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Australian cuprous halfpenny trading token

Australian cuprous halfpenny trading token

Object type
Halfpenny tokens

Object number

Australian cuprous halfpenny trading token. The Obverse is embossed "JOHN PETTIGREW / & Co. / IPSWICH" in three lines in the centre, and "WHOLESALE AND RETAIL GENERAL MERCHANTS" around the edge within the beaded rim. The Reverse features the Australian coat-of-arms with "QUEENSLAND" above it and "1865" below. The rim is slightly damaged.

Collection name
Trading Token collection

Collection statement of significance
The Trading Token collection is comprised of the following:

" Davey, Jas. & Co., sale penny (trading token), 1862 from Gippsland Store

" Pettigrew, John & Co., Ipswich halfpenny (trading token) 1865

Australian Traders Tokens were issued in the colony from late 1840s until around 1881. Due to a small change crisis in the Colony of New South Wales around 124 firms produced their own specific tokens instead of small change. The first tokens were produced in copper and were the same size as a penny coin. Each company stamped their name and business on one side and the figure of Britannia on the other. Although this caused outrage when they were given out as change instead of pennies, they were not considered forgeries and similar activities were happening in Britain from 1811. Other firms sent off orders to England for their own tokens and by 1851 a number of firms in Sydney and Melbourne were issuing tokens. As these tokens were issued in both Britain and Australian colonies, people travelling from England could arrive in Melbourne and use the coins that their were carrying. By 1862 tokens were being issued in such large numbers the government decided to act, although many of the early companies who had originally issued tokens had gone. The Victorian Government ordered the circulation of tokens to be stopped and when a flood of Victorian tokens entered New South Wales adding to the number circulating there, they were withdrawn and due to the good quality of copper, Britain government purchased them at full face value. They were sent back to London to be melted, alloyed into bronze and struck into new pennies, halfpennies and farthings. It appears that around 330,000 tokens were withdrawn from New South Wales. Tokens, many from Melbourne were still being used in New Zealand until 1881.

Date made

Associated organisation
John Pettigrew & Co, Wholesale and Retail General Merchants

Place of use
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

Date of use

Cuprous metal - non specific

Depth: 1.5mm
Diameter: 26mm

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