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Token - 1 Penny, Bell & Gardner, Ironmongers, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, circa 1865 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 3568

Copper One Penny Token, minted by J. C. Thornthwaite, Surry Hills, New South Wales. Issued by Bell & Gardner, Ironmongers, Rockhampton, circa 1865. The earliest surviving Rockhampton newspapers date from 1865, and Bell and Gardner advertised in some of the earliest surviving editions. A small advertisement on page 3 of the Rockhampton Bulletin for 13 January 1865 locates their trade as 'Wholesale and Retail Ironmongers'. Bell and Gardner also took out a half page advertisement in Pugh's Queensland Almanac for 1866, in which they described their wares: 'Importers of Iron, Steel, Lead, Oils, Paints, Tools of every description, General and Furnishing Ironmongery, Lamps, Rope, & Also- China, Glass, & Earthernware.' The Rockhampton Bulletin for 7 December 1875 reported that their partnership was dissolved and the business continued as Arthur Bell & Co, but soon went bankrupt.

Robert Gardner was born in Greenock, Scotland circa 1842 and appears as an ironmonger in Glasgow, Scotland in the 1861 census. He continued with an ironmonger store in Maryborough, Queensland, but by 1877 was operating a store in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thornthwaite was the first person to manufacture tokens and medals in Australia. Migrating to Sydney in 1949, his tokens are noteworthy for the lack of clarity of detail in design because the dies were not cut deep enough and he lacked the tools to produce high quality tokens. Thornthwaite also worked as a medallist, particularly after tokens were made illegal in NSW in 1868. Thornthwaite's most accomplished tokens were produced in silver. In 1854 he made a small number of three-penny silver tokens for James Campbell of Morpeth, New South Wales, which were 'larger and thicker than normal currency issued' and consequently 'represented about 33% more in metal content and thus value.'

Previous Collections: National Gallery of Victoria
A round bronze token (34 mm diameter). The token features the name address and business of the issuer: Bell & Gardner, Rockhampton, Ironmongers. The reverse features a wreath of wildflowers tied together at the base, the top divided by a Rising Sun. Within the wreath the denomination, PENNY TOKEN, is written. This token is cleaned and varnished.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 34 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 16.882 g (Weight)

More information

Themes this item is part of: Bell & Gardner, Ironmongers, Rockhampton, Queensland, John Craven Thornthwaite, Token Maker & Medalist, Sydney, New South Wales (1820-?), Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: Australia - Queensland
Tertiary Classification: working strikes
Series: Trade Tokens
DateEra: circa 1855 AD
Denomination: 1 Penny
Obverse Description: At centre, BELL / & / GARDNER; around * IRONMONGERS * ROCKHAMPTON
Reverse Description: Within a wreath of wildflowers tied together at the base, the top divided by a Rising Sun, PENNY TOKEN
Edge Description: Plain
Shape: Round
Material: Copper
Issued By: Bell & Gardner, Ironmongers, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, circa 1865
Mint: John Thornthwaite, 1850-1865
Previous Collection: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Numismatics Collection, pre 1976
  1. [Book], Dr Arthur Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins, Trustees of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Sydney, 1921, No. 43
  2. [Book], Dion Skinner - Renniks & Co Pty Ltd, Gilbert Heyde, Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand, 1967, No. 25


David Peel Posted on 28 Dec 2009 5:56 PM
I have been trying to purchase a 1 penny Bell & Gardner token ref No NU3568 for some years...Any advice??/I am also interested in other tokens with a special interest in Queensland issued tokens,
Cheers, David
Discovery Centre Posted on 29 Dec 2009 11:13 AM
Museum Victoria Comment
Hi David. It would be best to contact a reputable numismatics company to search for a token for you. A good first point of contact would be The Numismatic Association of Australia http://naa-online.com/
David Gardner Crouch Posted on 16 Jan 2011 7:37 AM
I believe that this store opened early 1865. Robert Gardner was born in Greenock, Scotland circa 1842 and appears in the 1861 census as an ironmonger in Glasgow, Scotland.
The first advertisement for this store appears to be dated 07 January 1865 from The (Rockhampton) Bulletin.
In an article from the Rockhampton Bulletin dated 07 December 1875, the partnership was disolved and the business carried on as Arthur Bell & Co but soon thereafter went bankrupt.
Robert Gardner continued with an ironmonger store in Maryborough, Queensland called Powell & Gardner (formerly Powell, Gardner & Bell) but by 1877, Robert has moved to Wellington, New Zealand and opens an ironmonger store in Lambton Quay.

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