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Griquatown 1/4p - First Coins Used In SA

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Brother in arms .. part two

 

Hi Derick, Ewaan

 

I am "sorry" if the subtlety of my suggestion was lost on you both.

 

I would have thought that if you "Googled" "Brothers in arms" the title of my last response you would have come up with the following link which gives a pretty good description. (Imraan certainly appears to know how to use Google... )

 

Here is a Yahoo link to check out: Can someone explain the phrase "brothers in arms" please!it`s urgent:-s? - Yahoo! Answers

The subtlety is this... while many coin collectors blindly accept what they are told about the Griquatown tokens DESPITE THE FACT that many of the claims can be shown through sourced references - and have been shown here - to be nothing more than wild and false assumptions they continue to put their heads deep in the sand (like the ostrich).

 

So, conversly, when I used the term brother (which I stand by) one has to look at the wider definitions of brother... thus the earlier caption "brother in arms"

 

I was hoping Ewaan or Imraan would take the bait, and Ewaan did. Only hoping because I wanted to demonstrate personally to them how I feel when I see assumptions and suppositions being published widely in our coin books as FACTS when they are not.

 

The understandable responses by Ewaan and Derick reflects the feelings I have when I continually see misplaced and baseless assumptions being presented as facts DESPITE having provided this forum with referenced sources proving this time and again in the past. So perhaps they can now better understand how I feel.

 

Getting back to the word "brother".. it is widely accepted in literary and social circles that brother goes way beyond that of a direct family association. (Sorry Ewaan I know and respect that you mistrust authors).

 

Here is a quote from the link above: Like in "Band of Brothers". Men who fight side by side.

 

What I was suggesting in the posts by Ewaan and Imraan is that they were "fighting" side by side against the argument I was presenting.

 

For example... "brother in arms" Imraan suggested out of the blue in an earlier post in this thread that, while knowing nothing about them, the Duchen and Kleinman tokens were QUOTE "a better bet" than (in Ewaan's words) "Mickey Mouse" Strachan coins... see post number 43 on this thread (D&K) at this link: http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-notes-numismatist/11057-griquatown-1-4p-first-coins-used-sa-3.html#post85788.

 

Now guess who has been trying to unoad several Duchen and Kleinman tokens on BoB without success for many weeks now...

http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/27182941/Duchen_Kleiman_5_Shilling_Scarce.html

 

http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/27182943/Duchen_Kleiman_3_Shilling_Scarce.html

 

http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/27182944/Duchen_Kleiman_2_Shilling.html

 

http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/27182945/Duchen_Kleiman_6d.html

 

Am I missing something here? I don't think so.. brothers in arms.. despite this S&Co coins listed here continue to attract strong support while D&K tokens get none. Go figure!

 

In closing here is a very relevant and poignant song by Mark Knopfler - Brothers in Arms.... the words of this amazing song (really worth listening to) can be seen at: this link.

 

I apologise if this subtlety was lost on some.

 

Now let's get back to the essence of this thread - the Griquatown token coin debate....

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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EWAAN Galleries

Hi

 

Please note that we have not sold many D & K as we did not put them on a R1 start. We sold this one though:

 

Tokens - Duchen & Kleiman - 1 Shilling was sold for R750.00 on 4 Sep at 15:01 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:25683192)

 

Now compare the price. The S & Co ones go for between R90 - R250 with the exception of the Mountain Home ones which are scarcer.

We cannot put all items on a R1 start as we paid higher prices for certain items.

 

We lost a lot of money on the S & Co Tokens as they sold too cheap on R1 starts. But we still have about 200 of them in stock so they not that rare compared to the D & K ones and the Hotel Kimberley ones, etc......

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Brothers in arms - part three

 

Hi Ewaan

 

This thread is about the Griquatown tokens .. so lets keep it on track OR please start a new thread which I will happily participate in.

 

I thought you were the biggest dealer in coins in Africa (according to your recent listings) so how did you get "caught" with paying too much for (what you claim above) 200 Strachan coins which YOU have personally called "Mickey Mouse"? Something does not add up here. (If you see my website I openly state that I believe about 100,000 Strachan coins were issued over a sixty year period). A tiny percentage of those, in my view, remain today.

 

Having said that you seem to think my life hangs on the Strachan tokens.

 

WRONG.

 

I simply record early South African numismatic history based on FACTS not assumptions despite your recent disparaging posts.

 

Historical fact on South Africa's early currency is my primary goal - and I don't care how that impacts on the Griquatown, Strachan, Duchen and Kleinman, Burgerspond or ZAR. As a numismatist I love my hobby first and historical integrity is a key part of that - that is why I have welcomed and answered openly any challenges on this thread. It is a fact that TOKEN coins were a significant part of the history of most colonies - including Australia (where I live today). Here in Australia some early tokens attract values well into five Au$ figures. In South Africa they have been (until recently) ignored despite their crucial role.

 

Ewaan, why, after over thirty years of passionate research on this subject, would I compromise my reputation when it comes to a coin?

 

Supply and demand always determines the price of any commodity whether it be the bread you buy from the corner store or a Strachan coin. Let the buyer decide - all I know is that the Strachan sets I have sold on BoB have attracted values which few buyers would call "Mickey Mouse".

