Copper One Penny Token, minted by Stokes & Martin, Melbourne. Issued by Milner & Thompson, Canterbury Music Depot, Christchurch, 1881. Surcharged 'S'. Milner & Thompson's Music store, the Canterbury Music Depot, was opened in 1874 by Robert Thompson, some time soon afterwards he took John Milner into partnership and they worked together for 21 years. When Milner retired Thompson continued in the business until he passed it to his sons in 1907. The business was bought by Charles Begg and Co. in 1920, and was still a going concern in 1950. Milner & Thompson were the last issuers of tokens in New Zealand. The firm had a number of novel advertising schemes, in addition to the tokens. They installed a 'phantom piano' on the ground floor, which was set up to give the appearance of being played, while it was in fact being operated from a keyboard and set of pedals installed in the basement below. Thompson also ran a Booking Office for plays from the store from 1881, the first production advertised being staged by the Montague-Turner Opera Co. of Sydney.
A round copper token (32 mm diameter). The token features the name and business of the issuer: Milner & Thompson, Canterbury Music Depot & Pianoforte Warehouse, Christchurch around an advertisment for the company holding the sole agency for John Brinsmead pianos. The reverse features the bust of a Maori warrior facing three-quarters right with tattooed face, wearing a feather headdress and holding a spear in his right hand and shield; around, ADVANCE NEW ZEALAND. This token has been surcharged S.
At centre legend in five lines, SOLE AGENTS / FOR / JOHN BRINSMEAD / & SONS / PIANOS around, MILNER & THOMPSON CANTERBURY MUSIC DEPOT & PIANOFORTE WAREHOUSE.
Bust of a Maori warrior facing three-quarters right with tattooed face, wearing a feather headdress and holding a spear in his right hand and shield; around, ADVANCE NEW ZEALAND surcharged S
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Mr Alfred Chitty, 15/3/1976
Obverse: SOLE AGENTS FOR JOHN BRINSMEAD & SONS PIANOS MILNER & THOMPSON CANTERBURY MUSIC DEPOT & PIANOFORTE WAREHOUSE. Reverse: ADVANCE NEW ZEALAND surcharged S
Type of item
11.05 g (Weight)
This token belongs to the small (32 mm) diameter Series 2 issue of Milner & Thompson. Two obverse and two reverse dies were employed in manufacturing this series with the two reverses being used together to manufacture an anonymous token. Die identification is the basis of standard references and the museum storage system, they can be identified as follows: Obverse C Musical Instruments in wreath D Legend with no pictorial element Reverse 3 Tattoed bust of Maori warrior 4 Scene of Maori warrior before palm tree The following die combinations have been recorded: C/3, C/4, C/D, D/3 (this token), D/4, 3/4 For details of the large (34 mm) diameter series 1 tokens see eg. NU 11437
[Book] Andrews, Arthur. 1921. Australasian Tokens and Coins., No. 382
[Book] Heyde, Gilbert C. & Skinner, Dion H. 1967. Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand., No. 184
[Book] Lampard, William H. 1981. Catalogue of New Zealand Coins Tokens Bank Notes., No. 334g
[Book] Humberstone, Vaughn. 2010. Merchants Making Money.