So bright and shiny that it looks wet, this is a nickel plated brass presentation key from the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is a "knobby" key, stamped PRR in fine serif Roman letters on one side of its bow. On the other side is stamped 1935 above a large letter H.
These decorated plated keys are thought to have been gifts presented to retirees for several years of service. This one appears to perhaps have been treasured -- there is some slight surface wear on the sides caused by neighboring keys on a key ring, which could mean the recipient carried it along with him.
The little "knobbies" up the side edges of the bow are prominent and hardly worn. Often they are significantly smoothed away.
Note the remnants of laurel leaves inscribed on both sides -- much of that decoration has been worn away, but there is plenty left to document their original presence.
This key shows light use with the edges of the bit and end of the barrel nicely rounded. This type of key was made for the fancy castback switch locks.
These are not the easiest keys to find, in any condition. No strong railroad lock and key collection is complete without one.
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