 

The buyer determines the price of any coin - not you or I.

 

Unlike you I am not a regular seller - more often a buyer so do not in any way compromise my research. If you follow my thread "On the cusp" you will see how I have openly shared my knowledge despite the fact this thread has made it harder or me to buy silver coins or bullion on BoB.

 

I am happy to share my knowledge but am so over people with hidden agendas trying to suggest I have no integrity.

 

Now lets get back to the subject on this thread.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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qball

One last warning Scott and Muhammed - if your personal, confrontational posts appear on this thread again, I be closing it and banning both of you from the forum for 1 month.

 

Please stick to the topic, do not argue the poster, argue the post, keep the debate about the coins and not bring personal opinions or dislikes onto the forum.

 

I trust this request will be adhered to.

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Vertigo

Beating My Chest or Being a Better Man ?

 

@ Jan , Scott , & Admin

 

This would be my final post on this thread and i will not respond to any more comments (personal or not )

 

Firstly i would like to apologize if i have offended the three of you in any way .

 

Our Nations Father , The Great Madiba , When released from prison , was approached by the international media and he was asked something to this effect , " Now that you are free , what are you going to do the the whites who put you in prison " ( As any Media would try to insinuate controversy) , will you banish them? , arrest them? etc etc

 

His Reply was simply "if i do any of those things , then i might as well beat my chest "

 

Watching the new series on MNET called the event , i found out that humans and chimpanzee's DNA only differ by 2%.

 

@ Scott -

Assuming that ewaan knows nothing about numismatics (irony being that he is the top seller)

Assuming that ewaan and i are related

(Of which i humbly request an apology , If not its fine)

 

That wound me up and i reacted personally and mocked you with the "letmegooglethatforyou" joke , and for that i publicly apologize.

 

@ Jan -

 

Tant amount to " racism" , for that statement i apologize if you were offended (or any other forum members) and i maintain that i should have used a more politically correct term

ie: bigotry.

 

@ Admin - This statement is made in order to try to create some "peace" between 2 parties who as i have also seen personal attacks in previous posts , I have absolutly no intention of creating more personal friction...

 

To All - I love this forum and i learn something new everyday , lets leave the personal issues out and have fun,

 

Gandhi once said that if everyone took an eye for an eye the world would eventually become BLIND.

 

Opinions are different , ie : I think that D&K are a better bet than S&C , as some people feel that an XF45 Mandela is a Better bet than an MS67,

 

Let it be , Everyone is entitled to their own opinions ......

 

Once again , Apologies to all for making a mock of this great Hobby

 

Warm Regards

Imraan Moosa

 

(Kindly note: this is my last post on this thread )

Edited by Vertigo

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dennrein

Some more points to ponder PART 1

 

Dear Mr. Balson,

 

thanks for your detailed reply. Here is what I believe:

 

Challenge 1: Indeed there were 42 church members at Klaarwater at the time – my mistake. I simply believe that Parsons was referring to inhabitants of Griqualand instead of church members at Griqua Town. I quoted Moffat/ Anderson to prove that the word congregation was at the time not only used for church members but for people living near the mission station at the time. And this is probably how Parsons arrived at the figure. This in my mind is not sufficient grounds to disqualify his research as a whole.

 

Challenge 3: What I did was try and define circulation because this is the point you are trying to make, that they did not circulate. What we know is: at least some of the silver tokens were distributed. This is a fact, as can be seen from the Schoeman quote you provide. The rest, admittedly, was applying common sense. Would it make sense for the missionaries to simply give the token coins to the Griquas as presents? Certainly not. This would have led them to have to hand out goods in exchange for the tokens for free. A very costly exercise for missionaries who were scant of a lot of necessities most of the time (compare Beck 1989: Bibles and Beads). So they must have exchanged hands for something. This is confirmed by talk of a dispersion rate. This, to me, is sufficient to say they circulated.

The quote from Schoeman reaffirms that the missionaries were not in possession of all the token coins, i.e. they were circulating and calls the token coins “Griqua money”. Andries Waterboer is said to have no money. But apparently other Griquas had money, seeing as it could be collected from them (see quote). But, as Pierre Henri has pointed out, the coins were small cash. Thus, even if Waterboer had had some of these coins it would hardly have been worth mentioning.

It is true: no transaction is mentioned involving the token coins. It may even be, as you suggest, that the coins never went beyond the initial trade. There is no proof of either of these arguments, which is why we could argue about this forever. Perhaps what I am getting at is that there is sufficient evidence to cast some doubt on your supposition that the token coins never circulated. Indeed, if someone went a step further and did some more archive research Schoeman style perhaps the mystery might be lifted.

I would be interested in the quotes from Hofstede and Gunning – have you got access to these books? What do they say?

