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.
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. This token has a die crack on the reverse from the rim to the scales.
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 .
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. Die crack from rim to top of the scales.
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Mr Curtis, 15/3/1976
Obverse: G & W.H. ROCKE ENGLISH FURNITURE IMPORTERS 18 LONSDALE STREET EAST MELBOURNE Reverse: MELBOURNE VICTORIA 1859
Type of item
14.857 g (Weight)
Biography: -Gardner, F.. "Trade tokens and the firms who issued them." The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 30 March 1912: p. 10; -Immigration records: Public Records Office of Victoria. Internet index of Unassisted Immigrants to Victoria, 1852 - 1923; -Humfrey, H.M.. Victorian men of the time 1878. biographical entry on W.H. Rocke: pp.177 - 178; -Sharples, J.. "Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens." Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7. December 1993: pp.53 - 54; -Advertisement. Sands and Kenny Commercial and General Melbourne Directory for 1860. Advertisements section: p.47; -Hope, John. Rocke, G. & W.H.. Unpublished MSS. 3 pps. 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
[Book] Andrews, Arthur. 1921. Australasian Tokens and Coins., No. 465
[Book] Heyde, Gilbert C. & Skinner, Dion H. 1967. Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand., No. 221/3
[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. 133