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A History of Money in 19th Century BC

Ronald Greene

Portrait photo Ronald Greene

Does money really make the world go round, and if so, how did it do so in the 1800's? Today we use plastic debit and credit cards, occasionally cash and cheques, but credit cards didn't exist in the 19th century, cheques were in very restricted use and coin was often in short supply. How did our ancestors cope with making purchases and payments? How did merchants pay manufacturers or suppliers for their goods?

On Wednesday, March 11, the Salt Spring Island Historical Society will present a special program entitled A History of Money in British Columbia in the 19th Century. The program will look at the forms of money and payments that existed from the Colonial period up to the First World War. The presenter, Ronald Greene, is a life long resident of Victoria. He obtained a degree at the University of British Columbia in Chemical Engineering. Later, in his spare time he obtained another degree from the University of Victoria in Japanese Studies and French.

For over forty-five years Ron has been an active researcher and writer of British Columbia and Canada's numismatic history, publishing many articles, and a book. He is a past President of the Canadian Numismatic Research Society, Past President of the Canadian Paper Money Society, and a recipient of the Royal Canadian Mint Medal for Numismatic Education in 1991 and the J. Douglas Ferguson Award in 1986.

Apart from numismatics, Ron has served as chairman of the Victoria's Heritage Advisory Committee, President of the Victoria Civic Heritage Trust and Chairman of the Maritime Museum of B.C. Foundation He won the Heritage Canada Regional Award of Honour in 1982 for the restoration of the Capital Iron facades. He is currently the President for the British Columbia Historical Federation and the Secretary-Treasurer of the Friends of the British Columbia Archives.

Accession Number Interviewer Address to Historical Society
Date Wed. March 11, 2009 Location Central Hall
Media digital recording




Speaker 1 0:00
First of all, today, I'm going to ask you who uses interact or credit cards for most of their purchases or for a lot of them? Okay, that's a pretty high percentage of the people, isn't it? How about you people using checks still for paying for purchases? There's one or two, there's more than I expected. I know when Victoria, in a store that I was associated with, we used to have literally hundreds of checks a day. Now they have maybe 50 a week. How about cash? Anyone using cash still? Oh, those are my kind of people. How many of you changed your habit in the last 25 years of how you pay? Yeah, let's see. Think about it now. You've changed in 25 years? What about 100 years ago or 150 years ago? What happened? How did people pay for their bills. I've got a, an extract of a letter here, which is one of the few things I'm going to read. It's from James Douglas, Fort Victoria, to Archibald Barclay in the London office of the Hudson Bay Company. It's dated the second of November 1854. He says I observed that the governor and committee have great objection to the establishment of paper currency in this country, and I have no doubt their objections are well founded. I am now convinced that such a project could not be carried into effect with our present clerical means, and it would be best to prove nothing more than a temporary moment of relief. The money pressure here is principally caused by the demands of the Puget Sound company servants, and the miners who are paid at the close of every month, chiefly in cash, which they either hoard up or spend elsewhere. Or shop sales until lately supplied all the cash wanted for circulation. But now there is an absolute dearth of money in this country, as well as in all parts of the American Oregon. We have however, always continued to meet our bills and there is no foundation for the statement contained in the extract from the Oregon newspaper sent with your letter, A W Swanston, the person who furnished that information is the same who had it inserted in the Democratic pioneer and who was committed last winter for contempt and fined 50 pounds. He is one of the company's particular friends and I'm sure he used that in the wrong sense and but never ventured to show his enmity openly. I shall accordingly to your instructions apply to Mr. Clewiston. I'm not sure that name for supplies of cash. Cash in this part of the country was always difficult to get and notes from a land of promise Robert Burnham these letters from colonial British Columbia, by an Burnaby McLeod and pixie McGeachie. Published in 2002, says Victoria 26th of December 1858, just after his arrival, a chap was selling apples which they were buying at a bit or 60 cents apiece. You can get nothing under a bit which is the smallest recognized coin. All the reckoning is in dollars or bits. Even here as yet. Now, you know what a bit

Speaker 1 3:38
yes, you know how it came about. I'm gonna see if this works. Okay, there is a Spanish American aid real piece. It's Mexico that sits mintmark there it tells the town that it was minted in. And I have no idea how to pronounce it because I don't speak Spanish but Zakka tikkas or something like that. You can see eight are before eight riyals and Castile and Leone are the arms. These were North American or South American equivalents of eight rails, the Spanish currency. Of course, the Spanish dollar, as it was called in the US, became the standard that the American dollar was on and ultimately the Canadian dollar and it was broken up into eight pieces. There were one, two and four real pieces which roughly correspond to 12 and a half cents 25 cents and 50 cents. So that's how the bits came about.

Unknown Speaker 4:57
Oh, come on. There we are. Now

Speaker 1 5:03
that's a little later 1866, but I didn't have one earlier. They get pretty pricey if you get them earlier. That was one of my dad bought at an auction 50 odd years ago, and it found his way into my collection. In April of 1859, the colony requested coins from Great Britain of 100,000 pounds. That was to be paid for in Boolean. So keep that date in mind, April 1918 59. They received in April 1861. Two years later, as a response 6900 pounds. They sent out shillings six months and 100 pounds in threatens. Money was a problem I have here and I'll pass it around. It's a an enlarged bit from a newspaper of 1859. It was December, I think, oh, dated August 31 1859. And it was a meeting of September 1. And you can see all the possible coins that could have been in circulation in Victoria, in 1859. And not all of them were the main ones were American, British, and some Mexican points and some Bolivian coins. So I'll I'll pass that around, gets you going and it distracts you and then you don't Don't worry quite as much.

