Copper One Penny Token, minted by an unknown British mint. Issued by George McCaul, Grahamstown, 1874. George McCaul was born in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1835. When the gold rushes began in Australia he travelled to Adelaide and then to the gold fields. He tried his luck again in the early 1860s when gold was discovered in New Zealand, sailing to Gabriel's Gully, near Lawrence in Otago province. He moved on to the Hokitika fields when gold was discovered there. To get there, he had to cross New Zealand's South Island from east to west. Many men died during the journey. McCaul did not have any luck at the Hokitika fields either. After abandoning gold prospecting McCaul moved to Grahamstown in Thames, in the north of the North Island, where he returned to his trade as a plumber, gasfitter, tinsmith and coppersmith.
A round copper token (34 mm diameter). The piece features the name, address and business of the issuer: George McCaul, coppersmith, tinsmith, plumber and gasfitter, Grahamstown. The reverse features the view of a working gold mine with steam generating building and poppet head. This token has been cleaned and is holed.
At centre within a circular line border; George McCaul / COPPERSMITH / TINSMITH / PLUMBER / GASFITTER / GRAHAMSTOWN 1874, around with letters spread between beads, NEW ZEALAND
At centre within a line circle, a scene of a poppet head with associated steam works, the building has a tall smoke chimney and a smaller steam pressure outlet. Two men are working on the platform at the middle of the poppet head. In exergue, ADVANCE THAMES GOLDFIELDS, around all a series of sixteen beads.
Transfer from Melbourne Branch of Royal Mint, 11/1/1978
Obverse: George McCaul COPPERSMITH TINSMITH PLUMBER GASFITTER GRAHAMSTOWN NEW ZEALAND Reverse: ADVANCE THAMES GOLDFIELDS
Type of item
13.479 g (Weight)
[Book] Andrews, Arthur. 1921. Australasian Tokens and Coins., No. 359
[Book] Heyde, Gilbert C. & Skinner, Dion H. 1967. Unofficial Coins of Colonial Australia and New Zealand., No. 164
[Book] Lampard, William H. 1981. Catalogue of New Zealand Coins Tokens Bank Notes., No. 331
[Book] Humberstone, Vaughn. 2010. Merchants Making Money.