Solomon and Samuel Lazarus came to Australia from London on board the Hempsyke in August 1853. Solomon was listed on the ship's register as being 39 while his brother Samuel was 22 (VPRS 7666).
According to Gardner, the brothers opened their shop in 1853, in the Queen's Arcade. Their holding increased over time, expanding to include shops on Lonsdale Street (East and West), and large slabs of the Queen's Arcade. When they issued their tokens (c.1858 according to John Sharples) their tokens stated that they were to be found at 29, 30, 31, 69, 70, & 71 Queen's arcade. In 1857 their listing in Sands and Kenny's Directory advertised that they were to be found at 21 to 31 and 69 to 73 Queen's Arcade, as well as 21 Lonsdale Street West. In 1859, their listing in Tanner's Directory showed them to be at 27 to 32 and 68 to 72 Queen's Arcade, as well as 28 Lonsdale Street East. When they issued their token, they advertised their address as 29, 30, 69, 70, 71 Queen's Arcade, making either 1856 or 1858 likely years for the issue.
The token advertised the business as a 'wholesale and retail fancy repository,' importing 'Birmingham and Sheffield ware, stationery &c..'
Alongside the Levy brothers (see Levy Brothers party record), these two Jewish businesses dominated the Queen's Arcade. They were singled out in William Kelly's Life in Victoria, for some special notice:
'Like many novelties, however, it ceased to draw [crowds] after a limited run, and from being a hive of competitive traders, it became, I may say from end to end, the leviathan emporium of an associated Jewish confraternity, who have furnished it in that heterogeneous fashion which constitutes one of the distinguishing talents of the Israelite community - delf, dolls, pictures, cigars, old clo' [clothes], jewellery, toys, perfumery, bad stationery, infirm musical instruments, with a blank office in a central position, where money is advanced on title-deeds or other valuable property, and bills are cashed at a rate that would lead a novice to suppose it was the principal and not the interest that was stopped in lieu of discount consideration,' (Kelly, p.310).
By 1861 the brothers had moved their store to 66 Elizabeth Street, where they remained until 1863.
Between 1864 and 1869 Lazarus Brothers were at 21 Collins Street West. In 1865 they bought a half page advertisement in Sands and McDougall's Melbourne directory for that year. The range of goods they advertised was: 'Stationery, Cutlery, German Silver and Plated Goods, Glass, China, & Earthenware, Basketware, Cabinetware, Perfumery, Games and Sports, Tobacconists' Sundries, Looking Glasses, Combs and Brushware, Musical Instruments, Berlin Wool and Fancy work, Toys, Dolls, &c., in endless variety.'
In 1870 they moved to 43 Collins Street. Gardner states that the brothers ceased trading in 1874, but his account of the business contains few specific details and includes errors about their addresses over time, so this should not be regarded as a reliable date.
S&S Lazarus issued three penny tokens, struck in London by W.J. Taylor. Sharples suggests that the three tokens may all have been struck at the same time, on three separate presses. The tokens carry only text, without any symbolic or heraldic figures.
Gardner, F. (1911). 'Trade Tokens and the Firms who Issued Them', The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 31 May, p.13.
Internet index to Unassisted Immigrants to Victoria from British Ports. VPRS 7666.
Kelly, W. (1859). Life in Victoria or Victoria in 1853 and Victoria in 1858. Originally published London, 1859. Repub. Kilmore. 1977. vol. 1, p.310.
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens', Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7, December, pp.47-48.
Advertisement, Sands and McDougall's Melbourne and Suburban Directory for 1865, unnumbered page.
Melbourne directories in the collection of the State Library of Victoria, 1851-1870.
Hope, John (2005). 'History of S & S Lazarus', unpublished MSS, 1pp.