Comparative value of other furs to Beaver, York Factory, 1806
The Standard of Trade evolved as a means of exchange to ensure consistent pricing throughout Rupert's Land. Before this practice took hold each post set its own rate of exchange for trade goods. It was not uncommon for the First Nations to 'shop around' for the best deal with the result that some posts were understocked while others were overstocked
Hudson's Bay Company used the Made Beaver as a unit of currency that could be traded at their posts for various European trade goods. A prime beaver pelt was called a "made beaver" - a pelt which had already been worn for at least one season and from which most of the long outer hair had worn off. The greasy beaver wool was easily shaved from the skin by felters, and turned into the finest felt for making hats.
The prices of all trade goods were set in values of Made Beaver (MB) with other animal pelts, such as squirrel, otter and moose quoted in their MB (made beaver) equivalents. For example, 2 otter pelts might equal 1 MB.
View the Standard of Trade from Fort Albany, 1733.