in the 1930s in the midst of the Great Depression. Wooden nickels during this time of economic uncertainty were actually used as a limited currency when banks or merchants could not make change. They often were accepted in exchange for certain goods. The phrase “don’t take any wooden nickels” arose from this time period when an individual could be duped or cheated by accepting a wooden nickel as payment when in actuality they were given a worthless commemorative wood token that also existed back then. Nowadays wooden nickels are primarily commemorative. That is to say they are designed specifically by businesses to highlight a special event, milestone, or place. In some instances, however, wooden nickels can be exchanged for a drink or treat at the business they are acquired from.
A pretty hilarious iteration of the wooden nickel is known as a “Round Tuit.” Are you familiar with procrastinators saying “I’ll do it when I get around to it?” With the acquisition of a Round Tuit, the individual now has gotten “a Round Tuit” and no longer has that particular excuse. Many of these wooden tokens were printed with additional humorous or witty idioms and were sold as novelties as opposed to being issued as a commemoration. It is believed that the first Round Tuit was issued as a novelty at the New York World’s Fair in 1964 which coincidently is the same World’s Fair that none other than Walt Disney himself created several iconic attractions for. These attractions include but are not limited to It’s A Small World and Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln which currently reside at Disneyland.
Decades ago it was commonplace to see wooden nickels sold as souvenirs at theme parks all over America as was the case for this vintage Frontierland wooden nickel from Disneyland. More recently in the summer of 2014,
Disneyland held an interactive game for park guests called “Legends of Frontierland” in which they issued a few new designs of wooden nickels they called “bits” as sort of a prize currency seen in the image to the left above courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog. These might not be considered by some to be official wooden nickels as they are not stamped as such. The vintage Frontierland souvenir wooden nickel holds an esteemed place in my personal collection as it is stamped “Walt Disney Productions” beneath where it is stamped “Disneyland.” Any vintage collectible stamped with the Walt Disney Productions copyright is from what I call the “Golden Era for Collecting” as it pertains to Disneyana. This age of Disney merchandise produced some of the most amazing pieces of Disney history unlike anything that is created today, and is unlikely to ever be replicated in the future - until now! Don’t forget to stay tuned to my social media outlets in order to find out further details on how I plan to bring back the souvenir Wooden Nickel here at nostalgicdisney.com!