Posted by R. Berg on June 16, 2001
In Reply to: Wooden nickel posted by Jennifer Kolb on June 15, 2001
: What does the phrase "don't take any wooden nickels" come from?
: Thanks for your help.
The Dict. of Amer. Slang calls it "a c1920 fad phrase," but it lasted later than that, at least into the 1950s, and probably started earlier. It means "Take care of yourself"; literally, don't accept counterfeit money. A real nickel is worth 5 cents; a wooden nickel is worth nothing.