Settlers trading with the indians—bartering casting counters and other trade goods for furs. (Conjectural sketch by Sidney E. King.)
One reason why the colonists selected a site for Jamestown some miles up the James River was to develop the Indian trade over an extensive area. During the early years of the colony, trade with the natives was encouraged. It is clear from the early records that the settlers bartered such items as beads, cloth, penny knives, shears, bells, glass toys, whistles, hatchets, pots and pans, brass casting counters, and similar objects in exchange for Indian corn (and other vegetables), fish, game, fruits and berries, and furs.
Standard Weight in Brass of the Fish-market at Mans: Sign of the Syren (End of the Sixteenth Century).