The West Parry Sound District Museum, commonly known as the Museum on Tower Hill, began as a group of dedicated citizens. Today the Museum continues to preserve and interpret the core cultural themes that carved the West Parry Sound District out of a rugged Canadian landscape and explores contemporary topics relevant to today's communities.
Parry Sound's Fur Trade
McCord Museum M2654 | Good for One Made Beaver
Trading posts established by the Hudson's Bay Company oversaw the exchange of goods with First Nation trappers. In order to thrive, the company found it necessary to create a unit of value that would more efficiently link the bartering practices of First Nations and European bookkeeping methods during the fur trade. In doing so, a new standard of trade was born.
Named after the most sought out commodity of the fur trade, the Made Beaver (one high quality beaver skin) became the standardized unit of currency. Goods were traded according to its Made Beaver value. For example, 1/2 pound of beads could be purchased for 1 Made Beaver (MB), or 1 gun would cost 11 MB. Other animal pelts such as moose, otter, and wolf, were also quoted in Made Beaver.
The Made Beaver Coin was originally crafted out of wood, ivory, or shell, later changing to copper and brass. The Hudson's Bay Company would go on to expand this currency in issuing brass tokens in denominations of the Made Beaver into 1/2 MB,1/4, and 1/8 MB.
Fun Fact: While the denominated brass token minted in the mid 1850's were made to be stamped with abbreviations for the Hudson's Bay Company (HB), East Main District (EM), and Made Beaver (MB), a production error on the diecutter's part minted brass tokens with 'NB' instead of the desired 'MB' for Made Beaver.
To learn more about the fur trade visit the Museum on Tower Hill's new exhibition Parry Sound's Fur Trade.
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