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Token - Halfpenny, Modified Obverse, Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 47367

Copper Halfpenny Token, minted and issued by the Kangaroo Office of Melbourne, in 1854. The dies used to strike this token were manufactured by W.J. Taylor in London. It is a stock halfpenny and features a kangaroo and a seated figure of Australia, a reference to W.J. Taylor, who manufactured the dies and the 1851 London Exhibition has been removed to make the piece seem rarer.

W. J. Taylor and his business partners established the Kangaroo Office to take advantage of the explosive economic growth in Australia following the discovery of gold in 1851. They hoped to buy gold at greatly reduced prices from the gold fields and then release it at full value in the form of quarter-ounce, half-ounce, one ounce and two ounce gold coins. However due to the time required to travel between London and Melbourne, once the Kangaroo Office was ready for business in 1854, an increase in the number of British sovereigns, had seen the price of gold rise, and the potential profits for the Kangaroo Office sharply decline. Not deterred, in late 1954 Taylor prepare dies for a series of pattern copper tokens that it was hoped could be produced in Melbourne by the Kangaroo Office for circulation within Australia. It appears that this did not succeed, and in 1855 Taylor began to create shilling and sixpence patterns in silver. However the Kangaroo Office again failed to obtain authority to strike and circulate these silver tokens and in 1857 the Kangaroo Office closed.
A copper halfpenny trade token (28 mm diameter). It features the stock Kangaroo Office halfpenny designs of a kangaroo and a seated figure of Australia refersence to W.J. Taylor, who manufactured the dies and the 1851 London Exhibition has been removed to make the piece seem rare to a collector.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Mr Raymond Jewell, 1987
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 28 mm (Diameter)

More information

Tagged with: australian native animals, coin collecting, gold, hobbies
Themes this item is part of: Kangaroo Office Mint, Melbourne, Victoria, 1854-1857, George McArthur, Collector & Baker (1842-1903), Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: Australia - Victoria
Tertiary Classification: working strikes
Series: Trade Tokens
DateEra: 1854 AD
Denomination: Halfpenny
Obverse Description: Kangaroo seated on tail in grassy field facing right, around above, MELBOURNE {in exergue in four lines W.J. TAYLOR MEDALLIST TO THE GREAT EXHIBITION 1851 have been removed}
Reverse Description: Australia seated on rock facing to left holding an olive branch extended in her right hand and resting a staff on her left forearm; above, AUSTRALIA.
Edge Description: Plain
Shape: round
Material: Copper
Issued By: Kangaroo Office (Mint), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Mint: Kangaroo Office (Mint), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854
  1. [Book], Dion Skinner - Renniks & Co Pty Ltd, Gilbert Heyde, Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand, 1967, No. 246
  2. [Book], Dr Arthur Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins, Trustees of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Sydney, 1921, No. 573
  3. [Article] Sharples, John P. 1993. A Catalogue of the Trade Tokens of Victoria 1848 to 1862. Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. vol.7: p.1-77., V. 170

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