Where Did Wooden Nickels Come From and Why Are the Wooden Coins so Worthless?

During the nineteenth century, it was common practice at commercial exhibitions to promote the event through wooden coins.

The coins could be redeemed at face value only by exhibitors or participating merchants at and during the run of the fair.

When the exhibition closed and moved on, patrons were often left with wooden nickels or other coins that were useless unless they could be pawned off to an unsuspecting local retailer.