Smith's Cigar Storewas popular saloon in Gallup for over fifty years. Many locals and traders frequented the place. My grandfather was a cigar smoker and always dealt with John Smith. As a kid, I sold newspapers outside of the saloon. A token such as this sold on eBay in August 2015 for $16.55. This token is $20.
Thoreau Mercantilelocated thirty miles west of Gallup, just off I-40. It is pronounced Thu-Roo. It was founded in 1927 and provided service for Navajo families in the Crownpoint area. Little is known about the history of this trading post that evolved into a general store in the 1950s. This is a .10 token. $25
Richardson Brothers were early traders on the Navajo reservation. The brothers were SI, CD, and Hubert. They owned a number of posts in Winslow, Cameron, Kaibito, and Navajo Mountain. They came west in about 1908 to Winslow. In 1916 CD and Hubert built Cameron Trading. This token has "Winslow, Ariz" stamped on it. $25
Howard Wilsonwas a long-time trader and colorful figure. He served as an interpreter, movie recruiter and advisor, and Sheriff. In the 1940s he was President of the United Indian Traders Association. In 1947 he trained seventy traders to handle claims for the Railroad Retirement Board. He owned trading posts at Tohlakai and Wildcat Springs prior to becoming two-time sheriff of McKinley County in Gallup during the 50s. At the same time he also owned the trading post east of Gallup at Indian Village. That community is now known as Church Rock. All of his stores were in close proximity to Gallup. These tokens were used for all of them. He and Dad were good friends. I remember good stories that they bantered about. These tokens are from his post at Indian Village. In August 2015 the $1 token sold on eBay for $51. This offering is for 5 tokens as a lot (.01, .05, .10, .25, and $1). FYI These tokens are over 60 years old. Sold as a lot of five: $69.95
Gorman Trading Post was affiliated with the Nelson Gorman family. Nelson was one of the few Navajo traders on the reservation. He started out with his trading post in Chinle in 1915. Later he opened another store closer to Ganado. That store proved to be too much additional work so he sold the post to Lorenzo Hubbell at Ganado. The Gormans were a large family from the Chinle area. John Gorman was the freight wagon driver for my grandfather when he was at Chinle. I believe that Carl Gorman was either a younger brother or cousin. He became a Navajo Code Talker and an accomplished artist. He was the father of RC Gorman. I believe that these tokens were from the Ganado store which was run by Gordon Gorman because the tokens for the main store had "Chinlee, Ariz" stamped on them. The NM stamp on this token is a mystery to me. This $1 token is actually a gray (pewter) color. Also available in 25-cent token. Each priced individually. $50
Trade tokens were used throughout America in the 1800's and early 1900's. Such was the case with the Navajo reservation. Traders issued metal trade tokens good for trade only at the face value of the token and only at the trading post named on the token. They had no cash value. Typically they ranged in value from a penny to five dollars. Those were the days when many items could be purchased for less than twenty-five cents. When a token was redeemed, the trader punched a hole in it or stamped it. Most often a trader gave tokens as part of a trade. The tokens also served the trader by assuring that his customers would not go elsewhere to trade. However, that was not a major concern because the reservation was so large and in my grandfather's time, the traders all respected the trade territory of each other. Families were typically identified by their trading post. My grandfather's competitors were Hubbell Trading at Ganado (38 miles), Nazlini Trading (35 miles), Chinle Trading (25 miles), and Black Mountain Trading (18 miles). His customers had credit with him, but likely not with other trading posts. During his time everyone traveled by horseback and wagons. I have found the best way to clean old trade tokens is with a pencil eraser.
Ft Wingate Centennial issued in 1960 to commemorate hundred years of Ft. Wingate near Gallup. Ft. Wingate was a cavalry outpost. This .50 token was issued by the two banks in Gallup with an expiration date of noon August 31, 1960. It was valid with any business dealing with either bank. $10
Kirk Brotherswere prominent traders in the Gallup area beginning in the early 1900s. All told there were eleven brothers and cousins in the trading business at and around Gallup. Their store was a large building on the north side of Gallup. That store eventually became the headquarters for my dad's operation - Gallup Indian Trading Company. This token was redeemed and stamped with "KB". $25