North West Company Token

Obverse of Northwest Company Token
Reverse of Northwest Company Token

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Ron Guth: North West Company tokens were issued in 1820 for use in the Pacific Northwest. All but a few examples had holes drilled into them near the top of the token, indicating they were worn as adornments (this theory counters another that says the tokens were exchanged for furs). Most examples that have survived until today are either worn, corroded (sometimes heavily), or both.

North West Company Tokens were made of brass or copper. Some have plain edges, others have a security edge with engrailing, and others have diagonaly reeding around the center of the edge.

These tokens are very scarce and popular, primarily because of the beaver that appears on the reverse. Though not a true Colonial coin (it was issued well after the United States had been formed), they are an important part of American numismatic history.