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Token - 1 Penny, G.& W.H. Rocke, Furniture Importers, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1859 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 4285

Summary:
Copper one Penny Token, minted by W.J.Taylor, London. Issued by G. & W.H. Rocke, Furniture Importers, in Melbourne, Victoria Token, circa 1859. Brothers George and William Henry (W.H.) Rocke arrived in Victoria in 1852 from Wrexham in northern Wales. It appears that after a visit to England in 1857 they began a buissness in Lonsdale-street as importers of English Furniture, and Furnishing Warehousemen, with a large assortment of Bedsteads and Mattresses always on hand. George returned to England in 1862 and W. H began a partnership with Mr. Beauchamp in Colllins Street in 1863. W. H. continued to run this bussiness until his death in 1883.
Description:
A round copper token (34 mm diameter) giving the name address and business of the issuer: G. & W.H. Rocke, 18 Lonsdale St. East, Melbourne, English furniture importers. The token features at centre of the obverse a male lion standing to left with head crowned facing front, its right paw is raised and rests on a shield bearing the Union Jack, its tail curved back over its body. On the reverse a female figure representing Justice seated on a wool bale with legs to left but her head and upper body to front. A wine barrel lies on the ground behind her, its end decorated with a cross to hint at a Union Jack (as found beside Britannia on the copper coins of the period). A three-masted sailing ship sails to the right on the horizon to the left. Justice wears a blindfold and extends a balanced set of scales with her right hand. With her left she holds an inverted cornucopia from which fruits flow onto the ground. She wears an ancient-style of flowing dress bound at the waist, her left arm bare and right draped to near the elbow. It bears the date 1859. This token has been cleaned and varnished.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 34 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 14.950 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: furniture, import trade, retail trade, retailing
Themes this item is part of: G.& W.H. Rocke, Furniture Importers, Melbourne, Victoria, Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection, W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, United Kingdom, Alfred Chitty Collection
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: Australia - Victoria
Tertiary Classification: working strikes
Series: Trade Tokens
DateEra: 1859 AD
Denomination: 1 Penny
Obverse Description: At centre a male lion standing to left with head crowned facing, its right paw is raised and rests on a shield bearing the Union Jack, its tail curved back over its body; around in two concentric circles; G & W.H.ROCKE. .ENGLISH FURNITURE IMPORTERS / 18 LONSDALE STREET EAST . MELBOURNE .
Reverse Description: Female figure representing Justice seated on a wool bale with legs to left but her head and upper body to front. A wine barrel lies on the ground behind her and a three-masted sailing ship sails to the right on the horizon to the left. She wears a blindfold and extends a balanced set of scales with her right hand. With her left she holds an inverted cornucopia from which fruits flow onto the ground. She wears an ancient-style of flowing dress bound at the waist, her left arm bare and right draped to near the elbow; around above, MELBOURNE VICTORIA in exergue, 1859. Cleaned and varnished.
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Obverse: G & W.H. ROCKE ENGLISH FURNITURE IMPORTERS 18 LONSDALE STREET EAST MELBOURNE
Reverse: MELBOURNE VICTORIA 1859
Shape: round
Material: Copper
Issued By: G. & W.H. Rocke, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1859
Mint: W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, England, Great Britain, 1859
Previous Collection: Mr Alfred Chitty
References: The issue of trade tokens was ordered in London from the firm of W.J. Taylor and followed a format which was quite common in Melbourne - a lion surrounded by the details of the issuer in two concentric circles combined with a seated Justice reverse. There is some confusion as to the mint which produced this form as Heaton & Son show it as one of their products.

The production of the Rocke tokens involved two obverse dies (called A & B) and three reverse dies (called 1,2 and 3).
Obverse A has stops after G.&. while obverse B does not. (Note: Sharples JNAA.7 p.57 has mixed the secondary characteristics - the 8 over 9 and die flaw on C of ROCKE are on die B not die A)

The reverse dies were very similar and are best identified by measurement of the distance between the horizon and the lowest point of the letter M of MELBOURNE. There is a variation between where a line across the tops of the pans would cross the letters ME of MELBOURNE.

Reverse M to sea line across top of pans crosses
1 6.0 mm Between ME
2 5.2 mm Base of E
3 4.3 mm Middle of E

Reverse 1 cracked along the tops of the letters RNE and reverse 2 cracked from the rim between the letters LB to near the top of the scale arm. These die cracks are only found with obverse B so this provides the order of production.
Bibliography:
  1. [Book], Dr Arthur Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins, Trustees of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Sydney, 1921, No. 464
  2. [Book], Dion Skinner - Renniks & Co Pty Ltd, Gilbert Heyde, Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand, 1967, No. 221/2
  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. 132

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