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Pattern Token - 4 Pence, Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1854 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 3048

Copper Four Pence Pattern token, minted by W.J. Taylor of London. It was supposedly issued from the Kangaroo Office, in Melbourne, Victoria. Reginald Scaife of the Kangaroo Office, Melbourne informed Taylor that he might be able to get orders for 2d, 3d and 4d tokens from Sydney in 1854. This fourpence design appears to be made by Taylor in response to this suggestion.

W. J. Taylor and his business partners established the Kangaroo Office to take advantage of the explosive economic growth in Australia following the discovery of gold in 1851. They hoped to buy gold at greatly reduced prices from the gold fields and then release it at full value in the form of quarter-ounce, half-ounce, one ounce and two ounce gold coins. However due to the time required to travel between London and Melbourne, once the Kangaroo Office was ready for business in 1854, an increase in the number of British sovereigns, had seen the price of gold rise, and the potential profits for the Kangaroo Office sharply decline. Not deterred, in late 1954 Taylor prepare dies for a series of pattern copper tokens that it was hoped could be produced in Melbourne by the Kangaroo Office for circulation within Australia. It appears that this did not succeed, and in 1855 Taylor began to create shilling and sixpence patterns in silver. However the Kangaroo Office again failed to obtain authority to strike and circulate these silver tokens and in 1857 the Kangaroo Office closed.
A copper token (34 mm diameter) featuring the denomination and on the reverse, Australia seated on rock facing to left holding an olive branch extended in her right hand and resting a staff on her left forearm; above, AUSTRALIA.. An early paddle steamer sails on the horizon on the left. The makers name and address is in the ground above the exergue line. This token has an attempted pearcing near the rim of the reverse and some discolouration on the broad rim of the obverse.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 34 mm (Diameter)
Weight: 16.993 g (Weight)

More information

Tagged with: pattern tokens
Themes this item is part of: Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection, Kangaroo Office Mint, Melbourne, Victoria, 1854-1857, Kangaroo Office Mint, Melbourne, Victoria, 1854-1857, Reginald Scaife, Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, United Kingdom, Alfred Chitty Collection
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: Australia - Victoria
Tertiary Classification: pattern strikes
Series: Trade Tokens
DateEra: circa 1854 AD
Denomination: 4 Pence
Obverse Description: On a background formed by waves a large numeral 4; around incuse on a broad rim, FOUR PENCE
Reverse Description: Australia seated on rock facing to left holding an olive branch extended in her right hand and resting a staff on her left forearm; above, AUSTRALIA. On the ground line above the exergue, W.J. TAYLOR LONDON
Edge Description: Plain
Inscriptions: Obverse: 4 FOUR PENCE
Shape: round
Material: Copper
Issued By: Kangaroo Office (Mint), Victoria, Australia
Mint: W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, England, Great Britain, 1853-1856
Commissioned By (Probable): Reginald Scaife - Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1854
Previous Collection: Mr Alfred Chitty
  1. [Book], Dr Arthur Andrews, Australasian Tokens and Coins, Trustees of the Mitchell Library, Sydney, Sydney, 1921, No. 781
  2. [Book], Dion Skinner - Renniks & Co Pty Ltd, Gilbert Heyde, Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand, 1967, Related to No. 7
  3. [Article] Sharples, John P. 2001. Gold & Entrepreneurial Culture: The Kangaroo Office and its Private Mint for Victoria, in Cardell, Kerry & Cumming, Cliff. 2001. A World Turned Upside Down, Cultural Change on the Australian Goldfields 1851 - 2001. 171 - 187., p.182 Pages

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