The Bank of Canada Museum has an active Facebook account where they post interesting photos and brief stories about the history of money. Today they posted a link to this article about the Hudson’s Bay Company fur trade history. It’s worth a read.
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
Sold from: Modesto, California
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.
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
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.