Speaker 1 6:51
Now that the British Columbia government decided to build an assay office to help with the gold, this office was built around 1860. And this end became the mint. They there was great controversy between Gossett who was the colonial treasurer for British Columbia. And Sir James Douglas. Most of the residents here had come from the States, or at least from California, and we're Americans. All of the business that was done between San Francisco and Victoria was done in dollars and cents. Most of the merchants were doing dollars and cents. But Gossett who was a royal engineer, and very xenophobic, as far as Britain was concerned was was determined to make sure that we use pounds, shillings and pence rather than dollars and cents. He was so insistent on his views that he and Douglas could not get along. And they eventually agreed with that they would strike some coins and convert them to the gold into money. So they went to San Francisco they they sent down a fella named Claude de who was the an early assay error here and had been a very early on in the formation of photographic stuff in England, and he had a fellow in San Francisco, design the dyes and cut them. The design actually was was largely gossips. And then they they bought some minting equipment, they brought it up to New Westminster and they actually struck a few pieces. But then Douglas was having problems with gossip. And he also was a little concerned about coordinates being a royal prerogative. And so he decided at that point that not to proceed with striking the coins he did give permission for a bunch of coins to be struck to be sent to an exhibition in London at the Crystal Palace in 1862. There's the that's the 10 and there's the 20. The 20 is larger Of course it's the size of the Spanish dollars and the $20 gold piece that I will pass around and I'll start doing that now.

Speaker 1 9:34
There are 15 coins in this tray if you don't get 15 from the person in front of you. Stop it

Speaker 1 9:47
I also am not going to pass this around but I'm going to put it out on the table. It's an invoice from Langley and company wholesale and retail drug assume Victoria. And it's the check paid for the bill. is a six month bill addressed to Benjamin W. Pierce, who was the assistant colonial surveyor. And of course, he was an established Hudson Bay employee and then established colonial officer and he could pay by cheque. But if you were a minor coming through Victoria, what would you do what you would have had to pay for cash? And there wasn't always coins available for cash?

