Jeff Chandler easily recalls a childhood admonition from his grandfather — don’t take any wooden nickels from his collection.
That command started a lifelong fascination with wooden nickels that continues to this day for the 52-year-old Hopkinsville resident.
The Kentucky New Era
reports that part of the collection, some 2,000 nickels and wooden nickel bills strong, will be displayed in the Pennyroyal Treasures Exhibit at the Pennyroyal Area Museum in Hopkinsville courtesy of a donation by Chandler.
“A lot of people would think that was just a little small thing, but my grandfather was the one who really got me started,” Chandler said.
Chandler has been collecting since 1968. He has gotten his wooden nickels through yard sales, the Internet, friends and many of them from his grandfather.
“A lot of people, when you say you collect wooden nickels, they kind of laugh at you,” Chandler said. “A lot of people don’t even think wooden nickels exist.”
Janet Bravard, education coordinator at the museum, was happy to have Chandler’s collection in the exhibit. Bravard said wooden nickels were used as currency during the Great Depression when merchants or businesses would issue and redeem them for specific values.
After the Depression ended, Bravard said wooden nickels mainly became a collector’s item for people like Chandler.
“That’s the whole idea of the exhibit,” she said. “For people to come in and want to share their collections so we all are educated from them.”
With little information about wooden nickels publicly available, Chandler hopes to flip his collection into a book.
“I just hope people get as much enjoyment out of them as I have,” he said of his collection, which will be on display until the end of July.