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dennrein

Some more points to ponder PART 2

 

Challenge 4: As with the circulation question there is no evidence to support the assumption that the copper coins were minted later and there is no evidence they circulated in 1820. I provided an argument why only the silver coins may have been mentioned. The Schoeman quote you provide makes me wonder why Helm refers to the “silver pieces” being dispersed at too cheap a rate. Why would he have stressed that it was the pieces made of silver that went for too cheap a rate if there weren’t any pieces made of something else. Wouldn’t it then have sufficed to simply say that the pieces were dispersed at too low a rate. I wonder…

 

Challenge 5: Indeed, everything I say here is complete supposition and assumption. The reason we can exchange arguments is precisely because there is no clear evidence for or against the labour or trade token question. So both of us have to resort to common sense to assume what they were for. To me the quote from Moffat 1846: p. 59 (see above) shows that there was certainly a readiness on the side of the Griqua to engage in the trade of petty goods with the missionaries. Adding this to the fact that the missionaries were allowed to travel to Cape Town to buy goods that weren’t available at the Kookfontein and Beaufort West Fares and sell them to the Griquas shows me that indeed no shop was necessary, because the trade tokens were used in trade between the mission station and the Griquas.

 

Challenge 6: The fact remains that Burchell uses the term “Klaarwater district” – probably not to refer to a political entity but simply referring to the vicinity around Klaarwater, later termed Griqualand West. Hern saying the Klaarwater district is near Kimberley is probably not meant to be a historical statement. Nowadays one would agree that the distance involved, especially in South African terms, can be termed “near”. So the historical maps and the historic name of the vicinity are interesting, but don’t really cast as big a shadow on Hern’s statements as you suppose. I do however agree with you that the coins almost certainly did not circulate in 1815/16. If only Parsons had provided some proper evidence for this assumption!

 

Challenge 7: My point was that here, evidently, both Arndt and Rosenthal underestimated the importance and the magnitude of trade in Griqua society. In my opinion one can hardly overestimate what trade meant to the Griquas. It was their fundamental source of wealth.

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dennrein

Summarizing...

 

There are some differences between our claims:

 

1. The token coins circulated at least in 1820.

2. They were meant as a currency (“Griqua money”, Helm; "amongst all the nations", Campbell) but ended up as mere mission trade token coins.

3. They were a failure and it is hard to tell how long they were used in trade with the mission station.

4. The copper trade tokens probably also circulated at the time, though they aren’t explicitly mentioned and supporting or refuting this claim is pure speculation.

5. The Klaarwater district is simply an ad hoc geographical, not a political or jurisdictional term.

6. Since the Griquas had a vested interest in trade with the mission, it is more likely that the tokens rather would have been used for trade than for labour, though they might have been used for both. Please note that the Dutch currency was decimalised in 1817.

 

Thanks for taking the time to exchange research.

 

Regards

dennrein

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We are in general agreement....

 

Hi Dennrein

 

Without being too pedantic I think we generally agree on most matters that I have been trying to put before the South African numismatic audience for years now.

 

Our points of difference are those based on fact v supposition. As a researcher I think the key comment in all this debate is that by Helm where he says in 1821 that Waterboer (the Chief at Griquatown) could not be paid his salary (in Rijksdaalder) because there was "no money". (Why base his salary on Rijksdaalder when it could have been paid in Griquatown silver tokens?) He then talks about paying Waterboer partly through barter to overcome the shortage of Rijksdaalder. He then states he has "the great majority of the Griqua money/tokens is still in his possession" and wants to know what he should to do with them. (At this stage the silver tokens were most probably repatriated to England and melted down).

 

1. The token coins circulated at least in 1820.
We agree that there is not one reference from that time suggesting a single token ever circulated beyond an initial and short-lived distribution to a few Griqua*. (Prof Arndt and many other academics support the view that no tokens actually circulated). It is clear that an initial attempt to get the coins circulating quickly ran out of steam when the Griqua found they could not trade with it (no trading store). (ie Barter ruled when it came to small items - you could not eat, drink or use a coin to fire a gun so it really was misplaced when one considers the free-range lifestyle of the Griqua). I agree that they were brought to Griquatown in 1820 - probably by Campbell (*I make this observation based on the fact that Helm says he no longer has ALL the tokens but HAS the great majority - ie some were initially distributed).

 

2. They were meant as a currency (“Griqua money”, Helm; "amongst all the nations", Campbell) but ended up as mere mission trade token coins.

We will never know the truth of what form the tokens took (I believe they were day/labour tokens of some form). BUT they were ordered as tokens - as per the1815-16 report cited by Schoeman. In effect, Campbell's comments in his first book on his trip to S Africa is superceded by this direct request for tokens referred to in the 1815-16 report. Helm's reference to "Griqua money" was simply a lazy reference to the tokens.

 

3. They were a failure and it is hard to tell how long they were used in trade with the mission station.
Largely agree but would note that a big question mark sits over any circulation - rather like the Burgerspond - but for very different reasons. I also have a problem with the suggestion that they were used in trade with the mission station because there is not one reference to that anywhere - see my para below on the book "Weapons of Peace"... In fact Waterboer (working for the mission station school) was paid a salary in Rijksdaalder - why was he not paid in tokens?

