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Crothers & Co., Shop Keepers, Stawell, Victoria

Crothers & Co. Token Penny

Image: Crothers & Co. Token Penny

Source: Museum Victoria

The three Crothers brothers, William, David and Hugh, arrived from Canada in August 1854 in the schooner Vivid, that they had bought for their passage across the Pacific (Gardner). Their home town was St. John in New Brunswick. The Public Record Office immigration records do not reflect Gardner's assertion about the date of their arrival or the name of their vessel.

The brothers sold their ship and travelled the country (most likely trying their luck at the various gold fields) for ten years before deciding to open a store at Stawell. They opened their store in Main Street, Stawell in 1865.

After a number of years David left the partnership and opened his own store at 303 and 305 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. The other brothers continued their business until they retired in 1900. In 1910 William was living in Armadale, Hugh was in Stawell and David was still running his own business, by that time located in Oakleigh, then a village separate to Melbourne.

They issued their tokens after they became illegal, the first penny and the halfpenny being issued in 1865, with the other two tokens issued in later years (Gardner). All the tokens followed the same pattern, bearing text describing the store, without any symbols. As a result, some experts consider these items to be checks rather than trade tokens.

References:
Gardner, F. (1910). 'Trade Tokens and the Firms who Issued Them', The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal, 30 September, p.9.
Index to Unassisted Immigration, VPRS 7666, internet resource
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens', Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol.7, December, pp.75-76.
Hope, John (2005). 'Crothers & Co.', unpublished MSS, 2005, 2pp.

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