Speaker 1 10:34
Yes, you could. But that meant you had to weigh it. And you always got cheated when you when they weighed. They were very, it was a it was a challenge. They had the same problem in the Yukon later. Now, you know, the old post office in Victoria, the big federal building on Government Street at Yates. This building was down Eighth Street, just behind and right here would have been Langley Street. And this was the Bank of British North America. It was a British Bank, which came to North America in 1838. It first went to Newfoundland. And then it came to Victoria. In 1859, it was the first Chartered Bank to be in Victoria. And it opened in 1859, there had been a Wells Fargo branch and Victoria, a few months earlier, but it was not doing a full banking service. And so there's the bank building. And in 1859, they had these notes, printed, they had ones, twos, fives, 10s and 20s. printed and they came from England, they were printed in England, I think you'll see the name of the company there, if you were to look closely at it. And they're handsome notes. They, the bank was extremely conservative, it was not into doing anything. That would be speculative. They were you had to have more money than they would lend you before you could get a loan from them. They were only interested in actually being the government's bankers. They didn't get involved originally in buying of gold and selling of it. And they brought in paper currency. Which, if you think about all the Americans who had come up or the Californians, who had had terrible luck with with the banknotes in that country, they were very reluctant to accept paper. But it was the only thing was available. And by the mid 1860s, paper was preferable to gold. And if you actually picked up that $20 gold piece that's on the thing I'm passing around, you would see why because it's so much heavier. But this note came out of a collection that was dispersed about nine years ago in Upper New York State. We think it was a Meyer who had gone back to serve in the Civil War. He had a $1 note of this bank and a $1 note from the Bank of British Columbia, which I'll show you later. And those are the two lowest denominations. And the I think he took them home for souvenirs, he had a whole bunch of civil war souvenirs which were sold at the same time. Fortunately, we were able to repatriate those, not the Civil War ones, of course, but less than I could sell it for today. But it was in the 1000s. That note that I showed you there are two known ones in the Bank of Canada's collection and the other ones in a private collection in Victoria. We won't mention names. Of course, I'm not going to show you all the notes because you wouldn't remember the many ways this note was canceled. And there's a very good reason for it being canceled. And what had happened was that the bank notes were in circulation, and the government was rejecting them at the customs offices or in some cases taking them only at a discounted rate. So the two bank managers in Victoria got together in 1863. And they said to the bank, the government and this was written by the manager of the Bank of BC I have the honor to inform you that I have learned for several sources that the collectors of revenue in British Columbia have in some cases refused used to accept the notes issued by this bank and payment of dues. While in other instances, I am informed that they are only accepted at a discount on their and faced value, as it must be apparent to you that this latter course is highly prejudicial to the interests of a paper issue in these colonies, which is highly desirable to foster as a means of relieving trade of the expense of maintaining a large gold currency, I have the honor to request that if in your power, sorry, if in our power will give you such orders to the collectors of customs as will authorize them to receive banknotes or failing this, that you will give such orders as will amount to a total prohibition. And so prevent a depreciation of our notes, I have the honor to be Sir Your most obedient humble servant. And that was written to the Colonial Secretary, the bank realized or the government realized that the banks had a very strong point here. And they said, Yes, if you will give us 12 sets of notes, which we can send out to the collectors of customers. So they can have a note that they can look at and say yes, this is legitimate or not legitimate. And if you will, open a branch in New Westminster and hold enough coin there that you can redeem any notes that we present, we will accept your bank notes. So this particular note was sent to one of them, and they were all 10s. So the the $1 bill was, I think, 710, the $5 bill was 2010, the 10 was a 1010 or 110, and so on, they they made up numbered sets from notes that would have otherwise been issued. So this would have been issued in the early 1863 period, except it was canceled for use as a sample of the this bank link provided 10 sets the other bank of British Columbia provided 12 y we don't know the difference. But here, there are about three sets that have survived, in part, and the Archives has a set in Victoria, the national collection, the Bank of Canada collection has a set as well. So there, they are scarce, or even while I'd say rare rather than scarce even. The Bank of British North America was in Victoria until 1918, when it amalgamated with the Bank of Montreal, the First World War caused it to with these restrictions on money going out of Great Britain, they realized that they couldn't really carry on as as a bank. Also, I'm going to mention that the coins that were included in the cornerstone of the temple, the manual, which was built in 1863, which they recovered about 20 years ago, there was an 1850 Us 10 cent piece and 1859 us 50 cent piece and an 1861 shilling from Great Britain. The Bank of BC if you remember Victoria in the 60s and 70s. This is Government Street, and this is yet sorry, Fourth Street and the CPR had their offices in the building replaced this one. And then Until recently it was a souvenir store that just closed last summer. A little bit along the street there is Munro's bookshop, and across the street is the what was the Eaton center and is now the base center. It was also this house was the home of Thomas Harris, who was the first mayor of Victoria. And I think in the recent issue for the issue before the BC history magazine, there was an article on Thomas Harris. There's a New Westminster branch of the bank. That's the second one. The first one was in a small house. There's one in Yale. And this funny looking wagon, I believe was Jen Tillys. photographic studio. He went up with a bank with sorry with the governor Seymour, up into the interior on Seymour's inspection tour of the gold fields. And he took his wagon, and I have a Gentili photograph taken in this direction. And you can see this wagon in front of the same building. And it appears to another picture of Gentilly is on the of the Niagara bluff in the canal in the canyon. Now, the Bank of BC didn't arrive until 1862. And they came out with notes of an English standard, much larger. I'll just show you is one of them. Oops, I've got it here

