Saskatchewan Merchant Trade Tokens


There are three main types of trade tokens, coins and medallions:

- MERCHANT TRADE TOKENS are issued by individual businesses or service clubs, and can only be redeemed at that particular business for a specified cash value or a service. In many cases service clubs like the Lions, Elks or Royal Canadian Legion issued tokens which could be redeemed for one drink at their social gatherings. Merchant trade tokens were used in the same way that coupons are used in today's marketplace.

NOTE: Some of the more rare tokens can be worth a considerable amount of money, so if any of you have a few sitting at the bottom of Grandma's button jar, it might be worth your while to investigate them! We also have a few club members who are very prolific collectors and might be interested in buying them...

- MUNICIPAL TRADE DOLLARS are issued by town councils, city councils and boards of trade to stimulate the patronage of all businesses in the area. They were sponsored by a local authority and given legal monetary value in a limited area for a limited time by the appropriate local authority. They can be used as money in normal commercial transactions during its validity. The words "Good for One Dollar", "Souvenir Dollar" or Dollar (or other value) must appear on a trade dollar otherwise it is considered a medallion. There is usually an expiry date on the coin, after which they are to be considered souvenirs.

- SOUVENIR COINS OR MEDALLIONS have no denomination and are just issued to commemorate an event or promote an individual or club, and they cannot be redeemed for anything.

Note: There is a subset of these items which were made of wood, known as "Wooden Nickels". Most are the approximate size of a silver dollar. These could be classified in any of the three categories described above, but are not discussed at all here because there is a wealth of information on them available in other publications and web sites.

This series of pages list every known Saskatchewan Merchant Trade Token design. It lists all of the tokens which can be found in the following publications:
- "Trade Tokens of Saskatchewan And Their History" catalogue which was written by Cecil Tannahill and originally published in 1967.
- "An Illustrated Edition On Banking, Trade Tokens, Paper Money & Scrip", also written by Cecil Tannahill and published in 1980.
- "2014 Checklist Of Saskatchewan Trade Tokens" by Ronald L. Rogal, which was published in 2014, and an update page which was printed in 2015.
- A large number of new finds which have been sent to Mr. Rogal by a number of token collectors.

After Mr. Tannahill passed away the stewardship of this catalogue was passed on to Ron Rogal (a decades long token collector and Executive Committee member of the Saskatoon Coin Club).

The goal of this section of our web site is to show and/or describe every token design known to have been issued by businesses in the province of Saskatchewan and the areas of the preceding districts of Assiniboia or the Northwest Territories which lie within the current borders of our province (see below for more information).
We have obtained photos or rubbings of as many tokens as possible. Ron Rogal's complete personal token collection has been photographed, and later this year a large number of the tokens in the Tannahill-Harding collection (in the custody of the Western Development Museum) will also be photographed along with portions of a third major collection.


If anyone using this catalogue owns a token that we do not have a photo of (or if we have a bad photo or rubbing), we would greatly appreciate it if you would share photos of your token for use in our catalogue. We want to make this a community project for the benefit of all collectors, which is why we have made access to this catalogue absolutely free and unrestricted.

You can send your photos and written permission to use them to with the token number stated in the "Subject" field (which makes things easier to maintain).

If you chose to send us photos it would also help a great deal if you zoom in as much as possible while showing the entire token, maintaining good focus, and use a sheet of plain white paper as your background.

Note the format used in the Description field of each token:
Obverse Content
(Reverse Content inside parentheses)
[Token and Text Colour inside square brackets]

Note that any logo has been described inside {braces}

NOTE: Click on any photo to load a much larger version of the same photo

Why do some of these tokens say Northwest Territories or Assiniboia???

You may notice that some tokens are not attributed to the province of Saskatchewan, but are attributed to either Assiniboia or the North West Territories. The reason for this is shown in the following maps of the region dated before Saskatchewan was incorporated as a province in 1905. Some of the towns and cities pre-dated 1905, and were therefore considered part of either of these territories or districts.

Up until 1898 most of what we now call Saskatchewan was part of an enormous patch of land known as the Northwest Territories.
The towns that existed around this time included Carlyle, Hanley, Heward, Manor, Maple Creek, Moose Jaw and Whitewood:

In 1882 the Northwest Territories was sub-divided into the districts of Assiniboia, Saskatchewan and many others as you can see in the map shown below.
The District of Assiniboia included the towns of Abernethy, Carnduff, Indian Head, Lumsden, Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Qu'Appelle, Regina and Yorkton:

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