Circa 1860, W. J. Taylor, Kangaroo Office Sixpence struck in silver, plain edge


1855 Taylor Pattern Silver Sixpence Unc rev B&B May 2018
1855 Taylor Pattern Silver Sixpence Unc obv B&B May 2018
Circa 1860, W. J. Taylor, Kangaroo Office Sixpence struck in silver, plain edge
COIN
Circa 1860, W. J. Taylor, Kangaroo Office Sixpence struck in silver, plain edge
QUALITY
Choice Uncirculated
PROVENANCE
Turner Collection
PRICE
$45,000
COMMENTS
Australia's Gold Rush spawned mass economic expansion in the colonies. The coins of W. J. Taylor are a product of this era. They are of the greatest historical significance and are extremely rare and have been owned by some of the most lauded collectors of our time including the U.K.'s Hyman Montague, Egypt's King Farouk, American collector J. J. Pitman and locally, Sydney collector Philip Spalding and Queenslander Tom Hadley. To name just five. William Joseph Taylor was an Englishman. An engraver and die sinker by trade, he was active in the numismatic industry producing both coins and medals. He was an entrepreneur. And a shrewd businessman. This silver Sixpence struck by Taylor would have been Australia’s very first silver coin had his plan for a private mint in Melbourne come to fruition. Superbly toned with iridescent surfaces the coin features a portrait of Queen Victoria wearing a jewelled crown on the obverse. And a large figure ‘6’ in the centre of the reverse on a broad raised engraved rim. Confirmation of their extreme rarity. We can count on the fingers of one hand the number of Taylor Pattern silver Sixpences that we have sold.
STATUS
Available now
1855 Taylor Pattern Silver Sixpence Unc obv B&B May 2018
Enquire Now

The Kangaroo Office was a bold plan by English entrepreneurs to establish Australia’s first privately run Mint. The planning phase began in London, in 1853. Coining operations commenced in Melbourne in May 1854. Three years on, after substantial losses, the mint was closed.

While the plan had all the hallmarks of a farce, it left an important legacy for today’s collectors and historians.

William Joseph Taylor was an Englishman, and by trade an engraver and die sinker, active in the numismatic industry producing both coins and medals. He was an entrepreneur. And a shrewd businessman.

Towards the end of 1852 Taylor became aware that gold could be bought from diggers on the Ballarat fields at greatly reduced prices. His plan was to establish a private mint in Melbourne, strike gold coins and release them at their full value in London.

Taylor formed a syndicate with two colleagues, Messrs Hodgkin and Tyndall: the three investing £13,000 in the enterprise. They chartered a fully rigged 600-ton vessel to transport the coining press, the dies and two employees, Reginald Scaife (manager) and William Morgan Brown (assistant).

The vessel was aptly named ‘The Kangaroo’, then, as now, a symbol of Australia. Taylor’s mint was known as the Kangaroo Office and was situated near Melbourne’s Flagstaff Gardens in what is now Franklin Street West.

‘The Kangaroo’ arrived at Hobsons Bay on 23rd October 1853, and the huge coining press was deposited on the wharf. And there it sat. Unfortunately, it was too heavy to transport. The only option was to take it apart and move it, piece-by-piece, to the Kangaroo Office, where it was reassembled and put into working order.

The Kangaroo Office eventually commenced operations in May 1854, striking gold coins. To thwart currency laws, the designs were made to look more like weights than coins. Taylor himself cut the dies for a 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz and ¼oz gold piece, each dated 1853.

 

The Kangaroo Office operated for three years striking examples from the original dies, although how many of each is unknown.

The Kangaroo Office was under financial pressure right from the outset. By the time the mint was operational gold, which had been £2/15/- per ounce when the plan was hatched, had moved up to £4/4/- an ounce. And there was a glut of English sovereigns in circulation.

Despite the financial challenges of the operation Taylor was unconvinced that his days as a coin designer and manufacturer were at an end.  In 1855 he produced dies for the striking of a sixpence and shilling in gold, silver and copper. This was his first attempt at producing a piece depicting a value rather than a weight.

The coins display the same broad engine-turned rim, the obverse featuring a superb portrait of Queen Victoria with VICTORIA and AUSTRALIA embedded in the rim. The reverse features the denomination in figures at the centre and in letters embedded in the rim above.

William Taylor also produced patterns for a fourpence and twopence struck in copper; the former featuring Britannia on the obverse and the figure ‘4’ on an engine turned background. The twopence features the kangaroo with Melbourne above it: the obverse similar in style to the fourpence.

Taylor operated his Kangaroo Office for three years during which time he sustained substantial losses. With all hope of a profit gone, the dispirited promoters in London issued instructions for the Kangaroo Office to be closed.

Now while it is true that Taylor never achieved his ambitions, the Port Phillip Kangaroo Office Patterns are revered by collectors and investors in Australia. And right across the globe.

enquire now

Browse & Buy
Recent Sales
Latest Catalogue
News & Views
CONTACT

Suite 17, 210 Toorak Road South Yarra 3141
Suite 17, 210 Toorak Road

© Copyright: Coinworks 

BE INFORMED

Discover new coins and collections added weekly.