Gardner asserts that this business was founded in Port Albert in 1859 by James McEwan & Co., Ironmongers, of Melbourne. At that time Port Albert was the only landing place in Gippsland and looked set to become an important settlement. They sent two Scots, John Thompson and John Neill, to manage the store, replacing Thompson with his brother James after a short time.
Both Neill and Thompson returned to Melbourne and the business passed into the management of William Rigg, until it was sold to Nehemiah Guttheridge, a resident of Sale. Guttheridge opened a branch of the store in his own town and took a chemist named Wood as his partner. Gardner believes that it was these two who issued the store's tokens in 1862.
This information does not match the information in the surviving directories for Gippsland. In 1865 and 1866 the Gippsland Hardware Company was listed in Port Albert, but not in Sale. However, as the token specifically mentions the Sale store, we can only assume that there was a branch of the business in that town in 1862.
As Port Albert declined and Sale grew, the business in the former place was sold off. Mr Guttheridge is said to have been the first Mayor of Sale.
Their three tokens were struck by Thomas Stokes in 1862.
Gardner, F. (1912). 'Trade Tokens and the Firms who Issued Them', The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal, 29 June, pp.9-10.
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens' in Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia, Vol.7, December, pp.72-73.
Butler and Brooke's Victorian Directory for 1865-1866.
Hope, John (2005). 'History of the Gippsland Hardware Company', unpublished MSS, 2 pps.