The E-Sylum:  Volume 7, Number 23, June 6, 2004, Article 16


  The particular numismatic item I had in mind for last week's
  QUICK QUIZ  was the Hudson Bay Company's Made
  Beaver tokens.  Jess Gaylor was the first to guess the
  answer.  But there were several possible answers, as
  David Gladfelter points out: "Not sure what specific
  numismatic item HBC is known for. The late Larry Gingras,
  fellow of the Royal Numismatic and Canadian Numismatic
  Research Societies, published a 117-page study, Medals,
  Tokens and Paper Money of the Hudson's Bay Company,
  in 1975, which lists a large variety of these items, almost all
  from the 19th and early 20th centuries."

  From the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada web site:

  "In 1670 Charles II of Britain granted a charter to the "Governor
  and Company of Adventurers of England Tradeing [sic] into
  Hudson's Bay" giving the company absolute control over the
  territory drained by the rivers flowing into Hudson Bay. This
  charter marked the founding of the Hudson's Bay Company, a
  venture that was to figure importantly in the history of Canada
  and the fur trade.

  Initially, trading posts were built in the Hudson Bay region,
  but by 1821 the powerful trading company had extended its
  interests all the way to the Pacific coast. Most of the furs traded
  at these posts were trapped by Aboriginals who bartered the
  pelts for goods at Company stores. In order to facilitate this
  exchange, the "made beaver" - the value of a prime beaver
  pelt-was established as the unit of account. When a trapper
  brought his furs to the trading post he would receive in return a
  pile of tokens valued in made beavers.  He was then able to
  select goods from the Company store until his supply of tokens
  was exhausted.

  Before metal tokens came into use, locally produced tokens
  of ivory, stone, bone and wood were used at some Hudson's
  Bay Company posts. The brass token is the size of a Canadian
  25-cent piece and is one of a set of four denominations valued
  at 1, 1/2 and 1/8 made beaver.  These tokens, which were
  used in the East Main District east and south of Hudson Bay,
  do not bear a date but were struck sometime after 1857. The
  letters on the token have the following meanings: HB (Hudson
  Bay), EM (East Main), NB (made beaver) - the N is a
  die-cutter's error for M. This token is part of the National
  Currency Collection, Bank of Canada."
  National Currency Collection

  See also the Hudson's Bay company web site:  Hudson's Bay

 The web site describes the company's "amazing archives":
  "In London, England, during Hudson's Bay Company's 1928
  Annual Meeting Governor Charles Sale announced the
  establishment of an Archives Department. He told the
  shareholders "We have, as you probably know, an immense
  collection of records relating to the earliest days of our history;
  to the wars and fighting; to the explorations by land and sea;
  to the customs and life of the Indians and Eskimo; to the
  struggle for the occupation of the Pacific Coast; to the peaceful
  retention of the Great West; and finally, to the general conduct
  of the Company and its affairs during the two centuries in which
  it was responsible for the government of the territory of Rupert's

  "The Hudson's Bay Company Archives were opened to
  students of history in May, 1931. The records were moved to
  Canada in 1974 and placed on long term loan with the Provincial
  Archives of Manitoba. The Provincial Archives would become
  the permanent home of the Hudson's Bay Company Archives on
  January 27, 1994 through donation."

  Hudson's Bay Company Archives

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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