 

4. The copper trade tokens probably also circulated at the time, though they aren’t explicitly mentioned and supporting or refuting this claim is pure speculation.
Totally agree that my comments are speculation when I say that the copper tokens might have been minted years later from the original dies and might never have been used at Griquatown. I have always made this very clear. Once again I note that the comment "circulated at the time" is also sheer speculation as there is nothing to positively confirm or refute this. In fact my opening paragraph quoting Helm clearly suggests otherwise.

 

5. The Klaarwater district is simply an ad hoc geographical, not a political or jurisdictional term.
The ad hoc geographical district should then be noted as Griquatown - ie not near Kimberley because in the early 1800s Kimberley was a long long way from Klaarwater/Griquatown. By 1820 there was a serious falling out between Cornelius Kok at Campbell (the heart of the Herbert District called the "Klaarwater District" by Hern) half way to Kimberley. There is no doubt the Cornelius Kok faction (Bergenaars) would have had nothing to do with tokens.

 

6. Since the Griquas had a vested interest in trade with the mission, it is more likely that the tokens rather would have been used for trade than for labour, though they might have been used for both. Please note that the Dutch currency was decimalised in 1817.

See my comments above on this issue.

 

I leave you with this thought... the book "Weapons of Peace" the story of William and Johanna Anderson was compiled by his descendant Peter S Anderson. I have spoken to Peter (who now lives in New Zealand) about the Griquatown tokens. He had access to all Anderson's letters and diaries from that time and could not find ONE reference to the tokens. There is no reference to them in this book. You might recall Helm was given the bag of tokens by Anderson so this omission is quite compelling - especially if they were used in trade with the mission.

 

As you say we can never agree on everything but, thanks to your recent research, you have independently confirmed most of what I have been saying.

 

I feel that there is enough doubt regarding the Griquatown tokens for future reference to their "possible" circulation being tempered by the contrary argument reflected in this post. The fact is we will never know for sure. What we do agree on is that the attempt to introduce the tokens was a complete failure and that they did not circulate widely for two years as has been previously suggested.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Important Footnote

 

Dennrein

 

What we must not lose sight of is the fact that Parson in his paper uses ONLY three qualified references, namely: Robert Moffat, John Campbell (his book on his first trip) and David Livingstone (all missionaries).

Parson's paper is scanned at this link: Parson's "The coinage of Griqualand"

 

Campbell's idea about issuing money (as per his book in 1813) was initially rejected by the London Missionary Society (LMS). Based on Parson's research this raised the assumption that Campbell had gone on his own and issued coinage (1815-16). Clearly this was not the case. It is the 1815-16 report to the LMS that confirms the request for silver tokens (unspecified) - that original document would probably answer a lot of questions that are currently unanswered. It must be somewhere in their files. The LMS clearly responded to this second request by the missionaries at Griquatown and issued the silver tokens c1819/20.

 

So the reference to Campbell that make up much of Parson's argument is completely irrelevant.

 

It gets worse.

 

Livingstone first came into the region many, many years after 1820, spent little time at Griquatown despite meeting his wife Mary Moffat (Robert Moffat's daughter) at Campbell. So none of Parson's references to Livingstone reflect the timeframe in focus they just paint a picture he wanted to paint. The same applies to the Moffat references. He only arrived in Griquatown in 1820 but resided north at Kuruman and clearly refers to third party sources like Anderson when suggesting "congregation figures" at Griquatown.

 

What I am saying is that I find Parson's omission of Burchell quite extraordinary. He was a famous naturalist who visited Griquatown in 1812, who accurately recorded and drew what he saw in his book and made the following statement (pg 352 vol one):

 

From the moment when I decided on making Klaarwater in my way to the Interior, I naturally endeavoured to form, in my own mind, some picture of it; and I know not by what mistake it arose, that I should conceive the idea of its being a picturesque spot surrounded by trees and gardens, with a river running through a neat village, where a tall church stood, a distant beacon to mark that Christianity had advanced thus far into the wilds of Africa. But the first glance now convinced me how false may oftentimes be the notions which men form of what they have not seen. The trees of my imagination vanished, leaving nothing in reality but a few which the missionaries themselves had planted; the church sunk to a barn-like building of reeds and mud; the village was merely a row of half a dozen reed cottages; the river was but a rill; and the situation an open, bare, and exposed place, without any appearance of a garden, excepting that of the missionaries.

 

It would be very unfair towards those who have devoted themselves to a residence in a country, where they are cut off from communication with civilized society, and deprived of all its comforts, to attribute this low state of civilization and outward improvement, to a want of solicitude on their part. Their continual complaint, indeed, was of the laziness of the Hottentots, and of the great difficulty there had always been in persuading them to work, either on the buildings or in the garden; and in this complaint there was too much truth.

My disappointment in the appearance of the place arose from expecting, perhaps, too much.....

How much more relevant is Burchell's first hand account than Moffat and Livingstone? Why were his observations totally ignored by Parson. In my mind there are only one or both of the reasons below:

a) He had his own agenda - and his assumptions reflect this

b) His research was not thorough and full of holes.

 

If you look at books by others like Phillip and even Campbell in his abridged journal of travels in South Africa (covering his 1813 trip published in the 1830s) you will see how he OMITS ANY REFERENCE to suggesting coins at that crucial meeting at the newly named Griquatown. Like his second book on his travels the only reference Campbell makes to money at Griquatown is the Rijksdaalder. The Griquatown token does not rate a mention - extraordinary!

