I’m still working away on the Dow’s Pharmacy documentation project, but to be honest the last few weeks have not been that interesting, basically enumerating and classifying the stock of empty unused medicine bottles that had been left behind.
However yesterday I found a little brown paper envelope from the State Savings Bank in among the bottles
Now we know that decimalisation happened in 1966 and the Pharmacy closed for good in 1968, so the fact that the bag is printed $2 – 5 cent coins, puts it at some date between 1966 and 68.
I opened it, hoping we might have a mixture of 5c coins and some old 6d coins, but no it contained a mixture of screws and grommets,
and a single Chinese 1 cash coin
which is rather corroded and worn. Unlike the imitation ones sold as lucky charms today it’s got a design on both sides, and looks genuinely old and worn.
Not being an expert on Chinese coins that’s about as far as I can go, as to what it is, but why would it be in a pharmacy in rural Victoria?
Well, Chiltern was a gold rush town and like Beechworth and the other gold towns round about had a community of Chinese miners in the mid to late nineteenth century. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that one of these miners dropped a coin, and old Mr Dow found it about a hundred years later, didn’t know what to do with it and put it in a bag of bolts, perhaps even thinking it might stand service as a washer ….