This is an interesting, rare 1 MB trade token from the early 20th century. It was used by fur traders with a company called Lamson and Hubbard Canadian Company. That company competed with the Hudson’s Bay Company in the territory around Baker Lake, Nunavut. There are three denominations in these Made Beaver tokens: ½, 1, and 5. All of them are rare.
eBay auction: 353434802900 Ended: April 03, 2021 19:13 Winning bid: US $600 Bidders: 8 Sold from: Modesto, California
For the second year in a row, I’ve tracked the sales of all CCC tokens on eBay. What follows is summary information for those token sales in 2020. See last year’s numbers here.
Every 5.4 days
The least expensive token sold for $18. It was a 5 cent piece from Company 1754, McGregor, Iowa. The most expensive one sold for $567. It was a 5 cent piece from Company 4471, Bishopville, South Carolina.
A total of 37 different denominations and companies were sold last year. The reference catalog says there are 288 different pieces in the series, so only 13 percent were available for sale this year on eBay.
This table shows the number of tokens sold from some of the most common tokens:
Number of Sales
Mt Nebo, Arkansas
There were 16 sales with a sales price of $200 or more.
This brass token was used by members of the CCC stationed at Camp Hedges in Stone County, Arkansas. The coins reads:
CAMP HEDGES / 743 / CCC GOOD FOR / 5 ¢ / IN TRADE
No other denominations are known from Company 743. These tokens are scarce. According to my records, only one example was sold on eBay in 2019 or 2020.
Hedges is an historic community in the Ozark National Forest. The camp was built during the Great Depression as part of the New Deal. The Civilian Conservation Corp program provided jobs for young men.
Camp Hedges built roads, bridges, dams, trails, and campgrounds. Some of that infrastructure still stands today, including Gunner Pool dam. Camp members also fought forest fires and did conservation work in the Sylamore District of the national forest.
This rare token was issued by Borel, Lavalley, and Company, an engineering firm and contractor to the Suez Canal Company. Frenchman Ferdinand de Lesseps and his Suez Canal Company built the canal between 1859 and 1869.
Paul Borel and Alexandre Lavalley formed their company in December 1863. Graduates of a polytechnic school, both worked in the railway industry before joining the canal project. An estimated 74 million cubic meters of material was excavated for the main canal, and Borel and Lavalley handled more than 75 percent of it. (Karabell, 2004, p. 208-210.)
The company issued trade tokens, presumably for workers to buy provisions at the company store. Tokens are good for 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 Franc, or 5 Francs. The 5 Franc pieces are the most rare.
Shown here is a 50 cent piece. The obverse depicts a ship in the center, surrounded by beads and an inscription: TRAVAUX DU CANAL DE SUEZ EGYPTE
Translation: WORKS ON THE SUEZ CANAL EGYPT
The reverse shows the denomination, a circle of beads, and an inscription: BOREL LAVALLEY ET COMPIE BON POUR 50 CENTIMES 1865
Translation: BOREL LAVALLEY AND COMPANY GOOD FOR 50 CENTS 1865
Reference: Karabell, Z. (2003). Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal. Knopf.
The Willamette Coin Club met virtually again in October. We held three coin quizzes by presenting slides over Zoom. Attendees wrote down their guesses on paper at home, and we scored the quiz at the end. Honor system. The winners received a nice coin from the club’s collection mailed through the post office.
There are roughly 6500 languages in the world. I like the variety of written forms and designs on world coins. I selected photos of coins showing 16 different written languages. I cropped and rotated the images to maximize the characters. The coins are biased for European languages.
The quiz can be downloaded below as a PDF document.
I recently completed assembling a small set of Hudson’s Bay Company East Main district tokens after winning a 1 Made Beaver piece in a Dix Noonan Webb auction. These pieces are hard to find, especially in nicer condition. My 1 MB piece shows the most wear and has likely been cleaned (due to off color). With so few pieces coming up for sale, I need to buy when I can. I will continue watching for an upgrade.
I bought this note from the British Mandate of Palestine. The Palestine Currency Board produced banknotes with values of 500 mils, 1 pound, 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 50 pounds and 100 pounds. It’s my first piece of Palestine currency; I’m working on a complete date set of the coinage.
This Canadian token from around 1857 was worth ½ of a Made Beaver for fur trappers in the land east of Hudson Bay. It was part of a vast region of British North America called Prince Rupert’s Land. The Hudson’s Bay Company was gifted exclusive trading rights to all lands within the watersheds of Hudson’s Bay and the Hudson’s Bay Straits.
A Made Beaver is a unit of value created to facilitate trade between the Hudson’s Bay Company and trappers. It was worth a high quality, large beaver skin. Trappers exchanged them for company goods.
Some of the tokens have a punch mark on the denomination side, between the N and B. It is thought these punched pieces were used in a different region.
One side of the token shows the crest (coat of arms) of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Motto: Pro Pelle Cutem Latin, meaning ‘a pelt for a skin.’
HB: Hudson Bay EM : East Main district ½: denomination NB: made beaver, die cutter error
These pieces are rare. This example has a some mint luster left. It also has a dark spot that I would love to remove, but have not been able to.