AUSTRALIA, merchant token, 1857


AUSTRALIA, token, 1857, Obverse: HANKS AND COMPy AUSTRALIAN TEA MART SYDNEY, Reverse: sun over arms supported by an emu and a kangaroo, PEACE & PLENTY 1857, Edge: plain, copper, 28mm, halfpenny, KM-Tn80, nicks, gouges, VF

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In the 19th century coinage was scarce. What were the money using European people to use? Mexican silver mostly. Before they found gold they would be using British sovereigns and Dutch ducats from the Netherlands Indies. Copper was whatever came along. Local merchants started ordering tokens all the way from England. The issues were small, there was a small population to serve.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.