Speaker 1 20:25
that's the size of the Bank of BNA notes that's the size of the Bank of BC. The first issues and they were on watermark paper in the watermarks, read the Chartered Bank of Vancouver, island in British Columbia. Or maybe it's the other way around the Chartered Bank event of British Columbia and Vancouver's Island, which was the original name but it never operated under that name because they changed it to the bank of British Columbia before it opened. This is not the Bank of British Columbia that Mr. Bennett started in the 1960s. This one was taken over by the Bank of Commerce in 1901. This is one of those canceled notes from the incident that I mentioned a little bit back. The government used to read report and what they call the blue book, it was the colonial report to home office in London every year. And in 1859, the British Columbia blue book said chiefly American coin no paper money in circulation in 1860. It just said English and US currency USD 1862. There's no 61 available English and Australian sovereigns and half sovereigns, US gold currency 2010 532 and a half and $1 pieces 1863. A large amount of notes of the chartered banks of British Columbia and British North America are in circulation. And in the upper country, the caribou, a private firm have acknowledged and Company issued notes that these last names are not accepted for payment of government notes. In 1863, in Vancouver Island, they reported an estimate of $500,000 in coinage, circulating and $33,000 in notes. Two years later, the coinage in circulation was 275,000, just over half of what it had been. And the notes were 135,000, which is four times what they had been. So you can see the the popularity of the notes grew quite quickly. decimal coinage was became the standard in in on Vancouver Island in 1862, or three. And in British Columbia, they were always a bit slower than we were 1865. That became effective January 1 1866. This note, the original ones, the $5 size, the large size were issued in fives, 20s 50s, and hundreds. And was very quickly realized by London within six months or so that the $100 notes were too big for circulation, and we're going to be used for the remittance of money back to England. And that's how the banks made their money charging you a fee for sending 100 pounds back to England or 500 pounds or whatever. And they didn't want you cutting into their business by shipping large notes back. So they withdrew those notes within six months. Two of them were outstanding for about 10 years later that they were finally all turned in by the 1870s so that nobody has one today. Even the Bank of Commerce who took over the Bank of BC don't have one although they have what they thought might be an impression of the dyes. The the printing guys, but we don't know. And this was issued on the 24th of June 1863, which is when the $1 notes were first issued. And it's still larger than our notes of today. This is the actual note that's that's the same note that's there. And I won't pass those around. But you can you're more than welcome to take a look at it after the talk if you want. These are also quite scarce. There are about three of them have survived. That private bank that we referred to earlier was down on the bottom of the Eighth Street. This this is the corner building. That is right now On a Fourth Street on the south side, and here was where McDonald and company bankers were located. He was a Scot. How could you tell with a name like McDonald's. And if I told you his name was Alexander Davidson McDonald, you'd be even more certain. There's he and his wife. Her maiden name was Bronx. She was born in New Zealand, the Bronx family, Robert Frank's and his three daughters and son moved from England, to New Zealand. Actually, the three of the girls are no sorry, two of the girls and the son were born in New Zealand. Then they moved to California, and then they came up to Victoria. I don't know to this day, whether McDonald married Jenny banks in California, or somewhere else, whether they met in Victoria or not. There are no marriage records in Victoria for her. So I'm, I'm assuming they met in California when he was there. He came up here in 1859, early in the year and looked around, he started the mill up in Port Douglas. But he noticed and had some experience as a banker working for his uncle in New New Orleans after he came out to North America. And so he noticed that there were no banks at this point. So he opened on March 8 through 10th 1859, in that gate Street building, and his primary source of revenue was buying gold and shipping it down to California. He would go up to Barkerville from 1862 on every fall by gold, and then pay the the miners in notes. And then later in his bank notes, he and he started printing bank having notes printed for him in San Francisco in 1863. And he issued a whole bunch of them all dated September sixth 1863. The chartered banks took umbrage to this. They didn't think it was a good thing that a private banker could issue bank notes. So they complain vociferous Lee to the governor. The governor, and his Colonial Secretary took a terribly long time to respond to this the following day. Can you imagine approaching the government today and getting responses on anything in less than a year, they had a response the next day, but that was a perhaps a friendlier time for government and people. And they came out with two rules or two laws, which became acts one was the the Banking Act. And the other one was the bank note Act. The Banking Act meant that if you wanted to have a bank in British Columbia or you had to be have a charter after a certain date, and if you wanted to wish your notes you had to be charted. And McDonnell Of course, being a provider private banker, wasn't wasn't chartered. I'm just gonna go back because I should mention something about his his wife, Jenny, she had two sisters, one married Israel would Powell. He was a doctor. He was the first superintendent of Indian Affairs after Confederation. Powell river is named after him or so are a number of things Powell Street and I think in Vancouver, and Powell lake behind Powell river. So that was a very influential brother in law. The other one married George Forbes, Vernon, and of course Forbes BC No, no Vernon BC is named after him. And he was also quite an important person. So McDonald had some help full brothers in law, but he still didn't help him with the banknote act. So there's the $1 note. Come on, there's a $5 note. And there's a $10. Note you notice a great similarity. The only thing that's changed is the denomination here in the counters there. And there are there is a variety of that have has two different vignettes at the bottom. All of the outstanding signatures that we know of were signed by Officer errs, who were working in the Barkerville branch in 1863. Thompson was one of them. He later became the publisher of the caribou Sentinel. He also became a member of parliament. And this is MacDonald's actual signature. And you can imagine signing 4000 notes what a tiring job that must have been. These are the only bank notes from the colonial period which are all collectible.

Speaker 1 30:27
There are maybe 200 notes from McDonald's Bank, which are still outstanding. In September 1864, in response to the banknote act, MacDonald was said to be going to England to get a royal charter. And he went up to the Goldfields to get the help with the cleanup, and to buy gold at that point. And while he was up there, the bank in Victoria was robbed. And it was robbed of $30,000 of their notes $10,000 of Bank of British North America notes and $5,000 worth of gold coins. There was a ladder found inside the bank that just was the right height to get through the skylight. And there was some feeling that this was an inside job. And they searched around, McDonald's came back. While he was in he had heard the news when he was up in Barkerville. He redeemed as many of the notes as were presented, he redeemed about $40,000 of his $60,000 that were in circulation. He came back. The bank was robbed on a night that they were expecting to send a large amount of money up to Barkerville. And they had worked late so they couldn't put stuff in the usual storage place which is the Bank of British North America's vaults, their vault not being as secure. And they claimed the manager claimed that he was had forgotten how to put in a slide that prevented the lock from being picked. The burglars went past an unlocked safe and open the vault and absconded with the money. They arrested a young clerk who they Some months later found that he was not guilty and they let him go. He moved to Illinois, where he carried on being a fairly respectable banker. The bank manager a fellow named Waddell later McDonald was faced with debtors imprisonment because he couldn't get any money to carry on. So he he was rolled out to a boat in the middle of the night, which was passing and heading to San Francisco and McDonald went down to San Francisco, leaving word behind that he would be looking for money to support the bank, but he never came back and the bank manager moved back to Ontario. His name was John Waddell, a John Waddell, who was later a captain of a steamship called the Explorer on the Great Lakes. And the ship went down in 1870. With a load of mill machinery and whiskey in knight in 1882, a ship with a lovely name of Victoria was was doing some salvage and they thought it would be pretty good to get this 12 year old whiskey and they raised the ship and they found a it was empty. The there were holes board in the bottom of the ship and see two crewmen had been locked in the cabin. Now John Waddell. He was later drowned in 1874. He was out fishing with his son October Mari. The son came back, saying that a squall had turned the boat over and the father eventually slipped over the edge and was lost. He managed to make it ashore. The son was later to commit suicide or die early in Iowa. And I have had access to the rock Robertson family history, because Waddell was a relation of the rock Robertson's to The Supreme Court just Chief Justices of British Columbia had been named rock Robertson. And so this one child of what Deleuze who died, it's the only one that they didn't say anything about. He was obviously the black sheep, I have jumped to the conclusion that he drowned his father trying to have all of the loot for himself. Of course, no proof of it. But it's the circumstantial evidence is all pointing towards him and his father. And, of course, Mr. Waddell, having been the Sheriff of the western counties, when he came out to British Columbia, and having come out with the cousin that eventually became the chief justice of British Columbia, would have been in a fine position who have gotten into a bank and been the manager. So you know, it's kind of an interesting story. It's a story all that I could talk to you for a couple of hours on, by just by itself. Now, after Confederation, the Dominion of Canada took over banking responsibility, and the bank Act that was passed, restricted the banks in Canada to tuition notes that were chartered banks, and they had to issue notes of $4 and above. And the banks, the smaller notes, the Dominion of Canada notes were issued in one and $2 notes. I show you this one, it's not in the best of shape. But it's domiciled in Victoria, you can you can read it right there. And domicile ring was a trick that they used in those days. You could only get coin for this note if you redeemed it in Victoria. And this prevented you from using notes through the mails and getting remitting cash that way. When I say this isn't in very good condition, you can see it's pretty ratty, this one came out of Wyoming

