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Medal - Melbourne Exhibition Commemorative, Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 34994

Summary:
Tin Medal, minted by the Kangaroo Office, Melbourne in 1854. The medal was struck with tin from the Ovens River at the 1854 Melbourne Exhibition by Reginald Scaife of the Kangaroo Office. The medal features a view of the 1854 Exhibition Building which had been constructed on the site which would become the Mellbourne Mint in 1872.

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.

The Exhibition opened on 17 December 1854 and ran for 30 days. Around 40,000 people attended - half of Melbourne's population. Melbourne erected its own first exhibition building for the occasion, at the site of the later Royal Mint in William Street. The design was based on that of the Crystal Palace in London, which had hosted the Great Exhibition only three years earlier, in 1851. Melbourne's exhibition building had 200 ornamental windows and was lit by 306 gaslights. The exhibition included a modest 428 exhibits, mainly local industrial and agricultural products. Some of these exhibits went to Paris for the 1855 Exhibition.
Description:
A tin medal (38 mm diameter) featuring a view of the front and side of the building with two flags flying, around above, MELBOURNE EXHIBITION; in exergue, 1854 / STRUCK IN THE BUILDING; the artist's name, W, BARKLEY is in small letters at the top left of the exergue. The reverse has the motto, THE HARVEST OF / THY YESTERDAY, / THE SEED CORN OF / THY MORROW; within a froral wreath and below a bunch of corn-ears held together by a ribbon.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Melbourne Branch of Royal Mint, 1978
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 38 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 16.62 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: exhibitions, exhibitions melbourne 1854, australian native flowers
Themes this item is part of: Kangaroo Office Mint, Melbourne, Victoria, 1854-1857, Public Life & Institutions Collection, Reginald Scaife, Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Commemorative
Tertiary Classification: melbourne exhibition 1854
Series: Australian Exhibition Commemorative Medals
DateEra: 1854 AD
Obverse Description: At centre, a view of the front and side of the building with two flags flying, around above, MELBOURNE EXHIBITION; in exergue, 1854 / STRUCK IN THE BUILDING; the artist's name, W, BARCLAY is in small letters at the top left of the exergue. The reverse has
Reverse Description: At centre within a froral wreath and below a bunch of corn-ears held together by a ribbon the motto, THE HARVEST OF / THY YESTERDAY, / THE SEED CORN OF / THY MORROW;
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: edge: Plaiin
obverse: MELBOURNE EXHIBITION above building; 1854 / STRUCK IN THE BUILDING in exergue, ; the artist's name, W, BARKLEY is in small letters at the top left of the exergue
reverse:THE HARVEST OF / THY YESTERDAY, / THE SEED CORN OF / THY MORROW; within a froral wreath
Material: Tin
Issued By: Kangaroo Office (Mint), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854
Mint: Kangaroo Office (Mint), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854
Artist: Mr. William Barclay - Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854
Company Manager/Director: Reginald Scaife - Kangaroo Office

Manager of the Kangaroo Office, he set his coining press up in the Exhibition and manufactured these medals.
References: Car. 1854/3
Bibliography:
  1. [Book], Greg McDonald, Collecting and Investing in Australian Coins and Bank Notes, Umina Beach, NSW, 1991
  2. [Article] Sharples, John. 1988. 'The Kangaroo Office': A Nineteenth Century 'Sting'. Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. 4: 29-37.
  3. [Book], Official Catalogue of the Melbourne Exhibition, 1854, in Connection with the Paris Exhibition, 1855, Melbourne, 1855

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