John Martin, Grocer & Tea Dealer, Adelaide, South Australia
By Museums Victoria | Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Little is known of this John Martin. He was not the same John Martin who founded the eponymous department store and Adelaide landmark (that business was founded in 1866 under the name Peters and Martin, Drapers, at 94 Rundle Street).
The earliest mention of a John Martin, Grocer, was from 1845, when Martin, John, of the Gillies Arcade was listed in the Royal South Australian Almanac. Two men by that name were listed in the 1850 edition of the same almanac. One was simply listed as 'Martin, Jno., North Terrace' the other as 'Martin, Jno., Grocer, Gilbert Street.' There was a John Martin, Grocer, Rundle Street, listed in the Royal South Australian Almanacs for 1854 and 1855, but no street numbers were given in the listings. The 1857 Royal South Australia Almanac also included the Gilbert Street listing.
The earliest listing of a business exactly matching the inscription on the tokens ('JOHN MARTIN / GROCER / AND / TEA DEALER / 29 / RUNDLE STREET / ADELAIDE') was in 1858, in 'Howell's Directory for the City and Port of Adelaide'. The Museum Victoria Catalogue gives 1858 as the most likely year for the issue of Martin's tokens. In 1864 the only listing for a John Martin was for Sturt Street, Adelaide. This listing continued until 1867. No advertisements for the business were located during this survey.
Martin's tokens were struck for him by Heaton and Sons of Birmingham.