Aternative Name: Token
Issued: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Medal, Cole's Book Arcade, Federation of the World, Wasted Wealth, circa 1885. This aluminium medal, minted in the USA, is one of a series of medals offering maxims and proverbs issued by E.W. Cole at his Book Arcade. He called the medals 'little missionaries for the spread of educative knowledge' (Dean, 1988, p.36).
According to Sydney Endacott, an employee of Cole, customers were charged three pence for these medals (which he prefers to call tokens) which, when the Arcade was particularly busy, gave them admission to the second-hand books gallery where the orchestra played. Each medal could be exchanged for thee pence worth of goods, but most were kept. The pierced ones were sometimes worn as pendants or on pocket watch chains. The medals served as perpetual advertisements of the Arcade (Victorian Historical Magazine, February 1962). George Dean suggests that the medals were also given in change at Christmas time, and could be used to operate amusement machines (presumably including the symphonion and hens, although these only required one penny to operate).
Cole had his first medal stuck in 1879 and his last one about 1903. The medals were variously gilded, silvered or bronzed, replicating the coinage then circulating, or plated with nickel or white metal. The medal blanks were usually made of copper or brass, but some might have been bronze; aluminium was also sometimes used. In all, perhaps 300,000 medals were struck, in 97 types. Only 50 types are known to have circulated (George Dean, 1988, A Handbook on E.W. Cole: His Book Arcade, Tokens and Medals).
An aluminium medal (39 mm diameter) offering a thought provoking maxim related to world federation.
Above a tree fern, WASTED WEALTH at left side, THE MONEY / SPENT IN / INTOXICATING / DRINK & DRUGS / SHEER FOOLISHNESS / AND WAR on right side, WOULD FEED, CLOTHE / AND / EDUCATE / THE WHOLE / HUMAN / RACE above ground line, MADE IN U.S.A.
Within a wreath springing from a rainbow, READ / THE / OTHER / SIDE / AND DISCUSS below rainbow, FEDERATION OF THE / WORLD MEDALS / ISSUED / BY E.W. COLE / BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE
Donation from Mr. W. E.J. Williams, 5/8/1958
circa 1885 AD
Obverse: WASTED WEALTH THE MONEY SPENT IN INTOXICATING DRINK & DRUGS SHEER FOOLISHNESS AND WAR WOULD FEED, CLOTHE AND EDUCATE THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE MADE IN U.S.A. Reverse: READ THE OTHER SIDE AND DISCUSS FEDERATION OF THE WORLD MEDALS ISSUED BY E.W. COLE BOOK ARCADE MELBOURNE
Type of item
5.29 g (Weight)
Chitty 75 = Dean 88
[Book] Dean, George D. 1988. A Handbook on E.W. Cole, His Book Arcade, Tokens & Medals.
[Book] Turnley, Cole. 1974. Cole of the Book Arcade: a Biography of E.W. Cole.
[Article] 1973. A Tribute to E.W. Cole. Australian Numismatist. 27 (10): 5-10.