Unknown Speaker 37:15
and the only other one came out of New Zealand. They are fairly scarce. This one turned up at Killa Shaw's auction about three years ago.

Speaker 1 37:29
It's bank of British North America. And in 1877, the Bank of British North America stopped issuing notes that were domiciled in various branches, the early ones had been domiciled in Victoria, and all of them. We had been led to believe were issued in Montreal, this one came up. And lo and behold, it's Victoria. More interesting, the signature Alex Monroe, he was the son of an of a chief factor of the Hudson Bay Company serving in Victoria, he was an assistant to Douglas, and then later became the chief factor after Douglas left the company. It's dated here, August 27 1883. And Alex went left the Collegiate School at the age of 16, in 68 or so, and went to work for the bank of British North America as a clerk, and later was the teller for the bank. So here, he signed the note and kept it for a souvenir. It may have been the first that he signed because of the fact that it's oh one and he may have had a package starting with 100 notes. And this was put up for sale by his descendants about three years ago. There are no records of this note ever having been printed, which is rather strange and a friend of mine has had access to the banknote registers, which are in the Bank of Montreal. And so it's there's still some questions about it. But it's undoubtedly authentic in my opinion. There's another note that was issued in later years 1894 by the Bank of British Columbia. Note the serial number 13 200. This is one of those ones where the the original slide has faded, I'm afraid and the switching it over to a PowerPoint has made it worse. So I've got to somehow replace the slide but I just didn't have time this week. But note the back look at the serial number reproduced there. This is the only bank in Britain in Canada that has done this and put serial numbers on the back and then to put them so long. urge. It's really quite intriguing. Nobody knows why they did it. But they did it.

Speaker 1 40:11
Come on. Now, here's another one, I was giving a talk where there were some amount of police people present. So I had to make sure that I followed the rules. And then because this is technically illegal note, you can still spend this, I had to put that little ugly specimen on it there. How many of you remember Mac and Mac McLennan McFeely and prior hope is that oh, my goodness. McLennan was at McLennan and McFeely And originally, but it was also the president of the bank of Vancouver. And it was formed in 1907 1908. And it was formed because the Eastern banks were not lending their representative share of money to British Columbia. You know, we were the Forgotten province in 19 719. Eight, much as we are today. They bank opened in 1910. There weren't any experienced bankers on the West Coast. At least as far as the Board of Directors concerned they were all very successful merchants. But none of them knew much about banking. And they also got hit in 1913. By the depression that came along. Land values dropped significantly. properties that were sold in 1910 didn't reach those prices again until well into those late 40s. And so the bank made a lot of bad loans. Then when the Dominion trust went broke. A month later, the Bank of Vancouver suspended payment. I tried by Vancouver friends because the bank of Vancouver didn't have a good enough building in Vancouver to put on the back of the notes. And so they use Victoria's Parliament buildings. And I always think that's great fun. So anytime I talk to Vancouver groups, I let them know that what the situation was in 1910. Here's a specimen or proof. A specimen is a two sided note. This is a one sided one. So it's just a face proof. Note the logging seen the bank issued fives 10s 20s 50s and hundreds. I'm only going to show you a couple of them. Because the next picture this look familiar. It's exactly the same scene. There's the vignette for the bank note. They were scenes, the five was a scene that appears on postcards. The 10 appears on postcards and the 20 appears on postcards with a little bit of artistic license added in the middle of it. The 50s and hundreds I've never found as a postcard, but they were probably scenes taken by Thomson, the Vancouver photographer. I think the bank went down bought fives views, sent them off to the banknote company and had them printed. They're kind of neat, that in that respect. Now we're getting into private money. Robert Cunningham came out as an assistant to Duncan at Metlakatla didn't get along with him for very long. And by the late 1860s. He was acting as a merchant at Skeena BC as he called it or port Essington as we later called it. And he made these we assume they made them at home because no respectable die sinking firm would produce a product like this but they they're all the same except there's differing conditions of being able to read this when you can read the screen and that when you can't. This one has been counter stamped because he had a branch in Hazleton and those would have been used at Hazelton. These were used to buy fish. He furs from the primarily the First Nations people there but if you were white trapper, you would also sell them. And there's a cute story of a canary company that decided to go up and build a canary in Port Essington in about 1908. And the fellow that was set up to start buying fish was given $1,000 in gold coins. The first nations would not accept them. They only wanted Cunningham's coins. So he had to go to Cunningham and give him $1,000 worth of gold coin so he could then have the Cunningham coins to buy fish. delightful story, I think it shows sometimes the power of knowledge

