Copper one Penny Token, minted by W.J.Taylor, London. Issued by G. & W.H. Rocke, Furniture Importers, in Melbourne, Victoria Token, circa 1859. Brothers George and William Henry (W.H.) Rocke arrived in Victoria in 1852 from Wrexham in northern Wales. It appears that after a visit to England in 1857 they began a business in Lonsdale-street as importers of English Furniture, and Furnishing Warehousemen, with a large assortment of Bedsteads and Mattresses always on hand. George returned to England in 1862 and W. H began a partnership with Mr. Beauchamp in Colllins Street in 1863. W. H. continued to run this business until his death in 1883.
Previous Collections: George McArthur
A round copper token (34 mm diameter) giving the name address and business of the issuer: G. & W.H. Rocke, 18 Lonsdale St. East, Melbourne, English furniture importers. The token features at centre of the obverse a male lion standing to left with head crowned facing front, its right paw is raised and rests on a shield bearing the Union Jack, its tail curved back over its body. On the reverse a female figure representing Justice seated on a wool bale with legs to left but her head and upper body to front. A wine barrel lies on the ground behind her, its end decorated with a cross to hint at a Union Jack (as found beside Britannia on the copper coins of the period). A three-masted sailing ship sails to the right on the horizon to the left. Justice wears a blindfold and extends a balanced set of scales with her right hand. With her left she holds an inverted cornucopia from which fruits flow onto the ground. She wears an ancient-style of flowing dress bound at the waist, her left arm bare and right draped to near the elbow. It bears the date 1859.
At centre a male lion standing to left with head crowned facing, its right paw is raised and rests on a shield bearing the Union Jack, its tail curved back over its body; around in two concentric circles; G.&.W.H.ROCKE. .ENGLISH FURNITURE IMPORTERS / 18 LONSDALE STREET EAST . MELBOURNE . The centre of the token has a small punch mark.
Female figure representing Justice seated on a wool bale with legs to left but her head and upper body to front. A wine barrel lies on the ground behind her and a three-masted sailing ship sails to the right on the horizon to the left. She wears a blindfold and extends a balanced set of scales with her right hand. With her left she holds an inverted cornucopia from which fruits flow onto the ground. She wears an ancient-style of flowing dress bound at the waist, her left arm bare and right draped to near the elbow; around above, MELBOURNE VICTORIA in exergue, 1859. A heavy scratch has removed most of the right scale pan.
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), George McArthur, 15/3/1976
Obverse: G.&.W.H.ROCKE ENGLISH FURNITURE IMPORTERS 18 LONSDALE STREET EAST MELBOURNE Reverse: MELBOURNE VICTORIA 1859
Type of item
14.783 g (Weight)
The issue of trade tokens was ordered in London from the firm of W.J. Taylor and followed a format which was quite common in Melbourne - a lion surrounded by the details of the issuer in two concentric circles combined with a seated Justice reverse. There is some confusion as to the mint which produced this form as Heaton & Son show it as one of their products. The production of the Rocke tokens involved two obverse dies (called A & B) and three reverse dies (called 1,2 and 3). Obverse A has stops after G.&. while obverse B does not. (Note: Sharples JNAA.7 p.57 has mixed the secondary characteristics - the 8 over 9 and die flaw on C of ROCKE are on die B not die A) The reverse dies were very similar and are best identified by measurement of the distance between the horizon and the lowest point of the letter M of MELBOURNE. There is a variation between where a line across the tops of the pans would cross the letters ME of MELBOURNE. Reverse M to sea line across top of pans crosses 1 6.0 mm Between ME 2 5.2 mm Base of E 3 4.3 mm Middle of E Reverse 1 cracked along the tops of the letters RNE and reverse 2 cracked from the rim between the letters LB to near the top of the scale arm. These die cracks are only found with obverse B so this provides the order of production.
[Thesis] Lugton, Mary E. 1989. George McArthur of Maldon: his Life and his Book Collection.
[Catalogue] Morrison, Ian. 2003. The Baker of Maldon.
[Book] Andrews, Arthur. 1921. Australasian Tokens and Coins., No. 467
[Book] Heyde, Gilbert C. & Skinner, Dion H. 1967. Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand., No. 221/1
[Article] Sharples, John P. 1993. A Catalogue of the Trade Tokens of Victoria 1848 to 1862. Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. vol.7: p.1-77., V. 131