1820s Hudson’s Bay Company first promissory notes

A One Pound Sterling and a Five Shilling promissory note from the Hudson’s Bay Company York Factory at the Red River Settlement.

“Currency was needed by the new settlers in the Red River Settlement, and the Hudson’s Bay Company’s first promissory notes—2000 for one pound each and 4000 for five shillings each—were sent to York Factory in May 1820. The promissory notes were issued in books containing 100 notes each. They were not put into circulation immediately as Governor Simpson feared the settlers might hoard them, but after 1824 they gradually came into circulation and other denominations added. The notes served as currency until the Dominion of Canada took over the Company’s territory in 1870. Unused notes from the original shipment were found at York Factory in 1920 and two books of differing denominations, almost certainly came from that supply and were donated by J.B. Tyrrell to the University Library.”

HBC 1820 York Factory Pound 001

HBC 1820 Five Shillings Note 001

HBC 5 Shilling York Factory binder only 001

Thank you Brian Grant-Duff at All Nations for image and auction text. These notes are offered at auction 10th October 2015:

Thank you Toronto Univesity Library for the quoted text

There’s an article in the Vancouver Sun about H.B.C. history.

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