Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum


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Central Pacific Railroad Wood Tokens

Wood Token
Wood Token

Central Pacific Railroad Company wood token stamped Engine 62 also known as the "Whirlwind" engine. Token has the number 6 on the back and does have six notches that have been cut out of the token. As you can see from the photos, the token does have some residue from being in the ground well over a century. It came off the eastern Nevada rail line. We've heard that most of these have come out of Nevada with others showing up in California and Utah.
Images and description courtesy Ivan & Catherine Oakeson who also recommend the Utah bottle collector's website.

Token from the Central Pacific Railroad used for wood.  The notches indicate how many cords of wood the token was good for.  There is an "8" stamped on the reverse of this token.  See Bill & Sue Knous' book "Railroadiana" pg. 18. ... My friends dug this piece in the Carlin Nevada area. It was found years ago, it's engine 183 and it has 8 notches cut out. It has an 8 on the back. It's incused and there is some surface corrosion. Also the back has some black stuff on it, also showing it was in the ground a long time.
Courtesy Eric Bernkopf Collection.

CPRR Wood Token

Another collector advises that "wood tokens are brass or bronze, and have a rich copper color.  Big as a quarter.  "C.P.R.R. Co." is written on one side, the 'periods' are rectangular.  On that same side is the Engine Number, "Engine _____ "  On the reverse is the number of cords, both of his say '6'.  There is a 1/4 inch hole in the center of each token.  The notches are not all even, as they were pinched out with a tool.  Value is $50 to $100, lots of fakes around."
Courtesy Chuck Sweet and G.J. "Chris" Graves.

I've asked, and nobody thinks this is an original cord wood token ... I discussed this with Dave Schenkman, THE expert on cord wood tokens; his reply to me:  "I see nothing to indicate they are wood cord tokens. In the first place, did engines really take on eight or ten cords at one time? All known genuine pieces are 1 cord or less (nearly all are less)."  They might be rr tokens of some nature, but it is unlikely they are cord wood tokens.  ... [We assume that if genuine (or an accurate replica) that this would be a multi-use token with each notch representing a single load, perhaps a cord, that the "8" on the reverse represented the number of permitted uses, and that it would be notched once at each use and expire worthless when there were 8 notches. —CPRR.org] ...  An interesting theory, but complicated.  The use of cord wood tokens was simple: Give the trainmen some tokens, they paid for the wood, and thesellers could redeem them for cash.  Thus, the trainmen had no cash, the tokens were stamped with engine #s for tracking, and the rr could trace usage.  Your tokens are interesting, but I remain doubtful they were cordwood tokens.  Possibly some other usage?
Courtesy Rich Hartzog, AAA Historical Americana - World Exonumia.

More Central Pacific Railroad Tokens
(these dug up at Terrace, Utah
by the collector's wife)

CPRR Token

CPRR Wood Token
"10" is stamped
on the reverse

Courtesy Eric Bernkopf Collection.

C.P.R.R. Wood Check Token

Wood Token

Wood Token

A rare token from the Central Pacific Railroad.
This token was used for a wood check which the engineer had to carry and is good for 6 cords of wood.
It is brass and about the size of a quarter. It was found medal detecting.

Courtesy "MrToken" Rex.

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