Graphic Art - Not an Actual Scanned Image

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 "721" (employee number). Third line across "BALBOA". Bottom line in a smaller font "DOCK LABORER".
Reverse Design Blank.
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. These general "BALBOA" and "COLON AGENCY" dock laborer types may have been the last types issued, since these groups of employees were assigned specific numbers of the replacement Panama Canal checks. See note.
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 #721.
Rarity Very Rare. Manufacturer AM.RY.S.CO., NEW YORK which was the American Railway Supply Company. Source Hamlin's PRR-45, Asociación Numismático's ID-17.
Varieties None known.
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).
Historical Note

The following quote is taken from an article by Eugene Hamlin, Jr. titled "CANAL ZONE BRASS CHECKS" which appeared in The Panama Collector newsletter (September, 1985 issue):

...there is, however, a circular of January 6, 1915 entitled "Retirement of Panama Railroad Brass Checks" signed by the Auditor, Panama Canal which stated that P.R.R. checks would be retired and Panama Canal checks issued in lieu thereof. It went on to say that numbers 15001 to 20000 would be issued to or reserved for future use of Panama Railroad gold employees and nos. 80001 to 100,000 for P.R.R. silver employees. It also noted that nos. 80001 to 86000 would be for the Balboa agency and 86001 to 92000 for the use of the Colon agency. The P.R.R. checks would not be honored after January 15, 1915. Again, a fee or fine of 50 cents was to be paid for checks not turned in.
Population Count Known specimens are as follows:
  1. Check #721 - Eugene Hamlin Collection (simulated below).

Dock #7 in Balboa around 1977
Dock #7 in Balboa around 1977
From the Canal Zone Review, Summer 1977 Edition