Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Guest Guest

Reality check - videos with 2 key people confirm Griquatown tokens NEVER circulated.

Recommended Posts

Guest Guest

Nothing went unsaid

 

Hi Mike

 

I hear what you are saying but here is the simple reason the GQT tokens NEVER circulated at Griquatown.

 

If a man was converted at Griquatown it was the subject of lengthy letters from the resident Missionaries; if a shard of wheat was stolen it was widely reported; the financials of the mission at Griquatown were documented to the last Rijksdaalder or kilo of ivory (yes.. even ivory given to the Mission in lieu of money is documented)... in short every little success became a major story in these remote parts where hardly anything ever happened. There is no shortage of letters from the Griquatown Missionaries of that time.

 

The only reference to GQT coins in ANY correspondence AFTER Campbell's second visit in 1820 is WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM? EVERY other reference is to the trade in Rijksdaalder and payment of Waterboer in Rijksdaalder at Griquatown.

 

One can romanticise and fantasize but the reality is if even ONE GQT token had been circulated it would have been the subject of discussion and much breast thumping in many many letters.

 

None ever touched the GQT - the only reference is Campbell's plaintiff letter in 1820 stating that he needed to find a trading store south of the Orange to accept the tokens to give them purpose.

 

He never did.

 

How much simpler can I make it?

The reason we can find NO record of them at that time is because they did NOT succeed - the Missionaries covered every other aspect of their lives at Griquatown in great detail.

 

In other words - consider this fact - there is not one piece of evidence that even one ever circulated - so how can we say they circulated widely when (if they had) the Missionaries letters would have been bristling with reports of their success?

 

To suggest it happened 200 years ago and "no one knows the truth" disregards this simple fact. All that Waterboer in the video in my post opening this thread states is the obvious:...

 

ie

1) a few were given to Andries Waterboer (the Chief) who could do nothing with them

2) these tokens were kept in the family

3) Helm writes to the LMS requesting instructions after the Griqua refused to accept any more

4) these were repatriated to England

5) they were auctioned to recouperate costs and landed up as chips in some cheap gambling hall in England

6) these tokens suddenly take a quantum shift in reality when Parsons publishes his report

7) collectors (in effect) pay mega bucks for illegal gambling chips

 

It ain't rocket science :))

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

Robert Moffat's 2/6

 

I forgot to enclose this link to the photo I took of Robert Moffat's coin when I visited the Kuruman Mission back in 2006 (in the same locked cabinet)...

 

See: http://www.griquas.com/2006/22Sep/029.jpg

 

Now look at the Kuruman Mission video taken a few weeks ago... linked above

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Klee

Hi Scott,

 

The loss/theft of this half-crown is unforgiveable.

 

I had a similar experience many years back in Mauritius. In 1979 I became acquainted with a wonderful Frenchman by the name of Pierre de Sornay, who was Mauritian and the manager of a sugar plantation at Flic en Flac. Pierre had been the chairman of the Mauritius Underwater Club and had found and salvaged 66 pieces of Ming porcelain - 33 pieces of which were given to the museum in Port Louis -from a Dutch shipwreck (The Banda, wrecked in 1615) off the coast of the sugar plantation.

 

About 1985 I visited Mauritius, went to the Port Louis and to the museum, but was disappointed to not see a single piece of Ming porcelain from this treasure trove of 33 pieces. Puzzled, I asked the curator about this. The curator obligingly took me to a storage room, pulled out a rickety wooden step-ladder and handed pieces of beautiful Ming porcelain to his son (who was about 7 or 8 years old) to give to me. I was impressed, but disappointed that most were broken and many had bits of elastoplast sticking the broken pieces back together.

 

Upon returning home to Port Elizabeth, I phoned Pierre - who was now living in Pretoria - and said that I thought he was sly giving the Mauritius museum 33 specimens of broken Ming porcelain. "Mike!" he replied. "The 33 pieces we gave them were all perfect, with not a chip or a crack on them".

 

Sad...but true.

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Klee

Hi Scott,

 

One other thing that leads me to believe that the GQT coins circulated, and that is my knowledge of the hoard of coins that a friend bought from an antique furniture dealer in the Eastern Cape about a year or two ago. The furniture dealer had bought some very old furniture in the interior of the Eastern Cape and, when he was examining this furniture back in Uitenhage, he found a cache of coins very well hidden away. These were:

- a one stuiver, about 5mm thick and with VOC on it

- a coin with Arabic writing on it

- a silver 10 stuiver dated 1786

- a gulden also dated 1786

- a very flat coin dated 1673, "W" at the top, "S" bottom left, "A" bottom right and "1673" at the very bottom

AND

- a GQT 10 "pence"

What a find! Eugene bought these coins and showed them to me, with my thinking at the time what a "time capsule" this represented. So......this is definitely one GQT silver coin that did not make it back to Europe...

 

Lastly, the copper GQT coins that I have heard of in various collections are frequently found in South Africa itself, and often in worn condition. I also know of a farmer from the Orange Free State who has retired in Mossel Bay and who has a GQT copper coin, obtained in the OFS.

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

Donations to Museums

 

Hi Mike

 

That is so sad...

