Trade Axe

This “trade axe” was used in trade between the British merchants and Native American trappers during the mid-19th century. The axe has a single piece of curled iron on a wooden handle. Beaver fur trading was central to the North American economy from the 16th until to the mid-19th century. British traders exchanged one beaver pelt for one axe head. The pelt was sold in England for 16 shillings, while the trade axe cost a mere 2 shillings to buy, leading to a massive profit for the traders, and the associated Hudson’s Bay Company, who monopolized the beaver fur trade in North America.
Object Name
trade axe
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
American Enterprise
See more items in
Work and Industry: Hand Tools
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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