One hundred and fifty years ago, you could find advertisements on your small change.
Between 1849 and 1863, 62 Victorian businesses issued 'tokens,' metal pieces made for businesses which were used instead of official coins. Two Melbourne grocery stores that issued tokens were Annand, Smith & Co., of Collins Street, and Hide & De Carle of Elizabeth Street. These two businesses only lasted for a few years, but their tokens have endured.
Annand, Smith & Co., Family Grocers
On 20 October 1849 a notice appeared in "The Argus," newspaper saying that because of the shortage of copper coins in Melbourne " . . . Annand has had coined at Birmingham a large supply of penny pieces, having on one side . . . the inscription 'Annand, Smith & Co., Family Grocers, Melbourne'." George Annand needed change for his grocery store and as "The Argus" pointed out, his penny pieces, known as tokens, were also "a most active . . . advertisement" for his business. Annand, Smith & Co. was a partnership between George Annand and Robert Smith. In 1847 Smith opened a grocery store in Little Bourke Street where Annand soon joined him. The store changed address twice, first moving to Little Collins Street, then to 73 Collins Street, on the corner of Queen Street. The partnership was finished by 1852.
George Annand was a Scot and is known to have come to Melbourne by 1844. Annand was a Melbourne City Councillor from 1847 to 1852. In 1853 Annand was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council and retired the next year. He died in 1856, at his home in Hawthorn.
Robert Smith was an Englishman. Like Annand he was in Melbourne by 1844. As well as his partnership with George Annand, Smith was involved in several other businesses. He later moved to New Zealand where he died in 1885.
Hide & De Carle, Grocers & Wine Merchants
From 1857 to 1861 Thomas Hide and Edward De Carle ran a Grocery store on the east side of Elizabeth Street, near Bourke Street. The partners then went their separate ways, drawn in different directions in their search for fortune.
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