Summary

Aternative Name: Token
Issued: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Medal, Cole's Book Arcade, Federation of the World, Eleventh Commandment, circa 1885. This aluminium medal is is one of a series of medals offering maxims and proverbs issued by E.W. Cole at his Book Arcade. He called the medals 'little missionaries for the spread of educative knowledge' (Dean, 1988, p.36).

According to Sydney Endacott, an employee of Cole, customers were charged three pence for these medals (which he prefers to call tokens) which, when the Arcade was particularly busy, gave them admission to the second-hand books gallery where the orchestra played. Each medal could be exchanged for thee pence worth of goods, but most were kept. The pierced ones were sometimes worn as pendants or on pocket watch chains. The medals served as perpetual advertisements of the Arcade (Victorian Historical Magazine, February 1962). George Dean suggests that the medals were also given in change at Christmas time, and could be used to operate amusement machines (presumably including the symphonion and hens, although these only required one penny to operate).

Cole had his first medal stuck in 1879 and his last one about 1903. The medals were variously gilded, silvered or bronzed, replicating the coinage then circulating, or plated with nickel or white metal. The medal blanks were usually made of copper or brass, but some might have been bronze; aluminium was also sometimes used. In all, perhaps 300,000 medals were struck, in 97 types. Only 50 types are known to have circulated (George Dean, 1988, A Handbook on E.W. Cole: His Book Arcade, Tokens and Medals).

Physical Description

A aluminium medal (31 mm diameter) commemorating offering a thought provoking maxim related to world federation and the words of the Lord's Prayer.

Obverse Description

Above two crossed fern fronds, THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT; below fronds and above rainbow, A / NEW / COMMANDMENT / GIVE I UNTO YOU / THAT YE / LOVE ONE ANOTHER below rainbow, FEDERATION OF THE / WORLD MEDALS / ISSUED BY / E.W. COLES / BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE

Reverse Description

LORDS PRAYER / OUR FATHER / WHICH ART IN HEAVEN / HALLOWED BE THY NAME / THY KINGDOM COME / THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH / AS IT IS IN HEAVEN / GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD / & FORGIVE US OUR TRESSPASSES / AS WE FORGIVE THEM / THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US / LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION / BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL / FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM / THE POWER / & THE GLORY FOR / EVER & EVER / AMEN

Edge Description

Plain

Significance

Cole's Book Arcade opened in the Bourke Street Mall in 1883, after earlier operating from other sites. It was a shop like no other, crammed with new and second-hand books and other wares, but with the atmosphere of a circus. Cole enticed customers of all ages with a menagerie and fernery, a band, a clockwork symphonion and other mechanical delights. Readers could sit in comfortable chairs, encouraged by a sign: 'Read for as Long as You Like - Nobody Asked to Buy'. The Arcade's proprietor, Edward William Cole, was optimist and idealist, believing passionately in the power of education and envisaged a world without borders, expounding his views in pamphlets and books. Cole died in 1918, still dreaming of a better future. Cole's Book Arcade, one of the wonders of 'marvellous Melbourne', closed in 1929.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    McArthur Bequest, Cole's Book Arcade Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions, Numismatics & Philately

  • Acquisition Information

    Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), George McArthur, 15/3/1976

  • Date Issued

    circa 1885 AD

  • Issued By

    Cole's Book Arcade, Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1885

  • Inscriptions

    Obverse: THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT A NEW COMMANDMENT GIVE I UNTO YOU THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER FEDERATION OF THE WORLD MEDALS ISSUED BY E.W. COLES BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE Reverse: LORDS PRAYER / OUR FATHER / WHICH ART IN HEAVEN / HALLOWED BE THY NAME / THY KINGDOM COME / THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH / AS IT IS IN HEAVEN / GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD / & FORGIVE US OUR TRESSPASSES / AS WE FORGIVE THEM / THAT TRESPASS AGAINST US / LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION / BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL / FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM / THE POWER / & THE GLORY FOR / EVER & EVER / AMEN

  • Series

    Cole's Book Arcade Medals

  • Material

    Aluminium

  • Axis

    12

  • Classification

    Medals, Commemorative, Commerce & retailing

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    Numismatics

  • Type of item

    Object

  • Overall Dimensions

    3.51 g (Weight)

  • Shape

    Round

  • References

    Chitty 64 = Dean 51
    [Book] Dean, George D. 1988. A Handbook on E.W. Cole, His Book Arcade, Tokens & Medals.
    [Book] Turnley, Cole. 1974. Cole of the Book Arcade: a Biography of E.W. Cole.
    [Article] 1973. A Tribute to E.W. Cole. Australian Numismatist. 27 (10): 5-10.
    [Catalogue] Morrison, Ian. 2003. The Baker of Maldon.
    [Thesis] Lugton, Mary E. 1989. George McArthur of Maldon: his Life and his Book Collection.

  • Keywords

    Advertising, Booksellers, Religions, Retailing, World Federation