CANADA, Bank of Montreal halfpenny, 1844


CANADA, QUEBEC, token, 1844, Obverse: front of bank, PROVINCE OF CANADA, BANK OF MONTREAL, Reverse: arms in garter, BANK TOKEN HALFPENNY 1844, Edge: plain, copper, 28mm, KM-Tn18, cleaned XF

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Most of the Quebec bank tokens are common.

Banks started putting out tokens backed by reserves in the 1840s. In 1850 parliament authorized certain banks to issue tokens that would be legal tender throughout the designated provinces.

In the Canadian catalogs there is a standard set of pre-Unification tokens presented. Apparently there was a disorderly coin shortage for most of Canadian history before 1858.

A token is used like a coin but is not a coin. Rather, it stands for a coin without the value of the coin. Maybe its copper, but says its value is the same as a silver coin. Usually tokens were made privately, but sometimes governments got involved.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.