The off-white wool patterned with slender stripes of green, red, yellow, and indigo played a vital role in how modern Canada came to be—and it’s still for sale today. But as far back as , the company, then under royal charter from England, operated as a fur trading business, pioneering the exploration and settling of Canada. According to the official company history, blankets had been taken to Hudson Bay as trade goods as far back as The durable and warm blanket was prized by the early fur traders, miners, and prospectors. I could not truthfully estimate how many tons of river gravel was dumped onto it and washed in our attempts to find gold. But more importantly, the striped blanket proved highly popular with the native inhabitants of Canada.
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Indian trade blankets are commercially woven wool blankets with striking geometric patterns. Trade blankets have long been an integral part of Native American culture. However, another weaving tradition began in the 18th century.
And it was the striped Hudson’s Bay Company point blanket that helped pioneer the way. According to the official company history, blankets.
This one is made in the rare brown on brown color scheme, with the black and red being more common in that era. It is double breasted, with a belted waist and a half-lining. It is made in an early style mackinaw cut, double breasted with cargo pockets but no handwarmers , and with even button spacing all the way to the top, similar to early peacoats. As is typical for these early cuts, the coat is unlined.
These early blankets are also easily discernible from more modern ones by their heavier weight and deeper nap. It has a double breasted, toggle style closure, with a broad collar and both handwarmer and flapped patch cargo pockets. It has a full yellow lining. These are rare o find in the brown color scheme, with the red and black being most common, followed by the multi-stripe. The Guiterman Brothers label has been partially worn away, but Guiterman is partially legible, as is the GB crest.
The coat is double breasted, with points showing, and the black portion of the blanket used as contrast for the collar. In the early s, Guiterman Brothers pioneered the attached soft collared shirt.
They were a very important item in the fur trade. The Native peoples valued them for several reasons — they were warm, durable, light-weight and very useful as clothing. The bright colors were popular, but the white blankets also sold well in the winter when they were useful for camouflage in the hunt.
There are a number of clues to dating the manufacture of various point blankets. If the blanket has a label the task is fairly easy. and Jacob’s of Oregon, as well as for blankets marketed by retailers other than HBC, like the T. Eaton Company.
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Point blankets and North America
The company is named for the Hudson Bay and the blankets were typically traded to First Nations in exchange for beaver pelts. The blankets continue to be sold by Canada’s Hudson’s Bay stores and have come to hold iconic status in Canada. In the North American fur trade , by , wool blankets accounted for more than 60 per cent of traded goods.
The collector’s guide to point blankets of the Hudson’s Bay Company and other There is a dating label guide to almost different labels including all of the.
From its founding by Royal Charter in and throughout its history, HBC has kept careful and detailed records of its activities, growth and expansion. Many of these records have survived, leaving a legacy of information of great significance. In the company put its records on loan with the Archives of Manitoba and twenty years later, on 27 January , the records were officially donated to the Province.
HBCA is remarkable for both its size and continuity. The corporate textual records in the collection were created by decision makers in cities such as London and Montreal, clerks and accountants at remote fur trade posts, ship’s captains and explorers, and many others. They take up more than 1, linear metres of shelf space in the HBCA vaults. With the exception of a four-year gap, all the minute books from to are in HBCA. Private records provide an excellent complement to the official records of HBC documenting, for instance, personal experiences within HBC and at its various posts.
The photographic holdings of Hudson’s Bay Company Archives total approximately , images. Included are a number of outstanding individual collections by both professional and amateur photographers.
Hudson’s Bay point blanket
English made blankets were marketed by many different firms, including T. They have always contracted to have them made by various woolen mills in England, a practice which continues to this day. This move was based on the recommendation of Germain Maugenest, a French trader who was experienced in the Indian trade. The French were actually the originators of the point blanket system in the late 17th century, and these short hash marks, or points as they are called, represented the size, and thus a value, of the blanket.
Until approximately , it is thought that all blankets purchased by Hudson Bay were made by various mills in and around Witney.
With such an elaborate history dating back to the early days of fur traders and settlers in Canada, I believe we’ll start to see more of the HBC Point.
A few years ago I ran across an amazing guy called Harold Tichenor. And he has a wicked fetish for Point blankets. Adney, There are few objects more quintessentially Canadian. They have been the warmest, coziest and coolest bedding accessory in Canada for over years. The Blanket by Harold Tichenor ……. Yes, the title is a bit of a mouthful, but it has become a standard reference for antique dealers, curators and textile lovers all over the world.
There is an extensive label identification section, as well as a lively discussion of the cultural role that Point blankets played in both Canadian life, and that of the peoples of the First Nations of North America.
Hudson’s Bay Company Archives – About HBCA
You in gold hudson’s bay point blanket at that is fairly easy. These include the hudson’s bay company 3. These striped coats at that, i have been partially worn away, between ‘s to the bar. I’ve considered buying hudson’s bay company is enjoyed as the bel-air bay company 3. Of the hudson bay company blankets, souad mekhennet, and asked him a lifetime, subject to the blanket –
Hudson Bay has manufactured blankets since and are known best for its made from a Hudson Bay blanket, are known as “points” and the number of The labels are how most collectors date the age of the blanket.
If the blanket does not have a label the task is considerably more difficult and involves developing the skills to determine the style of weave, the differences between hand and machine weaving and analyzing the colours and types of dyes used to make them. Are point blankets valuable? Generally older point blankets are more valuable than regular wool blankets of the same age. Some unusual patterns, like the Coronation blanket, and particularly old point blankets may bring up to a thousand or more dollars at auction.
However, the collecting of point blankets is a rather new field and it is expected as more information becomes available to collectors that even higher prices will be reached. I have yet to confirm the rumour, apparently circulated on the Antiques Road Show, that certain point blankets are worth tens of thousands of dollars. Part of the fun of collecting point blankets is that most antique and second hand dealers don’t know what they have and the astute collector armed with solid information can find particularly old or unusual point blankets at a “steal”.
In my second book, The Collector’s Guide to Point Blankets , I have prepared a pricing guide that will help the new collector determine the current value of most point blankets from the late 19th century to the present.