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Medal - Federation of the World, Wednesday the Workers Own, Cole's Book Arcade, Victoria, Australia, circa 1885 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 20025

Summary:
Aternative Name: Token
Issued: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Medal, Cole's Book Arcade, Federation of the World, Wednesday the Workers Own, circa 1885. This gilt medal is one of a series of medals offering maxims and proverbs issued 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 gilt bronze medal (31 mm diameter) featuring a tree fern and a thought provoking maxim.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 31 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 12.91 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: advertising, booksellers, labour movement, retailing, world federation
Themes this item is part of: Edward William Cole, Bookseller (1832-1918), Cole's Book Arcade Collection, George McArthur, Collector & Baker (1842-1903), Numismatics & Philately Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Commemorative
Tertiary Classification: commerce & retailing
Series: Cole's Book Arcade Medals
DateEra: circa 1885 AD
Obverse Description: Tree fern in centre; around across top, WEDNESDAY THE WORKERS OWN to left of fern, ECONOMISE YOUR TIME BY WORKING 48 HOURS IN 5 DAYS AND to right, SO GAIN WITHOUT LOSS THE GREAT BOON OF A WHOLE RECREATION DAY around below, SOMETHING FOR NOTHING
Reverse Description: Above rainbow, RATIONAL ECONOMY WORK WHILE YOU WORK PLAY WHILE YOU PLAY AND FAIRLY EARN AND FAIRLY TAKE A RECREATION DAY; below rainbow in tiny letters; FEDERATION OF THE / WORLD MEDALS / ISSUED / BY E.W. COLE / BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Obverse: WEDNESDAY THE WORKERS OWN ECONOMISE YOUR TIME BY WORKING 48 HOURS IN 5 DAYS AND SO GAIN WITHOUT LOSS THE GREAT BOON OF A WHOLE RECREATION DAY SOMETHING FOR NOTHING
Reverse: RATIONAL ECONOMY WORK WHILE YOU WORK PLAY WHILE YOU PLAY AND FAIRLY EARN AND FAIRLY TAKE A RECREATION DAY FEDERATION OF THE WORLD MEDALS ISSUED BY E.W. COLE BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE
Shape: Round
Material: Gilt
Issued By: Cole's Book Arcade, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1885
References: Chitty 47; Dean 62
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.
  4. [Catalogue] Morrison, Ian. 2003. The Baker of Maldon.
  5. [Thesis] Lugton, Mary E. 1989. George McArthur of Maldon: his Life and his Book Collection.

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