1867 - Lee Hedges & Co,
Colpetty Mills, Colombo

The copper token minted in England in 1867 for company started in 1857 by W. D. Lee, admitted J. R. Hedges as partner in 1866. The value of the tokens issued in 1867 was 4½d. each, or about the pay of a day's work for a woman.

Denomination4.5 pence
Diameter27.5 mm
Thickness mm
Weight7.09 gms
1867_colpetty_mills_obverse 1867_colpetty_mills_reverse
Lowsley #7 Pridmore #61 Mitchiner #2241

Obverse : centered COLPETTY
within dotted circle inside raised rim.
Reverse : centered tea-bush LEE, HEDGES, & Co.
* 1867 *
within dotted circle inside raised rim.

LEE, HEDGES & Co. The inception of this firm dates back to 1857 when W. D. Lee started business in Colombo for Brice and Boustead of London. In 1866 he admitted J. R. Hedges as partner and from that year the firm became known as Lee, Hedges & Co.
The firm had a branch in Kandy and soon built up an attractive estate agency business, they also had a large coffee curing business, On the death of Lee in 1871, G.A.M. Hedges, brother of JR. Hedges, came into the firm but in 1877, the partnership was dissolved and JR. Hedges left Ceylon in 1880.
The firm had two Mills in Colombo. The earlier one at Kollupitiya called Colpetty, a coffee and oil mill, employing about 600 hands, the other, the Dematagode Coffee Mills employing about 400 hands. In 1880 the Dematagode Mills were given up, but the Colpetty Mills continued and in 1894 it was known as Konupitiya Coffee Curing Mills, Cinnamon Press, Tea Factory and Dessicated Coconut Manufactory. In 1927, Hedges Buildings arose on the site of the old mills to house the firm's office staffs.

My parental home in the Colombo suburb of Kollupitiya is less than half mile from this site, which was then known as Shaw Wallace & Hedges. It is now a vacant block being developed for condominiums.

* Coins and Tokens of Ceylon, Lieut. Col B. Lowsley, Num. Chron. Sr III Vol. XV, 1895.
* The Coins of British Commonwealth of Nations to the end of the reign of George VI 1952 Part 2 - Asian Territories by F. Pridmore Spink & Son Ltd., 1965. Tokens
* Oriental Coins AD 600 - 1979 by Michael Mitchiner (#2241)

The coin was scanned at 300dpi and the images are displayed at 200dpi.
The very fine condition coin was purchased in August 1998 from a dealer in Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

The Token image above has been copied into the Shaw Group History without any acknowledgement to the source.