Tenino, Washington brings back wooden money for another round in 2021

Mar 29, 2021, 8:08 AM | Updated: 10:59 am

In 2020, the town of Tenino, Washington, printed its own wooden money to help businesses struggling in the early days of the pandemic. Now, it’s bringing the alternative currency back through the rest of the year.

‘Crazy’ idea for wooden money in Washington town ‘seems to be working’

This new initiative will differ slightly from how the town handled wooden money in 2020. Last year, it printed $10,000 worth of $25 pieces and distributed up to $300 each to people most affected by the COVID crisis. That money was then accepted at local businesses and eventually reimbursed by the city.

2020’s program came to a close toward the end of the year, with the final two $25 pieces sent to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History at the museum’s request.

This time around, Tenino’s Chamber of Commerce will issue 2,021 $21 wooden “scrips,” all of which expire on Dec. 31, 2021. Residents can buy the scrips for $20 at the town’s Sandstone Cafe, O Bee Credit Union, the Tenino Depot Museum, and starting in April, on the chamber of commerce’s website.

Why Tenino, Washington is printing its own wooden money

The town’s history of wooden money goes even further back than 2020, having used it during the Great Depression. At the time, it was printed on an 1890s-era printing press. That same printing press was used in 2020, and will again be put to work this year for the latest iteration of the program.

“We’re taking a page from the history playbook to benefit businesses, residents and visitors,” Tenino Area Chamber of Commerce President Cheryl Pearce said in a written release.

During the wooden money’s run in 2020, Tenino garnered international attention, fielding calls from Canada, India, and Portugal, among others, asking for a sampling of the currency. Collectors were also observed selling it on eBay for upwards of $300, while museums across the country reached out for a piece of the action as well.

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Tenino, Washington brings back wooden money for another round in 2021