Canada Bank Tokens - Johnson County Numismatic Society

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Canada Bank Tokens
John Thill
Johnson County
Numismatic Society
3-18-2013
Today's Canada is an evolution of its historical domination
by France and England along with its very influential
neighbor to the south, the United States.
Like the American colonies there always seemed to be a
shortage of legal tender for trade and commerce.
In times of need man continually adapts and many Canadian
entities took it upon themselves to remedy this chronic
shortage.
Occasional attempts by the Crown to
prohibit the import, manufacture and
circulation of private coppers were largely
unsuccessful and when local coin shortage
occurred, new issues of copper tokens (the
size and content of the half-penny and
penny) would appear, well into the middle
of the 1800s.
The Currency Act of 1857 established a
decimal systems of coinage for Canada
setting the stage for the introduction of a
truly Canadian coinage. In fact, in 1870, as
part of an attempt to standardize and
simplify Canada's circulating coinage, the
government authorized the acceptance of
bank issued copper half-penny and penny
tokens at one cent and two cents, in
aggregates up to 25 cents.
Lower Canada Half Penny Token
George III Commerce Half Penny
(Tiffin Token)
1812 - 1814
Early type of British Tokens associated with Lower
Canada were half-pennies and pennys has numerous
varieties.
Lower Canada, Magdalen Islands,
penny token - 1815
The Magdalen Islands, 16 islands situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 1815
an issue of penny tokens produced in England was sent out to the Magdalens
and distributed to the local fishermen. The choice of subjects depicted on the
token was appropriate. The obverse shows a fur seal, the reverse features a
split codfish - denoting the main resources of the islands. The reverse shows
"SUCCESS TO THE FISHERY" and the denomination "ONE PENNY." Although
these tokens did not receive royal approval they apparently did circulate
extensively and, as a result, few examples are found in mint condition.
Starr & Shannon issued in Halifax
Nova Scotia 1815
A nice copper engraved and minted by John Sherriff in
Liverpool for Nova Scotia hardware merchants Starr &
Shannon.
North West Company
Brass Token, 1820
The North West Company was one of the most important
companies engaged in the fur trade during the late 18th and
early 19th centuries. In 1820 the company issued both brass
and copper tokens, each representing the value of one beaver
pelt. These tokens were about the size of our present 50-cent
piece and most known examples have a small hole at the top.
Instead of using them as money at the trading posts, the
Native Canadians often strung them on a cord and wore them
around the neck as ornaments.
Bust & Harp issued in Lower
Canada c. 1826
Nobody took credit for these lightweight brass tokens, but
they were everywhere in Lower Canada from the mid 1820s
through most of the 1830s.
Province Of Nova Scotia
George IV Thistle Token - 1832
Beginning in 1823, and again in 1824, 1832, 1840 and 1843, the
government issued copper penny and halfpenny tokens,
without authority from England. These coins appeared from
1823 to 1856. The link between old Scotland and new Scotland
was symbolized by the Scottish thistle which appeared on the
reverse side of the earlier issues of these tokens. King George
IV is depicted on the obverse.
Un Sou Habitant Half Penny
Province Du Bas Canada Bank Token
1837
A token with strong symbolism for French-Canadians,
portrays a Canadian habitant in traditional winter clothing. The
reverse showed the arms of the city of Montreal with the name
of one of the four participating banks on the ribbon (City Bank,
Quebec Bank, La Banque du Peuple, and Bank of Montreal).
For years the habitant was popularly identified with the rebel
and politician Louis Joseph Papineau
Bank of Montreal Sous 1835 - 1837
The bouquet sous are a large series of tokens that circulated widely in
Lower Canada between 1835 and 1838. The first bouquet sous were issued
by the Bank of Montreal, but they were quickly followed by similar issues
from other Montreal Banks and by a torrent of private imitations.
This was the first series of Canadian tokens to gain great popularity with
collectors and today is collected by die variety.
Bank of Montreal
“Front View” Tokens
1842 - 1844
Following the successful issue of the 1837 habitant tokens by Boulton and
Watt the Bank of Montreal ordered additional half-penny tokens in 1842. The
new tokens retained the reverse design used in the 1837 issue but bore the
front view of the new Bank of Montreal building. Additional orders were
placed in 1844 and 1845. The half-penny dated 1845 is very rare. The reason
for this rarity is unclear.
Bank of Upper Canada Tokens
1850 - 1857
In 1850, the Bank of Upper Canada received the right to issue
coinage due to a severe coin shortage. The coinage consisted
of 1/2 Penny and 1 Penny Bank Tokens. The obverse of the
coins carried a representation of St. George slaying the dragon
based on Benedetto Pistrucci's gold sovereign coinage design.
The reverse of the coins carried the then obsolete Coat-ofArms of Upper Canada.
Quebec Bank Tokens
1852
The Quebec Bank half penny (un sou) and penny (deux sous)
tokens of 1852 "were struck by Ralph Heaton and Co. from
designs probably suggested by the Quebec Bank but it is
unknown who cut the dies." They were struck for one year
because of the delay in the production of the first two orders
for the Bank of Upper Canada tokens.
1857 Prince Edward Island Token
Issued on the island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the
coast of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Large numbers
of lightweight halfpenny tokens circulated from about
1830 till well after 1860. The most numerous were the
"SHIPS COLONIES and COMMERCE" halfpennies and
tokens inscribed "SUCCESS TO THE FISHERIES" or
"SELF GOVERNMENT AND FREE TRADE."
Un Sou Half Penny Quebec Bank Token,
Province Du Canada - 1852
Quebec Bank half penny (un sou) and penny (deux sous) tokens
of 1852 "were struck by Ralph Heaton and Co. from designs
probably suggested by the Quebec Bank but it is unknown who
cut the dies."
Sources
Internet – Canada Bank Tokens
Internet – CoinInfo.com
Internet – MetalDetecting.com
Charleton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins
James Haxby – Guidebook to Canadian Coins and Tokens
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