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"From the early days of European colonization the the hard money of British North America, including Canada, consisted of English coins and tokens, along with various French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Mexican issues. In much of Canada barter was common, and colonists adopted the use of beaver pelts and other non-coin currencies. Coins from England were scarce, so to meet the growing need for small change, merchants and banks struck and issued their own copper half-penny and penny tokens. Once the United States of America gained independence, its coins began to circulate north; and before Upper and Lower Canada united in 1841, some provinces issued their own semi-official tokens.." - Whitman Publishing