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Token - 1 Penny, George Petty, Smithfield & Co, Butchers, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1855 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 11527

Copper one Penny Token, minted by W.J.Taylor of London, circa 1855. Issued by George Petty of Smithfield & Co, Butchers, Melbourne. Petty is said to have arrived as a boy in Melbourne, coming as a sailor on a ship that brought settlers to Port Phillip. The first trace of him in Melbourne is working in a butcher's shop on Elizabeth Street in 1853. By 1854 he was listed as the owner of a butchery in Elizabeth Street, possibly the one he had been working at. He ran butcher shop at various city locations over the next fifteen years and was known as one of the best butchers in Melbourne. He died on 19 November 1877, leaving a widow, two sons and three daughters.
A round copper token (34 mm diameter) featuring the name, company name and address of the issues: Geo. Petty, Smithfield & Co., 157 Elizabeth Street Melbourne. The reverse features a female figure representing Justice standing facing left. She wears a blindfold and extends a balanced set of scales with her right hand. With her left she holds a short staff. She wears an ancient-style of flowing dress bound at the waist; around above, VICTORIA. This token is damaged, it has a piece cut from the edge, it is cleaned with the reverse re-toned green.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from Melbourne Branch of Royal Mint, 1978
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 34 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 17.279 g (Weight)
Dimension Comment: piece from edge of token missing

More information

Tagged with: butchers, law justice, retail trade, retailing
Themes this item is part of: George Petty, Butcher, Melbourne, Victoria (?-1877), Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection, Royal Mint, Melbourne Branch, Melbourne, Victoria, W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, United Kingdom, Branch Mints of the Royal Mint, Deputy Masters of the Melbourne Branch of the Royal Mint, Closure of Melbourne Mint, Melbourne Mint during World War II, Establishment of Melbourne Mint, 1872, Melbourne Mint
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: Australia - Victoria
Tertiary Classification: working strikes
Series: Trade Tokens
DateEra: circa 1855 AD
Denomination: 1 Penny
Obverse Description: Legend in 5 lines: SMITHFIELD & Co. / GEO. PETTY / 157 / ELIZABETH ST / MELBOURNE
Reverse Description: Justice blindfolded standing facing, holds balanced scales in right hand and rests short staff or wand on ground in left; above, VICTORIA; in tiny letters worn off ground to left and right of the figure, W.J.TAYLOR LONDON - only the tops of some letters can be seen.
Edge Description: Plain
Reverse: VICTORIA W.J.TAYLOR LONDON (note: the makers name is mostly worn off on this example)
Shape: Round
Material: Copper
Issued By: George Petty, Smithfield & Co, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1855
Mint: W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, England, Great Britain, circa 1855
Previous Collection: Royal Mint, Melbourne Branch
References: Note: Sharples has die images reversed and follows this error in concordance JNAA.7 p.55

George Petty was a butcher who operated from a number of shops in Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. On the tokens his company is called Smithfield & Co. a name only in use in 1855-56. The token manufacturer was W.J. Taylor in London, named on the reverse. The issue of the tokens was probably from late 1855. See Sharples JNAA.7, p.54-5 (note the images of the reverse dies are reversed).

There were two reverse die employed on the issue. The differences between the dies are in the relationship of the word VICTORIA to the position of the figure of Justice. On reverse 1 the end of the scale pan bar is 1 mm from the V and if extended would touch the base of the V, the head of Justice is almost fully below the O and the central support string of the scale pans is to the front of the pan. On reverse 2 the end of the scale pan bar is 0.6 mm from the V and if extended would pass just below the base of the V, the head of Justice is just to the left of the O and the central support string of the scale pans is to the back of the pan.

The Petty dies were employed for late strikes by Taylor, perhaps from as early as 1870, but certailny by 1880. The late strikes are on lighter copper blanks, about 15 g while the original tokens are between 16.5 and 18 g.
John Sharples November 2004.
  1. [Book], Dr Arthur Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins, Trustees of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Sydney, 1921, No. 440
  2. [Book], Dion Skinner - Renniks & Co Pty Ltd, Gilbert Heyde, Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand, 1967, No. 410/1
  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. 123

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