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Juno Moneta's Blog

12 Apr 2015

Maori Tribesman Token of New Zealand

Tokens | Juno Moneta

The first coin I posted from New Zealand just had to be this gorgeous Tradesmen's Token of Milner & Thompson. The depictions of Maori tribesmen is just spectacular! The company was in Christchurch and issued a number of designs, this one being the best. Other tokens state they were "Sole Agents for Brinsmead Pianos" (anyone see the movie "The Piano"). These tokens were manufactured during a shortage of official coinage from 1857 to 1881. All of the Milner & Thompson tokens may have been minted in 1881. Some additional information: Copper One Penny Token, minted by Stokes & Martin, Melbourne. Issued by Milner & Thompson, Canterbury Music Depot, Christchurch, 1881. Milner & Thompson's Music store, the Canterbury Music Depot, was opened in 1874 by Robert Thompson, some time soon afterwards he took John Milner into partnership and they worked together for 21 years. When Milner retired Thompson continued in the business until he passed it to his sons in 1907. The business was bought by Charles Begg and Co. in 1920, and was still a going concern in 1950. Milner & Thompson were the last issuers of tokens in New Zealand. Obverse: Maori warrior standing on an island in front of a palm tree. He holds a large square shield on the ground with his right hand and a weapon in his left. The shield is quartered with plants in each sector, a kiwi emerges walking left from behind the shield. In the sea behind the prow of a war canoe can be seen to the left of the kiwi and a mountainous island is seen in the background. Legend around is NEW ZEALAND Reverse: Bust a Maori warrior facing three-quarters right with tattooed face, wearing a feather headdress and holding a spear in his right hand and shield; around, ADVANCE NEW ZEALAND. Even in the age of the ubiquitous tattoo, his image is dramatic.

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