Speaker 1 45:18
Hudson Bay Company had a lot of branches up in the same area. If anyone could tell me for certain what the s in the end stood for, I would be delighted to know, probably Skeena but possibly sticking, possibly NAS because they had branches on those that might be sold, but they're all used in the north. And there's also one that's marked with an M. And I tell them that the M is mine. But it you know this, there's a whole bunch of suggestions that have been made. We think it's NASA, and Skeena. These were cast. These were used around the time of the First World War. They use cardboard chips that were one five and $10 ones just after the war and then in about 1922 23 Head Office ask them to stop using private money. Here's one from Hazleton, they have taken game counters that are in the form of imitation guineas, the gold Guinea looked much like that from 1790. And then they they made brass ones which were used as game counters. Hudson Bay Company in Hazleton had a bunch of these counter stamp and they use them for their local currency. They probably didn't get outside the building. They normally the Hudson Bay Company, if you brought in furs, you presented a for a couple of tokens would be slid across to you. And then you had your pile there when you finish selling what you wanted. And then if you wanted to buy the goods from the Hudson Bay Company, the trader would be taking them away as as you made your purchases. And that was the way that usually worked. They did not circulate as such, but they were definitely used in transactions. Come on. Oh, this one I liked this one. Quite the ASCII code W E Anderson 1235 1020. And both 50 and 100 fish. Sockeye in 1912, probably sold for eight cents apiece. And if you'd bring your 100 fish in and you'd get 100 Fish token. Now, you know, we're caught he ASCII COVID. On Quadra Island, I presume, just opposite Campbell River. They have a very forceful or had a very forceful chief and chief Billy Yasu. This fellow who opened the cannery in about 1906, and then rebuilt it in 19. Eight issued these about 1910 1912. But he insisted in paying for them and these were only good in his store. And this is a rather vile way of subjecting your fishermen or and in the mining areas in Virginia, where they would do exactly the same thing. They would pay you in tokens and then the tokens rolling good in their store, which they sold things at inflated prices. And Chief Billy protested vehemently to the government and to Anderson and he managed to get this iniquitous system stopped very quickly. So that most of the tokens don't appear to have been used for very long and they're in pretty good shape generally. Some of them are scarce or the three was not a widely used or surviving denomination and the 50 and the 100 are also quite tough to get. But the 10s and 20s They turned up in great quantities. This was an enigma for the longest time. It says John cord and then Victoria standard. And we had no idea what it was. But when you see three of them here, the 10 the 15 and the 20. We assumed that they were used in trade and they weren't just checks. Well it turns out the Victoria staff Under was the name of the theatre company. It was the Victoria theatre, and it was the Standard Theatre Company and John cord had come from the East. He opened up a chain of vaudeville houses in Washington. And about 1892 he was going through divorce proceedings with his first wife, and came up to Victoria and opened up a bottle of existing theater right where the Bank of Montreal is main branches today at the corner of Douglas and Yates. And he had a house that was sometimes called a box house. You would sit in these boxes and they would push drinks and you might have a young lady sitting with you and her job was to get you to buy drinks. And of course buy her a drink and hers would be watered so that she would be sober for the rest of the night and you wouldn't be and these were not the establishments that many ladies went to. He later went back to Seattle, he only operated in Victoria until about 1894 He went back to Seattle went broke a couple of times. Went back to New York, and today there is still a Court Theatre in New York on I think 47th Street it has not operated for years but it still exists. There is a book on the early Theatre in British Columbia which gave me a lot of information when I finally found it Come on. Okay, doesn't want to cooperate

