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Token Die - Halfpenny, Stock, Kangaroo Office, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1854 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 35969

Steel Halfpenny die, manufactured for the Kangaroo Office of Melbourne, by W. J. Taylor of London, circa 1853. The die is unfinished die with no legend in the exergue. It is only known to have been used for late strikes in the early Twentieth Century.

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.

Previous Collections: National Gallery of Victoria
A steel die 52 mm high with a base diameter of 54 mm and a working surface diameter of 28 mm. The die features a kangaroo seated on tail in grassy field facing right, around above, MELBOURNE. It has suffered a crack from each side of the letter M up to the beading and rust pitting.
Acquisition Information:
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), 1976
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 53 mm (Height), 54 mm (Diameter)

More information

Tagged with: australian native animals, numismatic dies, numismatic technology
Themes this item is part of: Kangaroo Office Mint, Melbourne, Victoria, 1854-1857, Numismatics & Philately Collection, Working Life & Trades Collection, W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, United Kingdom
Primary Classification: TRADE TOKENS
Secondary Classification: Australia - Victoria
Tertiary Classification: dies
Series: Dies, Trade Tokens
DateEra: circa 1854 AD
Denomination: Halfpenny
Obverse Description: Kangaroo seated on tail in grassy field facing right, around above, MELBOURNE; in exergue no legend
Inscriptions: MELBOURNE
Shape: Cylinder
Material: Steel
Issued By: Victoria, Australia
Mint: Kangaroo Office (Mint), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1853-1857

This was a stock reverse die brought from London in 1853 but does not have the normal reference to W.J. Taylor and the 1951 Exhibition.
Manufacturer: W.J.Taylor, Mint, London, England, Great Britain, 1852-1853
Previous Collection: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Numismatics Collection, pre 1976
References: This is one of six Kangaroo Office reverse halfpenny dies held by the museum. It was manufactured in London in 1852 or early 1853 and sent to Melbourne on the ship Kangaroo (departed London 26 June 1853 arrived Melbourne 26 October 1853). Three of the dies have kangaroo reverses and three a seated figure of Australia. These dies were used as stock reverses for token manufacture for Melbourne firms and also together to make anonymous tokens. This die, without the legend in the exergue is known only from Twentieth centure late strikes.

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