Obverse Design

Man in barrel facing forward with the legend "KREWE OF PATRIOTS" above. Legend "NEW ORLEANS MARDI GRAS 1978" below. ® (Registered Trademark symbol) to the left of the figure.

Reverse Design Washington Bust facing left. Legend "GIVE CARTER & FORD TO PANAMA" above. Legend "KEEP THE AMERICAN CANAL" below. Legend "Keep the" is left of Washington. Legend "RED OUT" is to the right of Washington.
Color Red print on natural wood.
Material Wood. Weight About 2.5 grams. Size and Shape Round, 37.5 mm in diameter.
Dates Issued 1978.
Issuer "Krewe of Patriots" based in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. "Krewes" are Mardi Gras masking and parading clubs. It is unknown to me if "Krewe of Patriots" has issued any other pieces, or existed more than the one year. Please e-mail me if you know more about this issuer.
Mintage Unknown.
Rarity Scarce. Manufacturer Unknown. Other Catalog Numbers None.
Varieties This is the only known variety.
Function This piece was a Mardi Gras wooden nickel. Beads, doubloons, wooden nickels and other stuff is thrown to the audience by parade marchers. Some Mardi Gra items only serve a decorative purpose. This wooden nickel however was an expression of political opinion. It expresses strong opposition to the idea of transitioning ownership and management the Panama Canal to the country of Panama. This issue was a hot political topic during the 1976 United States presidential elections and through the ratification of the Panama Canal treaties in 1979.
Population Count Six specimens in collector hands are known to me. Recent sales include:
  1. Auction sale on ebay on January 11, 2001 for $13.55.
  2. Private sale in 2002 of five specimens for $40.

Visit of President Carter to the Canal Zone to explain the Treaties
Visit of President Carter to the Canal Zone to explain the Treaties
Photo by David S. Plowman, 1979. All Rights Reserved.