Not so long ago, in the nineties of the last century, the expression "wooden ruble" was widespread in our country. Inflation was such that the purchasing power of the ruble was literally melting before our eyes. Therefore, the very name "wooden" emphasized its inconsistency. These gold coins did not lose their value over time, but a tree is a tree. Interestingly, in Tomsk in 2008, a monument to the ruble was even erected, made of wood. Its diameter is just over two meters, and its weight is 250 kilograms. But, we can recall that in the United States of America, which considers its financial system one of the most stable in the world, wooden dollars really were in circulation. And it's not a joke.
It all began in 1931 in the small American town of Tenino, which is located in the state of Washington. At that time, the United States was going through a terrible crisis, which went down in history as the "Great Depression". Banks collapsed one after another, suffice it to say that in 1931 alone, more than 1, 000 banks went bankrupt in the country.
Naturally, the town of Tenino did not remain aloof from the economic and financial collapse, on December 5, 1931, the Citizen's Bank of Tenino was closed. The situation was complicated by the fact that he was the only one in the city. The cash shortage was dire, but Don Major, the owner of a local newspaper, decided to fix the situation. He turned to the city authorities with an unusual proposal: to start issuing temporary money until the financial problems are resolved. And even offered the services of his own printing house. The new money, according to Meager, could help cope with the cash crisis in Tenino.
Don Maager's proposal was accepted, especially since the city authorities did not see any other way out at that moment. Manger's printing house has previously issued New Year's cards, which were made from two laminated spruce strips in the middle of which a piece of paper was attached. So they decided to use them as a model for the production of local money. Initially, only wooden plates were issued with a face value of 25 cents, but, with the rise in inflation, the printing house took up the production of "banknotes" of 50 cents and 1 dollar.
The authenticity of the wooden dollars was certified by the signatures of the representatives of the United States Chamber of Commerce. It was assumed that these banknotes would have a temporary circulation, which expired on January 1, 1933, after which the government would exchange them for the usual US dollars. Probably, the government would have kept its promises, but for some reason no one was in a hurry to exchange money surrogates. Moreover, the wooden dollars of the city of Tenino have become a real hunting object for numerous collectors from all over the country.
According to official data, banknotes in the city were issued for a total of about $ 10, 000, and only a small part was presented for exchange. Local residents were not at all eager to exchange them for real dollars in a 1: 1 ratio, since the collection value was many times higher than the face value.
Interestingly, the example of Tenino turned out to be contagious, in 1933 the regional bank of the city of Blaine in the same state of Washington was closed. They also began to issue wooden money, albeit not in the form of banknotes, but in the form of coins. Naturally, they did not go unnoticed by collectors. Then the example of Tenino and Blaine was followed by several more small towns in the United States.
The mechanical machine on which wooden dollars were made has been preserved in Tenino to this day. And it is not a museum piece, but continues to issue money. Naturally, they are no longer an official means of payment, but orders from collectors come even after almost a hundred years. Lauren Ackerman, who works at the machine, assures that the city authorities could not even imagine that Don Maager's initiative would bring such success.
Thus, wooden Tenino dollars, which once helped the city to get out of the financial crisis, are a thing of the past, turning into souvenirs. Even if they bring some profit to the local treasury. But it turns out that in the 21st century there are countries in which the wooden currency has an official circulation. One such country is the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In 2005, five franc coins made from maple were put into circulation in this African state. The person who received such a coin does not need to worry, it is accepted throughout the Congo. However, there is no need to rush to carry it to the nearest store, such a rarity will undoubtedly interest coin collectors, who will gladly offer a much larger amount for it.