NEW ZEALAND. Milner & Thompson's Canterbury Music Depot 32mm Penny Token 11.21 grams (KM-Tn51, R-372, A379 ) - Almost Uncirculated
Obverse: Maori warrior with moko (facial tattoo) holding spear and shield facing three quarters right, ADVANCE NEW ZEALAND
Reverse: winged angel's head above musical instruments, MILNER & THOMPSON'S CANTERBURY MUSIC DEPOT & PIANOFORTE WAREHOUSE / CHRISTCHURCH / 1881 KM-Tn51, R-372
Milner & Thompson's Music store, the Canterbury Music Depot, was first sited at the corner of Colombo Street and Chester Street in Christchurch. It was already a music store in 1874 when Robert Thompson bought the business. 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.
The partners moved their business from the corner of Colombo and Chester Streets to High Street some years after acquiring the business. It was while they were at their High Street address that they issued their tokens. Numismatist Alan Sutherland states that 'they were the last issuers of tokens in New Zealand, first circulating them at an Exhibition held here, primarily for advertising purposes, but they later formed part of the general currency.' The firm's tokens are all dated 1881, and were struck for them by the Melbourne firm Stokes and Martin.
The firm had a number of novel advertising schemes, in addition to the tokens. They installed a 'phantom piano' on the ground floor, which was set up to give the appearance of being played, while it was in fact being operated from a keyboard and set of pedals installed in the basement below.