Copper token excavated at the Commonwealth Block site between 1988 and 2003.

Tokens issued promoting Professor Holloway's pills and ointments have proven the most common token finds on Melbourne archaeological sites. They were produced in England and are presumed to have been circulated through retailers of Holloway products.

Working in Little Lon.
Alongside the tightly packed cottages, commercial enterprise thrived in little Lon. Shops sold food and 'fancy goods'. Factories and workshops manufactured bellows, furniture, waterproof clothing and ice cream.

In the 1880s grocers flourished, and in the 1890s clothing firms and Chinese cabinet-makers dominated the local manufacturing scene. But Little Lon's most numerous businesses were the myriad hotels and brothels.

It is easy to overlook the 'invisible' work carried out in people's homes. Because such work was rarely documented we rely on things left behind to tell the story. The abundance of lace bobbins dug up at Little Lon hints at a lace-making industry and busy lives otherwise hidden from history.

Physical Description

This is a round copper token that has inscriptions on the obverse and revers. On the obverse there is also a man's head depicted.

Physical Description

Copper token. (obv) Man's head depicted with inscription reads 'PROFESSOR HOLLOWAYS LONDON'. (rev) inscription reads 'HOLLOWAYS PILLS AND OINTMENTS'.

More Information

  • Collection Names

    Little Lon Collection

  • Collecting Areas

    Historical Archaeology

  • Acquisition Information

    Transfer from Heritage Victoria, Industry Superannuation PropertyTrust, 03/05/2005

  • Manufacture Name

    Professor Holloway

  • Manufacture Date


  • Issued By

    Professor Holloway, London, England, Great Britain, circa 1857-1858

  • Place & Date Used

    Melbourne, Greater Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, circa 1857-1890s

  • Inscriptions

    See: Description (rev) HOLLOWAYS PILLS AND OINTMENTS

  • Context Number


  • Site

    [CCS] Australia, Victoria, Commonwealth Block, Melbourne

  • Distinguishing Marks

    See: Description

  • Provenance

    London, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Classification

    Historical archaeology

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline

    Archaeology - Historical

  • Type of item


  • Exhibition Collection Management

    34 mm (Width), 3 mm (Depth), 34 mm (Height), 34 mm (Outside Diameter)

  • References

    Holloway's tokens were struck in such large numbers that the minting technique of hubbing was clearly employed. In this a master tool, having the full appearance of the final token for the obverse and reverse is manufactured in steel. This is then used to prepare working dies. This technique makes the identification of individual dies from variations in rim bead counts or alignment of lettering impossible. Researchers have noted minor variations in the lowest relief areas of the tokens that may be the result of variations of quality of the die production off the hub (Heyde p. 49) or minor tooling.

  • Keywords

    Making History - Little Lonsdale Street