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Rare North West Company Token on the Block

A very interesting piece of Canadian history has surfaced recently…..

A token of the North West Company, competitors of the Hudson Bay Company, will be offered in the next Geoffrey Bell Auctions sale, May 30 2014 at the Toronto Reference Library.

The North West Company was formed around 1779 in Montreal. Early leaders were the Frobisher Brothers, Simon McTavish, Peter McGill and 16 investors and agents encompassing 20 shares in all. The agents spent the fur trading season in fur country overseeing trade with the aboriginal peoples. The two companies merged in 1821 but not before numerous minor skirmishes between each company’s traders.

northwestThe token in this sale is rare, particularly in copper, as most specimens are found in brass.

What makes this particular token so outstanding is its condition. Brian Bell, President of Geoffrey Bell Auction, says “this is probably the finest specimen known, certainly the best our firm has handled”.

The only recent sale was the John Ford specimen that sold in Chicago for $18,000. Condition-wise it couldn’t match the current piece. It is anticipated the Bell Auction specimen will sell for upwards of $25,000.

Most of the surviving tokens of the North West Company have been uncovered in the lower Columbia River valley. The aboriginal tribes of that area had a practice of burying belongings of the deceased person with them. Many of the extant tokens found today are as a result corroded after being underground for lengthy periods of time.

This rare Token and many others rare coins, tokens and banknotes will be available for viewing at the Toronto Coin Expo prior to the Geoffrey Bell Auction on May 29-30 at the Toronto Reference Library, located at 789 Yonge Street.

The Toronto Coin Expo is Canada’s premier coin and banknote show and auction, hosting world renowned coin dealers. The public is invited to the bourse floor where 35 dealers will be offering coins, medals, tokens and banknotes from Canada and the world.

For full information, please visit www.torontocoinexpo.ca.


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