Speaker 1 51:47
No, Spencer Spencer's David Spencer Company Limited started in Victoria in 1862. Approximately, went out on his own about 1870. And was David Spencer limited they sold out to eton's in 1948. They call this their shopping coin. They introduced it in 1915. So it's a little bit beyond what my own my self imposed dates were. But this one was obviously issued very early. This one was issued in 1936. It was my mother's card. And when she decided she needed credit at Spencer's in 1936. They sent a nice little letter with this is your shopping coin to identify yourself. Same thing as later charge a plate or the plastic cards of today. When Eden's took over until 1961, that was still her number except it was VT for Victoria store. That was she was using it into the in the 61 or so. They were I've seen numbers as high as 16,007 900. So almost 17,000 of these were issued over 3040 years. A form of money. This is plain money. St. Ann's commercial college St. Ann's commercial college. I first heard of these in about 1961 or 62. And so I took a picture of it of one and I found one in the BC archives and in their collection. And I went up to the St. Ann's Academy the the convent and asked to talk to somebody and a nun came out and spoke to me and said Oh well, I don't know anything about them. I've only been here 30 years. But I have a sister and I forgotten her name, but she didn't want to name us anyways. I'll ask her well, about three days later, the other sister came in to see me to the store. And she so I remember them. I went to school as a student at the turn of the century. And we use them in our commercial courses. And she said there were greenbacks as well that we were taught how to make change, how to count money. And of course if you came off a farm, say at Fulford harbour it wouldn't have been the same as in Ganges of course, which was much more cosmopolitan. But if you came off a farm and Fulford you've may never have seen money. You went you had this commercial course that taught you how to make change, how to work in an office, etc, etc. And so that was a play money, not really quite the same. What I needed to do in the 1960s was Find a reformed drunk. Who could who could remember a lot of these places, and I did actually find one. But the beehive was Victoria pub. It's good for five cents that token. And it was in business from about 1862 until 1914. The laws changed in 1914. You couldn't have standalone pubs or saloons. You had to be associated with a hotel. And the beehive wasn't so they went out of business. Pete Steele, he had a place at 37/8 Street. The token says at 78th Street. It was also the for five cents that token he was his father was in a different location. The father was in Bastian square, Pete Jr. was was the one on Eighth Street. And he operated right up until about 1910, or 12, as well. Vampire bar was associated with the Empire Hotel, there's a whole series of these this is a five cent I think, although for the size, it might have been the 25 cent, but it had 510 25 and 50 cent tokens. They may have been used in their restaurant as well as their bar. The Atlantic cafe. Marie was the name their proprietor. I had the opportunity to interview his daughter, and he was a character. He was very straight laced. And I think I've written this up in the BC history. He would not let his wife come into the bar. The bar was on at the corner of Johnson and Broad Street in Victoria. And he used to drive home. And he would set the gas and the spark at a certain speed that would take him home to his West Burnside home at 27 miles per hour. Never very that come hell or high water. Try doing that today. He was known as Big Dave Murray. Because at one point he weighed 275 pounds or more. And later when he died, they still needed an extra couple of people who lift the coffin. The story was that his pet Canary died of a broken heart when he died and was buried with Him. This one is the del Monaco and it's not really a bar. It was a restaurant. And Ernest Escalade was a Frenchman. He had come to Victoria by 1865 66. He worked as a chef. He worked as a restaurant manager later became a hotelier he is one of the more colorful fellows. He was several times charged with assault. I guess he had differences of opinion with customers. He also had some bad misfortune he was he ran a after he closed the Victoria one. I think he went broke in Victoria in 1894. It was a tough time he was running the Victoria hotel at that point. The these from the Delmonico are probably 1888. Anyways, he moved up to Greenwood and was burned out. So we moved over to Columbia, which is now part of Grand Forks. And he wasn't there a month and he was burned out there. And that one was a case of arson, but they didn't suspect him. And then he went to Rosslyn. And then he came back to Victoria. And then I lost him. Another researcher found a little report in the columnist of 1906. I think it was that he had died in Reno, Nevada, Nevada. His wife lived in on until she died in Victoria. The sister in law was one of those killed in the street car disaster of 1896 When 55 people were killed. One of his daughters, he had three daughters, married a US senators son. And the other two I've never been able to find so I think the family sort of gravitated towards the United States afterwards, but you can see why I like tokens because they've all got stories. Let's just go back there. I have to talk about this one that says Harry Martin Garrix heaven. It's a very hard token to photograph. And I've written that one up very recently, but Harry Morton was an Englishman who went to Ontario and then came to British Columbia. He was a great lacrosse player. But his the most interesting thing that he did in my opinion, was on Christmas day he was walking along oak phase B Each near Ratan very beach as we call it today. And it was a storm. And he saw a sailboat that had too much sail on it turn over. And he tried to launch a boat to get out to it and couldn't. He saw the boat being carried over to cattle point. So he ran. And it's a mile and a half up there. Little over two and a half kilometers for those who think metrically I don't think in this group to any of us do. And then he, by this time the boat was 100 yards off shore, he swam out, brought in the older fellow that was on the boat and then went back in swam out got the second one, the younger one and brought him ashore as well.

Speaker 1 1:00:52
The The two were members of the band that had a have the reserve out at Chatham and discovery islands. And so he was obviously, if any of you have ever tried to swim in waters around Victoria, you know that that is a pretty tough thing. So a great act of heroism. They talked about to nominating him for Canadian roe Red Cross award. I never saw anything that indicated that he got it but he certainly deserved it. He later ran the Royal Oak hotel until prohibition and then he retired and he died in 1928 or so had one son and the son died about 25 years and I've not been able to trace any family there. And so all of these tokens were used this one was about 1900 that he was running the the Garrick said saloon and believe it or not, that's the the end of what I had to say. I will put out these two notes if you'd like to look at them and if you have questions I guess we can try and answer them

Speaker 1 1:02:17
I've also got the Alexander Monroe note and the other one that was found in New York State

