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This item is on display at Melbourne Museum
Medal - Cole's Book Arcade, Always Do That Which You Believe to Be Right, 1879-1903 Reg. No: LL 67118
- Alternative Name: Token
Copper alloy medal minted in Melbourne in the late 19th century, inscribed 'COLES BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE' and ALWAYS DO THAT WHICH YOU BELIEVE TO BE RIGHT'. This was one of a series of medals offering maxims and proverbs issued by E.W. Cole at his Book Arcade. He called the medals 'little missionaries for the spread of educative knowledge' (Dean, 1988, p.36).
According to Sydney Endacott, an employee of Cole, customers were charged three pence for these medals (which he prefers to call tokens) which, when the Arcade was particularly busy, gave them admission to the second-hand books gallery where the orchestra played. Each medal could be exchanged for thee pence worth of goods, but most were kept. The pierced ones were sometimes worn as pendants or on pocket watch chains. The medals served as perpetual advertisements of the Arcade (Victorian Historical Magazine, February 1962). George Dean suggests that the medals were also given in change at Christmas time, and could be used to operate amusement machines (presumably including the symphonion and hens, although these only required one penny to operate).
Cole had his first medal stuck in 1879 and his last one about 1903. The medals were variously gilded, silvered or bronzed, replicating the coinage then circulating, or plated with nickel or white metal. The medal blanks were usually made of copper or brass, but some might have been bronze; aluminium was also sometimes used. In all, perhaps 300,000 medals were struck, in 97 types. Only 50 types are known to have circulated (George Dean, 1988, A Handbook on E.W. Cole: His Book Arcade, Tokens and Medals).
- Cole's Book Arcade motto ALWAYS DO THAT WHICH YOU BELIEVE TO BE RIGHT
|Discipline:||Archaeology - Historical|
|Dimensions:||31.0 mm (Width), 30 mm (Diameter)|
|Tagged with:||advertising, booksellers, retailing|
|Themes this item is part of:||Edward William Cole, Bookseller (1832-1918), Little Lon, Cole's Book Arcade Collection, Little Lon Collection, Numismatics & Philately Collection|
|On Display at:||Melbourne Museum|
|Primary Classification:||HISTORICAL ARCHAEOLOGY|
|Lot Area Unit:||7/37|
|Inscriptions:||Under rainbow shape and above ferns: 'COLES BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE / ALWAYS / DO THAT / WHICH YOU / BELIEVE TO BE / RIGHT'|
|Manufacturer:||Cole's Book Arcade|
|References:||Chitty 10 = Dean 14 (C10)|