New Zealand World War II Internment Camp Tokens
Notes:The New Zealand Army Department issued five tokens for use in Internment Camps during World War II. The five shillings, two shillings and penny denominations were struck by Australian contractors, R. Arendeen & Sons Pty Ltd in Malvern, Victoria, while the shilling and threepence were struck by K. G. Luke & Co. Pty Ltd in Fitzroy, Victoria. These tokens were especially designed so that they could not be used outside the camp area to prevent their use in aiding the escape of any prisoners from the camp.
Use of the tokens was confined to the compound and an audit was taken daily for security reasons in order to check on the use and circulation of the tokens. New Zealand coins were prohibited within the compound.
At the end of the war these tokens were withdrawn and remelted by the authorities. A number of these were souvenired by officials, army personnel and even prisoners and today they are eagerly sought by collectors. The tokens were also used by Australia - refer to the Australian entry for details of each issue.
These tokens are extremely difficult to obtain, the five shilling and two shilling denominations being the scarcest. The threepence token occurs in two varieties with either 'Camp' or 'Camps' on the obverse, the latter being re-engraved. The penny is the most common of this scarce series.
The dies for the Internment Camp Tokens are now held by the Royal Australian Mint in Canberra. A complete set of these tokens has a substantial premium value above the sum of individual valuations.