Obverse Design All lettering incused. Manufacturer's name is in very tiny letters at the top "AM.RY.S. CO. NEW YORK". First line across the top "P.R.R.CO.". Line across the middle in larger font "57469" (employee number). Third line in a smaller font "DOCK LABORER".
Reverse Design Blank (as issued).
Metal Brass Size and Shape Round 44 mm in diameter with a small round hole at the top.
Dates Issued Unknown. Separate Panama Railroad checks were used probably starting in August, 1905 through January, 1915 when the separate checks were retired and the railroad employees used the Panama Canal checks. This general "DOCK LABORER" type may have been issued before the individual "BALBOA" and "COLON AGENCY" dock laborer types.
Issurer Panama Railroad. During the construction era, the Panama Railroad was a separate entity from the Canal operations for accounting purposes.
Numbers Issued Pieces in collector hands include #57469, #58103 and #58250.
Rarity Rare. Manufacturer AM.RY.S.CO., NEW YORK which was the American Railway Supply Company. Source King Collection, Hamlin's PRR-40.
Varieties #57469 say "FEEDER" and "MCK" in two lines on the reverse side.
Function These were employee id checks, and metal checks were issued to all Panama Railroad employees. The Panama Railroad employees were also United States government employees and were given access to all the same Isthmian Canal Commission (ICC) facilities as regular ICC employees. These metal checks were also used to identify each employee when they were cashing their pay certificate (similar to a paycheck).
Population Count Known specimens are as follows:
  1. Check #57469 - Sold on ebay by 'maukapete' (Jerald Peterson) to 'pcz4ever' on June 15, 2002 for $56.87 (pictured above).
  2. Check #58103 - Featured on the Canal Zone Review cover, Bicentennial Edition 1976 (pictured below).
  3. Check #58250 - David A. King Collection (pictured below).

Other Examples of CK-5.5
Picture of another CK-5.5 Picture of another CK-5.5
Scale: 4 pixels equals one millimeter

Inside the Panama Railroad Cristobal Docks
Panama Railroad Colon Docks
From Picturesque Panama by Jean Sadler Heald