 

Relevant scans at this link: Journal of Travels in South Africa - Campbell's revised book on his first trip to S Africa (1834)

 

Once again these facts are not even raised by Parson to give balance to his assumptions (and that is all they are). And despite being given access to LMS records it is only thanks to Schoeman we can now see transcripts of key documents he sighted.

 

It would be fascinating to try to get Schoeman's view on this - I believe he lives in Bloemfontein. He has written many history books and is an accomplished historian.

 

Can anyone track him down?

 

Like you, despite suggestions to the contrary on this thread, I am only interested in the truth.

 

Atkins and Boyne:

 

I have tracked down Boyne (1866) on Google Books at: The silver tokens of Great Britain ... - Google Books - you will notice by searching on "copper" that Boyne continually refers to related copper tokens - but not any Griqua copper pieces.

 

Likewise Atkins (1889): The Coins and Tokens of the ... - Google Books

 

What is interesting is that Atkins ONLY refers to a copper 1/2 ... no 1/4 and the information in his work includes NO details on the size of this coin. Obviously very little was known about it even in 1889. Atkins first raises the idea of a "decimalised currency" with ?? to show he was making assumptions.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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dennrein

More research needed

 

Indeed, it seems that the mystery could only be solved by new sources of information. Research would probably have to go beyond the literature cited by you and me, even though I don't believe it is futile to use common sense. I am still interested in what Hofstede and Gunning have to say on the matter. Do you know? In the end it is a matter of believing or not believing. For instance, I myself still have certain doubts about the authenticity of the copper token coins for the reasons you mentioned. Still, I believe that the circulation question is a matter of definition, and so distribution by means of trade to me is sufficient to use the term circulation. A parallel: Circulation of newspapers means nothing else than selling them. And circulation of money to me means nothing else than exchanging the money for goods. The money doesn't have to change hands again, the first act of trade - money for goods - in itself represents circulation. Thanks again for exchanging views.

 

Regards

dennrein

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Circulation...

 

Hi Dennrein

 

The circulation issue is really a question of degrees. I hear what you say about a newspaper but there is that old saying "today's news is tomorrow's fish and chip wrapper". Obviously that is not the ideal situation for or purpose of a coin! Technically anything distributed is "in circulation" BUT if there is only one transfer of that token from one owner to another (eg the mission station to a Griqua) it is debatable whether it actually "circulated". Interestingly the dictionary definition of "circulate" which I think is most relevant when it comes to coins (and their purpose) is: to flow without obstruction .. circulating(a): passing from one to another; "circulating bills and coins". (Source: Wikipedia)

 

A few years ago I had a lengthy debate over the "circulation" of the Griquatown tokens based on the wear seen on individual coins. My argument has always been that this is nothing more than poor storage or (possibly in the case of the copper pieces) deliberate wear to make them look old.

 

What we do agree on is that a well worn Griquatown token did not get its wear from "circulating" as a coin among the Griqua.

 

Unfortunately I do not have the Hofstede and Guning quotes - but Arndt summarises them in the quote I have supplied earlier. (ie not one token circulated).

 

In my view this comment summarises the circulation issue unless new information comes to light:

The silver Griquatown tokens were a failed experiment. At best they might have had very limited circulation for a brief period of time in 1820, but there are no records to support this. Helm notes in 1821 that he had the great majority of the tokens meaning very few were actually distributed. The copper tokens may not have been minted until much later as no reference is made to them in any reports from that time.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Another telling exclusion....

 

leads to more confirmation...

 

Just received the first edition "The Story of the LMS (London Missionary Society)" by Silvester Horne - 1894 (the book covers the LMS work in Griquatown in great detail.)

 

Not a single reference to the Griquatown token coins.

 

Seems to me the only reference to the tokens circulating is in post-1900 books, and all based on Parson, is South African coin books. Pre-1900 Atkins and Boyne confirm that they know nothing about them or when they circulated - seems like they had no hidden agenda.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Based on fact

 

I am putting forward to the South African numismatic community that the following accurately sums up the role (or lack of it) of the Griquatown tokens in our numismatic history. This follows a lengthy and open debate on this thread. The statement in red below is based on FACT and not assumption:

 

The silver Griquatown tokens were a failed experiment. At best they might have had very limited circulation for a brief period of time in 1820, but there are no records to support this. Helm notes in 1821 that he had the great majority of the tokens meaning very few were actually distributed. The copper tokens may have only been minted, for reasons unknown, many years later as no reference is made to them in any reports dating back to, or before, the early 1820s.

 

Like the earlier coins in the Cape "circulation" was extremely limited not only by their geography but, in relation to the Griquatown tokens, by any proof that they actually circulated at all.

 

This reflects the need for a re-write of early South African numismatic history. I have always stuck to the belief and argument that the Strachan & Co coins (set one and two) - are South Africa's first widely circulating indigenous coins, trading across all traditional boundaries. They were accepted and circulated widely over a large geographic area for nearly sixty years and, thanks to their holing, crossed all traditional barriers when it came to race, position in society or wealth. As a currency they were clearly ahead of their time.

