Ancient coins had single purpose

It’s a thin coin about the size of a quarter. It has “10”_ and “W.E. Anderson Quathiaski Cove” on it.

It’s a thin coin about the size of a quarter. It has  “10”_ and “W.E. Anderson Quathiaski Cove” on it.

It came my way via Val Biffert who found it among her mother’s stuff. Her mother taught school on Quadra Island in the late 1930s.

I grew up on Quadra.

We lived on a farm at Heriot Bay until I was seven.

Getting to school required either crossing the bay in a row boat or riding several miles on the crossbar of my brother’s bike.

Dad thought this was too hard for a little girl so he took the job as postmaster at Quathiaski Cove, on the other side of the island, where the school was within walking distance.

Quathiaski’s claim to fame was the fish cannery.

Shortly before we moved, BC Packers Ltd. bought the cannery company, which included a general store, from W.E. Anderson. The Andersons had a large two-story summer home which sat on pilings on the beach at the head of the government wharf.

BC Packers converted this building into offices (one for them, one for the post office,) and three apartments.

What had been the ballroom became our three-bedroom apartment.

I have no idea why the Andersons needed a ballroom, but they left their piano behind. Dad bought it from BCP for $1.

Some time after we moved in, we discovered a lot of these coins in the back of the piano.

Until the First Nations fishermen complained in 1922, fishermen were paid this “fish money” which could only be spent at the company store.

(Owe your soul to the company store?)

The coins came in different denominations (I think 1 to 100). Dad got the idea to  advertise sets of them in a coin collectors’ magazine. They sold very well.

My friends and I played store with the leftovers. I don’t know what happened to them.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune.She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.


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