Speaker 1 1:02:37
well apart from having spent four years at UBC yes

Unknown Speaker 1:02:43
I was wondering

Unknown Speaker 1:02:46
whether the coins value whether it's exchange

Speaker 1 1:03:03
Yes, they were the notes. Oops, I'm just gonna close this down. The rare coins rare notes are have a number of things that influence their value. Their Rarity is one the Oh, when they were being used, okay, sorry. That note because they were issued by a bank that would promise to replace them with coin represented that coin. And as long as the bank was solvent and strong, such as a Chartered Bank, theoretically was they eventually were very, you know, received quite easily. In fact, they became preferable to gold. But I mean, you know, here's a $20 bill, what's it you know, it cost the bank 12 cents to print

Unknown Speaker 1:04:07
you're backing up your coin

Speaker 1 1:04:13
that's right. And in the states to this, they're still at that debate. They would like real real coinage. And they the notes are theoretically redeemable in gold until the 1930s. And some Americans to this day they would still like to go back to that. Ours ours have been fiat currency for the last 70 years the Bank of Canada has reserves. But you can't go in and ask for a dollars worth of gold or for $1 bill or $20 worth of gold for for coin today. That's

Speaker 1 1:04:59
it They were responsible and reliable. And not a scam. Yes. In in a vault probably not knowing in gold coins you know these the value of this coin was was $20. And it represented $20 in gold. You know? Yeah

Unknown Speaker 1:05:37
just have a lot. Oh, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1 1:05:41
There, that was a common thing they would they would tip it or they would, when they started putting security edges, you look at your coins, they have security edges on, they you couldn't tip them any more than they would put them in bags. And you used to see people in Victoria, I'm told at the turn of the century, they would be rattling their gold coins in a leather bag, which would eventually knock a little bit of gold off. And then they could burn the the leather bag and get the gold and then use it. And as long as a gold coin had a certain weight it was it was valid. You had a question there, sir?

Unknown Speaker 1:06:18
What is the largest denomination

Speaker 1 1:06:27
if you allow for bank legals, which you and I couldn't spend, they were $50,000 notes. They were used only in settlements between banks. You know, prior to the Bank of Canada being formed, if a bank had, say $100,000 worth of your notes, they would come to you and ask for money back. And you would then pay them that, but they had $70,000 worth of yours. So really, there was only 30. There and there were there were 25 banks operating and before that, and they would then to simplify this exchange of money every they had clearinghouses set up, and the clearing houses were first started in the 1880s in Canada, and then they would meet, they would determine how much each bank owed the other bank. And then they would come back later that afternoon and settle on those. And to simplify their exchanges. They use these very large bank notes. When the Bank of Canada was formed. All of the bank settled started settling with the Bank of Canada each day. And they the clearing houses were irrelevant at that point. And then later, by 1943 all of the banks had ceased issuing notes because the the Bank of Canada issued regulations are the government issued regulations that you had to have every dollar in currency that you had out in circulation, backed by gold, and so they no longer could make money on their circulation. So they gave it up. And that's why you don't see various banknotes circulate

Unknown Speaker 1:08:20
gold standard.

Speaker 1 1:08:24
Oh, I think it was about 1933 The Americans went off the gold standard Bretton went off about the same time and I think Canada sort of followed suit

Speaker 1 1:08:40
Are you willing to accept it if I was to give it to you? That's you know, it's mutually agreeable that I will give you my goods for a $20 bill and you will give me your goods for a $20 bill and that's how it goes today. There I mean, you can't go and get money for our coin for that or bullion. It just isn't isn't possible today. It's the goodwill of the government. If there is any left and they they have you know you can they've agreed to accept that money as taxes so enjoy them taxes so I guess that's about the best that we can say on it

Unknown Speaker 1:09:25
you picked a good one there

Speaker 1 1:09:33
won't buy a loaf of bread today. They their largest note that went into circulation recently was something like 30 trillion Zimbabwe dollars, and it wasn't enough to buy a loaf of bread. And you know, the hyperinflations happened before. There's there's a lovely story from Germany in the 1920s a fellow took a wheelbarrow load of money into by his daily bread. He couldn't get it through the door. So he left it outside. He came back. The wheelbarrow was stolen but they left the money behind.

Unknown Speaker 1:10:14
Ron last question

Unknown Speaker 1:10:21
return the increase the money

Unknown Speaker 1:10:28
the value of currency meaning

Unknown Speaker 1:10:32
you wouldn't call me about that scenario.

Speaker 1 1:10:34
I'm not a political commentator. If I'd been let's Yeah. Gresham's Law. Yes. To be honest, I felt for a long time that the government's benefited from inflation. Because if we all earn $10,000 You know, they, they got so much for that money in taxes, if we all earned $100,000. They got several times as much in taxes. So as you know, the government's benefit that keep pushing inflation, and you end up with more money. But, you know, whether that's a cynical view or not, we'll have to determine as I say, I'm not a political commentator. I'm not an economist. I'm just a collector sorry. I know of some that I don't have any

Unknown Speaker 1:11:36
any point Saltspring point

Speaker 2 1:11:42
is very informative, very interesting.

Speaker 3 1:11:55
materials on the side here. Next program will be the profitable family.

Unknown Speaker 1:12:07
Believe that