Brass ‘motties’ or ‘checks’ were used for pay identification and more importantly as a means of a safety check when miners went underground. In the event of an underground incident such as an accident, fire or inrush of water, motties would be used to identify which miners were in that area of the pit.
In modern pits, motties were replaced with electronic swipe card systems, although the original brass motties were retained for emergency use in the event of a system failure. In common with other types of mining memorabilia, motties are actively sold on the internet. A National Mining Memorabilia Association exists to collect and preserve brass mining motties.