1795 Middlesex Penny T.Hall Zoo Token D&H 25 PCGS MS63BN


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Catalogued by Dalton & Hamer as Middlesex DH25 and listed as a penny. Probably not a Conder token though, but rather an admission token for a menagerie run by one Thomas Hall. Hall’s menagerie could be found at 10 City Road in London near Finsbury Square. Includes a wax paper envelope notated in a fine hand by AH Baldwin, paper envelope contains another smaller envelope and a round information card.

Once side of the token bears the inscription T.HALL // CITTY ROAD // NEAR // FINSBURY SQUARE // LONDON with THE FIRST ARTIST IN EUROPE FOR PRESERVING BIRDS BEASTS &. It appears the engraver of the coin mis-placed the & symbol. The other side shows images of THE ARMADILLO, THE KANGUROO, and THE RHINOCEROS. The image of the the rhino clearly shows an extra horn on the shoulders and appears to be a copy of the images of the beast created by Albrecht Durer about 300 years before this token was issued. Edge lettering reads “MANUFACTURED BY W. LUTWYCHE BIRMINGHAM”.

According to Lane (2001) this is the first depiction of a kangaroo on a numismatic item, 25 years after the British first sighted the animal in 1770 on Cook’s first voyagage and just a few years after Cook brought the skin of a killed beast back to England after his voyage to Australia in 1788. The depiction of the kangaroo shows the animal in an unrealistic rat-like posture with the tail curling upwards, something that is not actually possible for the real animal. It’s postulated that these early unrealistic images were derived from the descriptions of the animals made by Joseph Banks during his voyages with Cook.

Coin Information

Reference Number:C011702
Country:Great Britain

Lane, P., Fleig, P., 2001, ‘London Private Museums and Their Tokens, 1784-1802’, Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia Inc., vol. 12, pp. 1-25. Available from: http://www.numismatics.org.au/pdfjournal/Vol12/Vol%2012%20Article%201.pdf. [30 January 2017].

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