 

My belief has always been based on groundbreaking research and facts.

 

It will be interesting to see how Hern treats the facts about the Griquatown tokens openly discussed here in his next coin book.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Cold Sea

Hi Scott,

 

GRIQUATOWN, Cape: LMS 1802. Originally known as KLAARWATER, the name was changed to GRIQUATOWN in 1813 by the Rev John Campbell. It was visited in October 1811 by William Burchell, who reported extensively upon the village and its inhabitants:

 

"The number of (Khoikhoi) houses immediately round the church, is not greater than twenty-five; but at a distance, within the same valley, nearly as many more are scattered about; and there are three or four at Leeuwenkuil, a place between the mountains, and about a mile and a half distant. Within fifty miles, in various directions, are nearly a dozen other out-posts; but they are not always inhabited: of these, the largest is the Kloof.

 

"The aggregate number of inhabitants at Klaarwater and the out-stations, amounted in the year 1809, as I was informed, to seven hundred and eighty-four souls; and it was supposed that at this time it had not decreased: for, although some had left them and returned into the Cape colony, others had been added from that quarter in an equal proportion. The Koras and (San) living within the Klaarwater district, cannot be considered as belonging to the establishment, since they show no desire to receive the least instruction from the missionaries, nor do they attend their meetings, but continue to remove from place to place, a wild independent people.

 

Burchell referred to Klaarwater District. I am sure you must have read the same passage, as you have quoted from the same journal.

 

Regards

 

Derick

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The Griquatown District

 

Hi Derick

 

Yes Burchell does. He visited Klaarwater in 1811 and his reference to the "Klaarwater District" reflects the immediate district that he describes around the small settlement - not some nebulous undefined area near Kimberley 100 plus kilometres away (as claimed by Hern). The name Klaarwater officially disappeared in 1813 when Klaarwater was renamed Griquatown following Campbell's first visit.

 

The name was changed to celebrate the renaming of the coloured "Bastards" to Griqua. After its change in name you will find no reference to Klaarwater in most maps. The only maps refering to Klaarwater (the Griquatown settlement) after 1813 tend to be poorly researched (like the example scanned earlier in this thread).

 

The area immediately around Griquatown today can be informally called the "Griquatown district" although its magistarial district is HAY. Likewise you can refer to your local suburb (eg "XYZ") as the XYZ District. What is a fact is that there certainly was no Klaarwater district in 1820 and there is no Klaarwater district "near Kimberley" and, as I have said before, there never has been. I am still waiting for someone to prove me wrong.

 

PS Isn't it disturbing that Parson totally ignores the important and relevant comments by Burchell (that you raise)?

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Parson's flawed research

 

In the absence of any further challenges...

 

Apparently we all now agree that Parson's research (which so many more recent coin books base their misplaced claims on) is fundamentally flawed. For those who have taken up my challenge in this thread (and I thank you) I feel they can see some serious issues regarding the Griquatown tokens and their lack of any real (or proven) role in South African numismatics.

 

I thank those who have taken the time to check out my sourced references for themselves because, after thirty years of research, one would think that someone would give an acknowledgement for this research done by me in the best interests of our hobby! The suggestion that I have some "hidden agenda" has now been finally put to rest - there is NO hidden agenda, just FACTS. Those who have come up to the plate and who have challenged me have, by doing so, acknowledged my research in a backhanded sort of way. What you have seen is a number of eminent South African numismatists take me on on my claims and realise that my references are sound and now realise that questions should be asked.

 

Members of this forum would know that for years I have been challenging anyone of note to debate this issue with me in a public setting. We now have - and the facts that I have presented from the start remain unchallenged.

 

Unless I have any further challenges (which I welcome) this is my last post on this thread.

 

In closing, we now agree, based on FACTS: The silver Griquatown tokens were a failed experiment. At best they might have had very limited circulation for a brief period of time in 1820 in the small settlement at Griquatown, but there are no records to support this. Helm notes in 1821 that he had the great majority of the tokens meaning very few were actually distributed. The copper Griquatown tokens may have only been minted, for reasons unknown, many years later as no reference is made to them in any reports dating back to, or before, the early 1820s.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Of tokens and coins

 

Hi Scott,

 

I think that you are arguing the Griqua issue from too pure a currency perspective.

 

I quote directly from “Of revelation and revolution” – J. Comaroff and J.L. Comaroff

 

Quote:

 

”Penny capitalism was the first subject taught in the school, the missionaries trying to create a market ex nihilo by playing shop with the children. In a place devoid of money, merchants, landlords, or produce for sale, they paid rents. Amidst a barter economy, they reckoned their accounts with numerical exactitude. In their campaign to reorient perceptions of worth and to promote exchange, moreover, they often provided coin so that it could be returned to the church in measured subscriptions. Beck (1989:223) reports that, in the 1820’s the Methodists on the eastern Cape frontier encouraged offerings of beads and buttons that would be calculated in shillings and pence according to current “nominal” values.

