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Medal - Causes of Variation in Mankind, Cole's Book Arcade, Victoria, Australia, circa 1885 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 20047

Summary:
Aternative Name: Token

Medal, Cole's Book Arcade Federation of the World, Causes of Variation in Mankind, circa 1885. Minted in the USA, this aluminium medal was one of a series of medals offering maxims and proverbs chosen 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).
Description:
An aluminium medal (39 mm diameter) offering a thought provoking maxim related to world federation.
Acquisition Information:
Bequest from L. Walters - Museum Victoria
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 38 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 5.27 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: advertising, booksellers, racism, retailing, world federation
Themes this item is part of: Edward William Cole, Bookseller (1832-1918), Cole's Book Arcade Collection, Numismatics & Philately Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Commemorative
Tertiary Classification: commerce & retailing
Series: Cole's Book Arcade Medals
DateEra: circa 1885 AD
Obverse Description: Above a tree fern, CAUSES OF VARIATION IN MANKIND at left side, MAN / IS BUILT UP / BY TWO CAUSES / HEREDITY FROM / HIS PARENTS / AND THE / SUM TOTAL / OF HIS on right side, ENVIRONMENTS / SUCH AS / FOOD / CLOTHES / SHELTER / CLIMATE / LOCALITY / EDUCATION / OCCUPATION / ETC above ground line, MADE IN U.S.A.
Reverse Description: Within a wreath springing from a rainbow, HIS SKIN-COLOR / IS CAUSED BY THE / SUN. HE DEGENERATES IN THE ENERVATING / TROPICS. HE EVOLVES / PHYSICALLY STRONGER / IN THE BRACING / TEMPERATE REGIONS below rainbow, FEDERATION OF THE / WORLD MEDALS / ISSUED / BY E.W. COLE / BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Obverse: CAUSES OF VARIATION IN MANKIND MAN / IS BUILT UP / BY TWO CAUSES / HEREDITY FROM / HIS PARENTS / AND THE / SUM TOTAL / OF HIS ENVIRONMENTS / SUCH AS / FOOD / CLOTHES / SHELTER / CLIMATE / LOCALITY / EDUCATION / OCCUPATION / ETC MADE IN U.S.A.
Reverse: HIS SKIN-COLOR / IS CAUSED BY THE / SUN. HE DEGENERATES IN THE ENERVATING / TROPICS. HE EVOLVES / PHYSICALLY STRONGER / IN THE BRACING / TEMPERATE REGIONS FEDERATION OF THE / WORLD MEDALS / ISSUED / BY E.W. COLE / BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE
Shape: Round
Material: Aluminium
Issued By: Cole's Book Arcade, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1885
Mint: United States of America

Made in the United States of America.
References: Chitty 76 = Dean 89
Bibliography:
  1. [Book], George Dean, A Handbook on E.W. Cole, His Book Arcade, Tokens & Medals, Tarragindi, 1988
  2. [Book], Cole Turnley, Cole of the Book Arcade: a Biography of E.W. Cole, Cole Publications, Hawthorn, 1974
  3. [Article] 1973. A Tribute to E.W. Cole. Australian Numismatist. 27 (10): 5-10.

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