Item #5000716 'The Kanguroo, The Armadillo, The Rhinoceros': entry token for the London zoological exhibition of Thomas Hall in 1795. KANGAROO.
'The Kanguroo, The Armadillo, The Rhinoceros': entry token for the London zoological exhibition of Thomas Hall in 1795.

'The Kanguroo, The Armadillo, The Rhinoceros': entry token
'The Kanguroo, The Armadillo, The Rhinoceros': entry token for the London zoological exhibition of Thomas Hall in 1795.

London: T. Hall, 1795.

Bronze medal with an attractive patina, 30 mm.; a few letters poorly struck to the obverse, fine beading to the rim with some wear, but overall very good.

Kangaroos in Finsbury Square

Very rare entry token for the London taxidermist and showman T. Hall, advertising the notably early display of a "Kanguroo" at his museum on City Road, near Finsbury Square. On the obverse the medal illustrates the three most remarkable animals on display, the kangaroo, armadillo and rhinoceros. The reverse features the legend 'T. Hall Citty Road near Finsbury Square London 1795' and, around the rim, 'The first artist in Europe for preserving birds beasts'.

Very rare entry token for the London taxidermist and showman T. Hall, advertising the notably early display of a "Kanguroo" at his museum on City Road, near Finsbury Square. On the obverse the medal illustrates the three most remarkable animals on display, the kangaroo, armadillo and rhinoceros. The reverse features the legend 'T. Hall Citty Road near Finsbury Square London 1795' and, around the rim, 'The first artist in Europe for preserving birds beasts'.

In the early days of the colony kangaroos had been brought fairly regularly to Europe, either as gifts with returning officers or as a commercial enterprise with returning merchant captains: as early as 1792 Collins records the departure of 'four fine kangaroos' on board the Active. Of all the new discoveries in New South Wales none captured the imagination of the European public so fervently as the kangaroo, and the specimens displayed in London and other cities were much admired and reported. However, the surviving relics of these displays are very scarce indeed: a playbill advertising a kangaroo and thought to date from 1794 was sold by us some time ago, and a similar handbill circa 1799 is noted by Ferguson (296a), but this is the only such token that we have handled, this example having been sold by us in 2011 and now through our hands for the second time.

---

Research by a descendant of Thomas Hall has shown that the business on Finsbury Square was certainly established by 1779, but perhaps significantly earlier. It was established by Hall who is known to have taken on the task of preparing a rhinoceros in 1793 - clearly this would be the same animal advertised here. By the 1790s Hall's grandson, also Thomas, was heavily involved in the business, and he appears to have been the driving force behind diversifying from the well-established business of taxidermy into display and spectacle, in the process forming a small museum much like those of his near contemporaries Sir Ashton Lever and William Bullock. The company did not neglect taxidermy however, and Hall was closely associated with Charles Wilson Peale, the Philadelphia-based artist and impresario, famous for his own museum. Hall's Finsbury Square museum ran into the 1840s, although some time during this decade it appears to have wound up and the specimens were dispersed.

Price (AUD): $9,000.00

US$6,224.95   Other currencies

Ref: #5000716