 

The evangelists would also deploy other means to foster a respect for money. At issue, as we have said, was a moral economy in which its talents measured the output of enterprise and enabled the conversion of wealth into virtue. If there was no cash in the African interior it had to be invented – or its existence feigned. The evidence shows that, even when little coinage was in circulation, the missionaries used it as an invisible standard, a virtual currency, against which to tally the worth of goods, donations and services.

 

At issue in the small grinding of the mills was the effort to encourage calculation. Counting – adding up, that is, the margins of profit and loss – enabled accounting, the form of stocktaking that epitomized puritan endeavor.

 

(The Griqua currency) was clearly intended not only to foster local trade, but also to establish a regional cash currency – and with it a sense of regionality.

 

Parsons (1927:199) stressed this point in explaining why he referred to these pieces as “coins” rather than “tokens” The currency was obviously meant as “a national issue of money not only for Griqualand but also for the tribes round about.”

 

Unquote

 

The Griqua currency might not have circulated as widely as Campbell had hoped, but to discount the currency as a failed experiment cannot be true.

 

Regards

Edited by Cold Sea

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Nothing changes

 

Hi Derick

 

I would put the views of Dr Frank Mitchell ahead of any other numismatist I know. Even though he based the article below partly on Parson's flawed research (which I have demonstrated earlier in this thread to be assumptive and not based on fact); he does, however, makes the following key statement which I fully agree with:

 

"They (the Griqua) had no real use for money (the "1815" Griquatown token coins) and it seems DOUBTFUL if the coins ever circulated".

 

You can see his full 1978 article in the magazine "Antiques in South Africa" at:

http://www.tokencoins.com/griqua/mitcha.gif

http://www.tokencoins.com/griqua/mitchb.gif

http://www.tokencoins.com/griqua/mitchc.gif

 

You will also see that he refers to only one Griquatown token ever being found in South Africa. One can presume from this fact that the rest came from overseas. If the token coins had indeed circulated then, surely, one would have expected many more pieces to have been found in South Africa. Mitchell actually says on the last page of his article that his set was acquired from sellers in the UK and America after many years of diligent correspondence and searching.

 

I have highlighted the major points in red in this article which can be factually shown to be incorrect - they are clearly based on Parson.

 

Regarding their purpose tokens or coins - the Missionaries themselves in their only reference to the coins at that time call them tokens. Clearly that's what they were - and a failed experiment at that.

 

The enigma remains - who minted the bronze 1/2 and 1/4 and why? They are not referred to by the missionaries at Griquatown - only the silver pieces are. Regardless, in my view, these tokens are a complete furphy in the early history of South African coinage.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Cold Sea

First decimal currency

 

One of the labours of the LMS was to introduce Western education. The basic curriculum of the three “R’s”, reading, writing and arithmetic, in conjunction with the fourth “R”, religion, would have been followed.

 

With these basic skills, the indigenous people would be able to read (the bible), count, take stock, trade and importantly pay their dues to the church. Government funding of mission education only started in 1841.

 

Finger counting on two hands is said to be the reason for the existence of the decimal (base 10) system. It follows that the term digit was derived from this practice (one finger = one digit).

 

Griqua coins were struck in 4 denominations, 10, 5, ½ and ¼.

 

From this we can easily deduce that the 10 and 5 denominations were to be used in conjunction with the practice of finger counting. (One hand = 5 fingers, two hands = 10 fingers). This is even more clear when you look at the design of the IIIII (5) denomination.

 

The ½ and ¼ denominations are consistent with “Whole Number and Fractions” arithmetic. With all this, the currency could now be used as an educational tool, as well as a circulating medium.

 

That the Griqua currency, intentionally or otherwise was a decimal system, is a logical conclusion. The statement then, that it was “the first South African attempt at a decimal coinage”, must be correct.

Edited by Cold Sea

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Assumption does not mean correct

 

Hi Nick

 

What I find interesting about this debate in this thread is the FACT that even when I quote direct from transcripts of correspondence from that time or from contemporary books (and provide sources) to support what I say some people on this forum continue to believe what they read in coin books by Engelbrecht, Parson et al. Their responses are most often like your quote below - ie based on assumption - which is based on your interpretation best suited to support your beliefs; there are no FACTS to support what you claim. That's your call but to call that assumption CORRECT is simply wrong!

That the Griqua currency, intentionally or otherwise was a decimal system, is a logical conclusion. The statement then, that it was “the first South African attempt at a decimal coinage”, must be correct.

I would draw your attention to this thread on this forum: http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-notes-numismatist/9958-griquatown-day-half-day-tokens.html

 

The logic here is far more sound. Furthermore, as discussed earlier in this thread, there are some questions as to whether the 1/4 and 1/2 Griquatown tokens ever even arrived at Griquatown.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Decimal Dan stands proud

 

Hi Scott,

 

I meant to include that the statement I referred to was made by Dr Mitchell.

 

Your criticism of my conclusion seems strange, as you yourself commented, in bold capital letters, “NEVER”, to the decimal suggestion in Dr Mtchell's article.

