Why are Asian Coins Found in North America? Asian coins have been widely scattered across the landscape of North America, from Alaska to Mexico. They were imported in association with two specific historic episodes: first of trade and second of immigration. The first coins were imported as part of the Pacific Northwest fur trade and were among commodities and materials traded for fur pelts. Coins were brought to the Northwest by traders of several nationalities who stopped in Chinese ports on their way east to trade with native people in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest beginning before 1785. Once traders discovered that the copper and brass Chinese coins were highly prized for their metallic content, they began to pick them up in China in large quantities. They were widely distributed across the area and are often recovered from Native American sites dating to that period.