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Coin Club in Pretoria

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Just a thanks for all you guys that came to the first coinclub meeting in Pretoria. Feedback has been brilliant and a congrats to each one that attended. Special thanks to Werner as well

Just a little bit more on the discusion around the 1900 restriked pond we discussed. I found some info this morning which we did not know. The original dies was bought as scrap metal by Peter (surname with held as he is still alive) and he paid a full R40 for them. He then sold them to a dealer who has passed away . They were then bought by Mr Van Niekerk. The gold they used was melted ponde from various years and that was why the mint always agreed that it was a real pond, plus the fact that he kept on sending them a real one. Very clever. And as you know he never transgress the law in making them as it was genuine dies with genuine Zar gold pond.

We will inform you of our next meeting next month. Please remember to help newbies with as much honest info as possible.


Thanks again for all the intrest shown

Morne van Dyk

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Hi Morne,


I am looking to learn more about gold and silver coins as an investment. I live in Muckleneuk, Pretoria and see you have a coin club. How do I join?


Thank you





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The Perfect Forgery


Newsletter 5 - The Inside Story of The Perfect Forgery


The following is an article that was done for me by the late Eli Levine.


In 1968, one Gerhard Van Niekerk caused great excitement in the numismatic fraternity of South Africa. He said that he had found the legendary Kruger Millions in Europe, and had brought them back to South Africa. He sold magnificent 1900 Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek Ponde to any takers for the bargain price of R30 each compared to the going price of R40 each for uncirculated Kruger Ponde. The value of the gold in each coin was then around R6.50. They were absolutely beautiful, magnificently struck brilliant proof like uncirculated coins. The breast of the eagle was full, as in the 1892 and 1893 Ponde and its claws were very clear and well defined. The claws were in fact, even better than those of the proof 1892 ZAR Ponde. Although the general comment was that these coins were too good to be true, no one suspected the truth.


Suddenly, some numismatists deduced that these coins must be forgeries, since the master dies from which the working dies were produced were becoming more and more worn over the years and from 1895 onwards the detail of the eagle’s breast, and of its claws appeared flatter and flatter as the years went by. The only 1900 Ponde that had been seen until the arrival of the ‘Kruger Millions’ coins had very flat breast and claw detail.


Perhaps for the wrong reason, the right answer was arrived at. The coins were slated as FORGERIES!


“I am sick and tired of them yapping at my heals†Van Niekerk told me, so I gave one of the coins to the S.A Mint and told them to test it. They could do what they liked with it, even cut it up, but in the end, they must tell me whether it’s a genuine or a forgery. Lo and behold, the Mint issued a certificate stating that the coin was GENUINE.


For a number of years, Van Niekerk gaily sold his precious coins with copies of the Mint’s certificate. Researchers such as Matthy Esterhuisen of the Natural Cultural History and Open Air Museum and myself determined various characteristics that proved beyond any doubt that the Van Niekerk Ponde were in fact FORGERIES.


The information was published in one of Bickels monthly numismatic magazines, and in my book, Coinage and Counterfeits of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Matthy and I came, inter alia to the following conclusions:


1. The dies were magnificent new genuine ones produced for the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek Mint by the Berlin Mint., but never put into commission by the ZAR, due, no doubt to the Anglo Boer War. Somehow or the other, Van Niekerk managed to get hold of a pair of these new dies.

2. If the ZAR Mint had issued the new dies, the breasts and the claws of each Ponde would have been full and perfect.

3. The dies must have suffered some damage, probably rust, and were ineffectively reconstructed by the forger. This proved to be the ultimate give away.

4. Irregularities include deficient rim ridges, faulty reconstructed beading and denticles and the disappearance of part of the upper loop of the nine of the date due the sandpapering or the polishing of the die. There are also blobs and striations (lines) that would never appear on the genuine coin.


How come then did the S.A Mint certify the coin as GENUINE?


I pondered this long and hard while writing Coinage and Counterfeits of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Suddenly the answer hit me. Van Niekerk had given the Mint a genuine coin and not one from his own hoard. Van Niekerk might have continued to sell the “Kruger Millions†Ponde with impunity but for the fact he was a great womaniser. As an act of revenge, his wife told the police of the story of the stolen dies and the forgeries. They raided his shop in 1976 and closed it.


I was called as a State Witness at the trial, as were other prominent numismatists such as Dr Bickel. Dr Annadale gave evidence for the accused. The hearing was completed and the case was postponed for judgement. It seemed that Van Niekerk would be acquitted, so a former school teacher who had at one time been a partner of Van Niekerk, and who could not tolerate this possibility went to the police. He told them that if they took him to Italy, he would show them where the gold had been bought and where the forgeries had been struck and where the dies were buried.


The police returned to South Africa with the stolen dies and all the evidence needed to secure a conviction. Van Niekerk’s advocate insisted that the magistrate had to make his judgement on the facts before him, since the hearing of evidence had been closed and the trial could not be re-opened for further evidence. There was talk of Van Niekerk being re-arrested as he left the court, and of the new evidence being presented at a new trial. The magistrate found Van Niekerk GUILTY of FORGERY, but postponed sentence for five years. There appears to have been some form of plea-bargaining, and Van Niekerk agreed to close his shop permanently and never to deal in coins again. Van Niekerk retired to Durban where he sold works of Art, no doubt all genuine. He died before the return date for sentence. His 1900 forgeries enjoy the unusual distinction of being far better than the genuine coin.


Do you possess a genuine or a forged 1900 Pond. Well if you have one with well defined eagles breasts and if it looks prroflike, then the possibility is, you have one of the Van Niekerk forgeries. I have two of these coins in my collection which I purchased many years ago from a dealer as such.



Anthony G

The measure of a numismatist is not how much he profits from the hobby,

but how much the hobby profits from him.

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