Nor' West Company
Nor' West Company Trade Tokens
Nor’ West Company is reviving a historical fur-trade practice by issuing trade-tokens, redeemable for $10.00 in merchandise from our living-history trading post. Our trade tokens are an attractive, historically authentic alternative to the modern "gift card". There is no limit to the number of tokens that can be redeemed with a single order. To redeem your trade token just send it along with your order and any additionally required payment to
Nor’ West Company
P. O. Box 16237
Two Rivers, AK 99716
The earliest trade tokens in the North American fur trade were simple counters. When a Native trapper delivered his furs the clerk responsible for grading and assigning the value of the furs gave the Indian counters representing the value of the furs. The Indian then walked over to the trade room where he exchanged his counters for goods. If any credit remained after his purchases the clerk collected any remaining counters and made an appropriate notation in his account book. Most of these early tokens were simple, plain disks of copper, brass or even wood.
Because the early tokens were unmarked and easily counterfeited, and also because improvements in Native transportation resulted in Native trappers expanding their range of operations, a method was needed which would allow the trapper to receive credit from posts other than the one where he originally handed over his furs. The solution was to offer trade-tokens as an alternative to currency. The most well-known fur trade token was the historical North West Company trade token of 1820. There was an estimated mintage of 5,000 at the mint of John Walker Co. (Birmingham, England). Made of copper and brass, their value was “one made beaver” (beaver pelt or other skins of equal value). Most surviving tokens have a hole drilled near one edge and many Indians wore them about their necks as adornments rather than cashing them in. At some point following their merger with the North West Company, the Hudson’s Bay Company minted their own trade tokens.
Nor' West Company trade tokens are minted of fine pewter, attractively engraved with the old Nor' West Company seal on the face, and the value of the token and our contact information on the reverse. They make a fine addition to any collection of living history "gee-gaws", or may be redeemed for their face value in merchandise.