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Alfred Nicholas, Wholesaler, Hobart, Tasmania (1828-?)

Alfred Nicholas Token Penny

Image: Alfred Nicholas Token Penny

Source: Museum Victoria

According to Roger McNeice, 'Alfred Nicholas came to Van Diemen's Land in the early stages of the colony and established a retail warehouse. His business prospered until 1855 when he relinquished it in favour of his brother Sydney. He left the colony for a time but returned in 1857. Nicholas was greatly interested in the administration of the colony and was connected with many business ventures in the north of the state. He died at Hamilton, Victoria on 24 April 1899.' (McNiece, p.89)

The earliest listing for an Alfred Nicholas on the Archives Office of Tasmania website is for a man born in 1828, who married Louisa James in Hobart in 1852. This couple had seven children. During 1854 Nicholas was a regular advertiser in the Hobart Mercury, offering goods such as sugar, brandy, ale and tobacco (Mercury, 30 August 1854, p.4), from his premises at the corner of Murray and Liverpool Streets, Hobart. On his tokens Nicholas called his shop the 'Liverpool Tea Warehouse', but this study did not find any evidence that he used the name in his printed advertisements, using his own name instead. This issuer's political activities did indeed show a 'great interest' in the colony's administration. Nicholas was in fact a member of the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly in 1858 and 1859, representing Hobart and Kingsborough. He appears to have returned to business after 1857, as he held a wholesalers licence in 1863 (Walch, 1863).

Nicholas' tokens are undated, but thought to have been issued in the 1850s. He issued a total of three varieties of tokens. His name also appears on a pattern for a token which bears the arms of the city of Liverpool on the reverse.

References:
McNiece, R., Coins and Tokens of Tasmania, pp. 89-90.
Archives Office of Tasmania, Index to Pioneer's Database http://resources.archives.tas.gov.au/Pioneers/taslink3.asp?ID=230182
Hull's Almanac and Royal Kalendar, (1858,1859).
Walch's Tasmanian Almanac and Guide to Tasmania, 1863.
Advertisement, Hobart Mercury, 30 August 1854, p.4.

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