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  From 1600 to 1867
Home >> From 1600 to 1867 >> Economics & Resources >> Articles/Diaries/Ephemera/Journals

The growth and success of the fur trade depended on the men and women of the First Nations and Métis Nation, while the competition between the HBC and the Northwest Company would forge a new era.

Image 1 | Image 2
Author: Peter Fidler
Location: HBCA - Archives of Manitoba; MG1 D3, file 1, pages 28 & 29
Copyright Holder: Expired; no restrictions on use. Please credit HBCA - Archives of Manitoba.
  -125- Peter Fidler: Standard of Trade

This handwritten standard of trade lists the prices of various HBC trade goods, as expressed in terms of how many beaver furs were needed to trade for them. Such standards had been set by the HBC's London Committee as early as the 1670s and changed remarkably little between then and the early nineteenth century, but there was always some variation in the standard from post to post (particularly depending on whether the Company was in competition with opposing traders and so needed to offer better prices). Note the variety of trade goods available, such as the different sizes of kettles and guns, and even five different kinds of handkerchiefs.

Did You Know?
The beavers referred to in this list are Made Beavers (MB), or prime winter beaver pelts; poorer quality beaver pelts would be valued at 1/2 or 1/4 MB (or even less). Other animal pelts were accepted in trade, as were leather and meat: all were valued in terms of MB.