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Token - 1 Penny, M. Somerville, Wholesale Family Grocer, Auckland, New Zealand, 1857 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 4337

Copper One Penny Token, minted by an unknown British Mint. Issued by M. Somerville, Wholesale Family Grocer, Auckland, New Zealand, 1857. Little is known about Mark Sommerville, although it is certain that his business endured for many years. The corner block where the store was located was 'the datum point for most information given to strangers as to suburban distances; ?so many miles from Somerville's corner? was the common form of direction.' (Robinson, 1974, p.142). After many years the store moved to another site in Auckland, and soon after Sommerville sold it to a Mr Walter Graham. Somerville died in 1902.

Previous Collections: Hon William M.K. Vale
A round copper token (34 mm diameter). The token features the name, address and business of the issuer: M. Somerville, City Mart, Auckland, whilseale family grocer. The reverse features a bouquet of rose, thistle and shamrock with the legend NEW ZEALAND 1857.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 34 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 16.085 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: grocers, wholesale trade, baseball
Themes this item is part of: Mark Somerville, Wholesale Grocer, Auckland, New Zealand (circa 1830-1902), Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection, William Mountford Kinsey Vale, Politican (1833-1895)
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: New Zealand
Tertiary Classification: working strikes
Series: Trade Tokens
DateEra: 1857 AD
Denomination: 1 Penny
Obverse Description: Legend in five lines: M. SOMERVILLE / WHOLESALE / FAMILY GROCER / CITY MART / AUCKLAND
Reverse Description: At centre a bouquet of rose, thistle and shamrock with the legend NEW ZEALAND 1857.
Edge Description: Plain
Reverse: NEW ZEALAND 1857
Shape: round
Material: Copper
Issued By: M Somerville - Wholesale Family Grocer, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand, 1857
Previous Collection: Honourable William Vale
References: The Somerville issue required two obverse and three reverse dies for its production. The identification of the dies employed in the production of a particular token are the basis of the standard references and the museum storage system. The dies can be identified as follows:

A 19.5 mm
B 18.3 mm

Reverse top leaf points wreath base points top point of thistle
1 to back of E between 85 left side of W
2 between ZE over 5 left side of W
3 between ZE over 57 right side of W

The following die combinations have been recorded: A/1, B/1, B/2 (this token), B/3
  1. [Book], Dr Arthur Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins, Trustees of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Sydney, 1921, No. 499
  2. [Book], Dion Skinner - Renniks & Co Pty Ltd, Gilbert Heyde, Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand, 1967, No. 277/1
  3. [Book], William Lampard, Catalogue of New Zealand Coins Tokens Bank Notes, Royal Numismatic Society of New Zealand Incorporated, Wellington, 1981, No. 342b
  4. [Book], Vaughn Humberstone, Merchants Making Money, 2010


Gary Somerville Posted on 12 Nov 2013 1:52 PM
Both Mark Somerville and his brother Archibald were Grocers in Auckland, New Zealand. Immigration records appear to show that Mark arrived in Australia 1844, Ship United Kingdom, with brother James and sister Martha. Archibald came later, it is indicated in his obituary 1849. Origins shown on immigration records are Kildallen/Killeshandra, Co. Cavan, Ireland.
Gary Somerville Posted on 12 Nov 2013 2:04 PM
DEATH OF MR. MARK SOMERVILLE. New Zealand Herald 19 July 1902
It is with regret that we announce the death of Mr. Mark Somerville, one of the oldest residents of Auckland, which took place at his 'residence, Birkenhead, yesterday morning. For some time Mr. Somerville, who had attained the advanced age of 76- years, had been suffering from weakness of the heart, but he had only been confined to the house for a few days. Deceased, who was born, in County Cavan, Ireland, came to Auckland about the end of the forties, and was for years one of the leading commercial men of the infant city. ;He established a grocery business at the corner of Shortland-street, on the site now occupied by the offices of the South British Insurance Company, his premises there being quite a landmark, known to the whole of Auckland. Subsequently he extended his business, and at the time of the Maori wars he took large contracts for army supplies. After the war he was 'again in the grocery business in Queen' street, but he retired over 20 years ago. He' was widely known, especially to the older race of Aucklanders, and during his long residence in the city had gained the esteem of a large circle of friends. Mr. Somerville leaves a family of two sons and two daughters .to mourn their loss. The sons are Dr. Somerville, who is, at present on his way out from England to Auckland, and Mr. Walter Somerville, of the Timaru branch of the Bank of New Zealand, and the daughters, Miss Somerville and Mrs. G. A. Buttle, of Auckland.

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