Obverse Design All lettering incused. Manufacturer's name is in very tiny letters at the top "AM.RY.S. CO. N. Y.". First line across the top "PANAMA". Line across the middle in larger font "4262" (employee number). Third line "CANAL".
Reverse Design Blank.
Metal Brass Size and Shape Octagon 38 mm in size with a slot or oval hole at the top.
Dates Issued Starting date January 1, 1920 through August, 1938.
Issurer Panama Canal Company. This was the U.S. government entity set up by Congress to maintain and operate the canal.
Numbers Issued Pieces in collector hands include #226, #229, #730, #1270, #2014, #3382, #3717, #3762, #4262, #5155, #5569, #5905, #7556, #7810, #8702, #9867, #10001, #10688, #11090, #11470, #28477, #39384, #58024, #74295, #92864 and #95754.
Rarity Common. Manufacturer AM.RY.S.CO., NEW YORK which was the American Railway Supply Company. Other Catalog Numbers Asociación Numismático's ID 13, Hamlin's PC-25, Henkle's Canal Zone #104 and Rulau's CZ 75.
Varieties None known.
Function These were employee id checks, issued to all Panama Canal Company employees. They were used in controlling access to Panama Canal facilities (such as commissaries and hotels). They probably were also used to identify each employee when they were cashing their pay certificate or paycheck. The ICC used pay certificates in combination with the metal checks, and the Panama Canal Company probably did the same until whenever pay checks became the standard.
Historical Note

The octagon checks were announced in a circular dated December 11, 1919. Checks number 1 to 20,000 were reserved for gold employees, and checks number 20,001 and higher for silver employees. A paycheck deduction of 50 cents would be incurred for a lost check, even if the lost check was subsequently found.

Hamlin gave the ending date for this series as August, 1938.

Population Count Twenty-six specimens of this variety of brass check in collector hands are known to me. Recent sales include:
  • Check #8702 - Auction sale on ebay on April 6, 2007 for $35.00 (same check as 2003 sale).
  • Check #3762 - Auction sale on ebay on March 31, 2007 for $20.50 plus $3.00 shipping.
  • Check #11470 - Auction sale on ebay on March 4, 2007 for $34.55 plus $5.75 shipping.
  • Check #92864 - Auction sale on ebay on February 25, 2007 for $41.00 plus $6.00 shipping.
  • Check #3382 - Auction sale on ebay on October 6, 2006 for $78.99.
  • Check #10001 - Auction sale on ebay on July 19, 2006 for $44.50.
  • Check #2014 - Auction sale on ebay on November 11, 2005 for $50.00.
  • Check #5569 - Auction sale on ebay on March 18, 2003 for $36.00.
  • Check #7556 - Auction sale on ebay on February 11, 2003 for $36.00.
  • Check #8702 - Auction sale on ebay on June 22, 2003 for $45.01.
  • Check #4262 - Auction sale on ebay on October 14, 2002 for $45.78.
  • Check #10688 - Auction sale on ebay on August 2, 2002 for $55.99.
  • Check #7810 - Auction sale on ebay on July 23, 2002 for $49.95.
  • Check #730 - Auction sale on ebay on February 21, 2001 for $76.01.

Other Examples of CK-3.3
Picture of another CK-3.3 Picture of another CK-3.3
Picture of another CK-3.3 Picture of another CK-3.3
Scale: 4 pixels equals one millimeter