 

I will bore you and quote a paragraph I had to go look up again:

 

“It is also true that in many cases legitimate questions of interpretation may arise when various scholars see the significance of the same piece of evidence differently. Therefore what I am objecting to is not the occasional mistake, questionable usage, or issues of genuine interpretation. Rather, it is the systematic use or misuse of source texts to support a grand theory without regard to the context and clear intent of the original sources. Such practices ignore historical methods for the purpose of promoting an ideology.”

 

Whether coinage or day tokens, I am trying to improve the argument for the decimal theory. A bland “NEVER” doesn’t add any value.

 

Regards

 

Derick (or Nick or whatever)

Edited by Cold Sea

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Try some research on the subject...

 

Hi Derick

 

Let me know when you have read the posts in this thread and studied the related sources.

 

I am not going to go over issues already discussed here in some detail.

 

Once you have a better understanding of the topic I will happily debate it with you.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Cold Sea

Hi Scott, below some of your opinion pieces:

 

Claim: Another first is the fact that this was the first decimal series used in South Africa.

Fact: The values indicate time or labour not a decimal value (eg 10 = ten hours or one day; 1/4 = 15 minutes) nothing to do with a "decimal currency".

 

And

 

Another first is the fact that this was the first decimal series used in South Africa

 

WRONG - I would like to see his credible source for such an extraordinary claim! It does not exist because they never were used as currency and as Helm points out (see Schoeman below) one of the reasons they were never circulated was because NO VALUE was ever agreed on for the silver pieces and no traders would accept them. (The bronze coins never rate a mention).

 

And

 

The so-called Griqua "decimal coinage" reflects how extreme the assumptions have become!

 

PS The furphy about the Griquatown coins being the FIRST DECIMAL COINAGE was not suggested by Parsons (see my post below) but assumed many years later by another writer - since then this assumption somehow became fact. Prior to this books such as that written by Wm D Simpson "Muntstukkie, Waar Kom Jy Vandaan" (1951) suggested that the values of "Five" and "Ten" on the Griquatown tokens were tied up with counting the fingers on our hand.

 

Fact,Wrong, Furphy. NEVER. All strong words.

 

Once you have a better understanding of the term, disprove the decimal theory with a credible explanation.

Edited by Cold Sea

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We are on the same page :)

 

Hi Derick

 

You say

PS The furphy about the Griquatown coins being the FIRST DECIMAL COINAGE was not suggested by Parsons (see my post below) but assumed many years later by another writer - since then this assumption somehow became fact. Prior to this books such as that written by Wm D Simpson "Muntstukkie, Waar Kom Jy Vandaan" (1951) suggested that the values of "Five" and "Ten" on the Griquatown tokens were tied up with counting the fingers on our hand.
I totally agree; we are on the same page :)

 

All you need is a misplaced paper with FACTUALLY INCORRECT information being accepted carte blanche (ie Parson) to see a multitude of weird suggestions being put forward in an attempt to justify the claim that they circulated!

 

The "decimal coinage" theory is a perfect example of this.

 

If you go on the web and view this link: Decimal Day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia you will see that the first time "decimal coinage" was ever even considered in the UK was in 1824 - long after the Griquatown tokens came and went.. with NOT ONE token (in my view) ever circulating.

 

QUOTE from Wikipedia link above: Following the rejection by Parliament of Lord Wrottesley's proposals to decimalise sterling in 1824 (prompted by the introduction in 1795 of the decimal French franc), little practical progress towards decimalisation was made for over a century, with the exception of the two-shilling silver florin (worth 1/10 of a pound) first issued in 1849. A double florin or four-shilling piece was a further step in that direction but failed to gain acceptance and was struck only from 1887 to 1890.

 

It is quite logical that the Missionaries had to find a token coin system that the Griqua (a community who had no understanding of "western ways") could relate to.

 

To suggest that they were taught fractions (ie bronze 1/4 and 1/2) as you suggest above is laughable. Most Griqua back then still wore loin cloths and spent their lives hunting in the bush and herding livestock. They had no interest in maths, science or geomorphology; as long as food was on their table they were happy.

 

A time based system implemented by the Missionaries could have worked because the Griqua could relate to the rise and setting of the sun. (ie Half day silver IIIII (five hours) token and full day 10 (ten hours) token). The size of the coins would be the discerning factor IF they could trade them for goods.

 

If you weight the silver Griquatown tokens you will see that they weigh less than their counterparts in the silver coins of the Crown.

 

THAT would be the problem with their value when it came to boer traders to the south - who REFUSED to accept these silver coins - the reason they never circulated and are not mentioned ONCE in any of the many books written by the Missionaries of that region who brought them into the Griqua community - books dating back to that time.

 

The overriding problem was that there was nowhere to trade the token coins. Read Campbell's own comments in his travels where he says "if FIRST a trading store was to be established among them". THIS missing trading catalyst is what separates the successful Strachan and Co trade tokens from the Griquatown tokens. It isn't rocket science :)

 

As I have mentioned in this thread there is NO record of the bronze 1/4 and 1/2 ever being issued c1820 for use at Griquatown. They could well be the biggest fraud in South African numismatics (ie minted long after and sold as "Griquatown coins") In Parsons booklet you will see that he says earlier numismatists (1800s) make NO reference to the bronze Griquatown token coin pieces.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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