Penny token, copper, made for Hanks & Lloyd / Australia Tea Mart, commemorating the opening of the Sydney Railway, Sydney, New South Wales, maker and place unknown, 1855 (Reference: Andrews Cat. No. 188)
Sydney: Hanks & Lloyd, Australian Tea Mart. Penny, 1855. This is the only NSW token which commemorates a local event; in this case, the opening of the Sydney Railway, on 26th September, 1855.
The token coinage of New South Wales was an integral part of the token issues of the Australasian Colonies, and like them, circulated freely without regard for Colonial boundaries. Many of these tokens were of local manufacture, but others, and generally of superior workmanship, were imported from England in large quantities.
The first dated tokens to be issued in New South Wales were pennies and halfpennies for Peek and CampbellĀ?s Tea Store, Sydney, and thereafter the use of tokens spread rapidly throughout the Colony. By 1862 enormous number were in circulation, but were gradually being replaced by the more popular Imperial bronze coins which were becoming available in ever increasing quantities. In 1868 the situation had so improved that it was possible to declare the use of tokens to be illegal within New South Wales; and after 1877, to exchange them, in bulk, only at scrap metal prices. The only silver tokens to circulate in any of the Australian Colonies were threepences, which were manufactured in New South Wales for local issue; but the poor quality silver used in some issues made them generally unattractive as a circulating medium.
The tokens displayed are but a few examples of the many which had their origins in New South Wales and which, during the critical gold discovery years, played a vital role as unofficial coinage in the Colony at that time.
- From Sydney Mint Museum label written by curator, Major HP (Pat) Boland, c1982