 

The bottom line is NEVER donate anything to a museum in Africa.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

The essence of numismatics

 

Hi Mike

 

What a find! Eugene bought these coins and showed them to me, with my thinking at the time what a "time capsule" this represented. So......this is definitely one GQT silver coin that did not make it back to Europe...

 

Lastly, the copper GQT coins that I have heard of in various collections are frequently found in South Africa itself, and often in worn condition. I also know of a farmer from the Orange Free State who has retired in Mossel Bay and who has a GQT copper coin, obtained in the OFS.

 

I really enjoyed your last post.. that reflects the very essence of numismatics.. pondering the history of a coin..

 

That is what got me so excited many years ago when I first came across the S&Co - I have a few collections of S&CO based on their journey - the one from Tom Mullins that came from the Umzimkhulu Magistrates Court; the 2/- that I believe originated from the arrest of le Fleur's followers back in the early 1900s.. etc.

 

While one can only speculate on each coin's journey we can use common sense and research to see that the GQT tokens never circulated at Griquatown.. the few that have been found in S Africa could well have originated from the missionaries - we will never know. The rest - I firmly believe have a very different journey totally unrelated to S Africa.

 

Perhaps it is important to some people to identify and keep the "S African" tokens separate from the imports...

 

To me it is inconsequential as, as I have said before, the last thing they were is numismatic pieces. A few trinkets might have originated from Griquatown (the South African connection); and the rest? most probably gambling chips from 1800 England.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

PS

 

Later this week I will post a video here of the historic Spioenkop site which was such a major part of South Africa's history.... I went there a few weeks ago and was appalled by what I saw.

 

That was where the Boers slaughtered hundreds of English soldiers serving under Buller when he tried to relieve Ladysmith during the Boer war.

 

The relevance is ... you need to take a four wheel drive or tank to get there today and be aware of the large number of bulls which now call Spioenkop home! My wife and I were the ONLY visitors on a Sunday (midday)......

 

This simply reflects what is happening to history under your noses.. I would be interested to know when someone on BoB in Natal last visited Spioenkop... the catalyst for that amazing and haunting Irish song "Danny boy"

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

Warm up to shocking Spioenkop video

 

For those who collect ZAR coins and enjoy the history of the Boers and the Boer War...

 

This is what is happening right now at one of the most famous battlefields - Spioenkop, in western Natal (near Ladysmith)..

 

Before I post the video I took a few weeks ago I want you to look at these photos from 2006:

 

1) The metal cable used to guide you right hand side of pic - now missing/stolen at this point (see the video)

 

2) The guide cable properly secured - the stays have been ripped out ready for stealing - much has already been stolen...

 

3) No cattle on the hill - today Spioenkop is pasture for a large herd of bulls with feed trays

 

4) No mention or photos of the road in 2006 - reflecting it was in good condition then... look at it today!

 

5) No signage for the road to the battle of Spioenkop..

All 2006 photos of Spioenkop here.....

 

I will post the video later today...

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

Spioenkop today....

 

Video taken earlier this month:

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwither
Hi John

 

I hear what you are saying but we have very different philosophies.

 

To me NUMISMATICS - the love of coins and their history - is what drives me. To you it is the profit and investment angle - based on outdated technical criteria.

 

I have to say that I am surprised that Wall Street have not yet devised an ETF on Americas top 100 most "valuable" numismatic items... maybe they have. In my view legalised gambling has totally destroyed the integrity of sport - like the current rugby union world cup so why not add a Wall Street gambling slant on global hobbies? (BTW I believe S Africa should have won - and that we had a key player backing an Australian loss but nothing beats the man who blows the whistle).

 

My perspective and interest has always been and always will be the HISTORY behind coins - that is the point I was trying to make to Mike in my post above.

 

Would a South African coin collector be tempted to start collecting Chinese coins? I doubt it. For potential indigenous collectors the chasm between the ZAR and the early trading tokens used by the forefathers of South Africa's new empire builders is wider than the Pacific Ocean. That is why hundreds of worthless Mandelas are being slabbed - a misdirection of interest and history. The dealer who educates the indigenous collector on the key role trade tokens played in THEIR history will be the one who embraces this emerging market of collectors.

 

I think you made the point that South Africa is a small market as far as US collectors are concerned so, perhaps, the attention of serious collectors in South Africa should be aimed more at indigenous history where a whole new field of financially empowered indigenous people live and buy Porsches day by day...l was passed by quite a few when I travelled across the country from JHBG to Griquatown, Philippolis to Bloem, CT to Kokstad, Durban to the KNP in my rented "wheelbarrow"!!

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

 

Actually, I do not disagree with you as much as you think. But I think that you will agree with me that there is a big difference between a coin collector and a numismatist. I am not really a numismatist and never have claimed to be one. I would say that you are at least numismatist as much as a collector.

 

I do study some of my series, but frankly, there is not much to learn from available sources. I have one reference book for my Spanish colonial pillars and it is one of the best I have ever seen for any coin series. But outside of this one and Alex's Nomisma, I have not seen any others. Most supposed "reference" books are really glorified price guides or contain basic information that is really not that interesting at all.

 

I would say that these items that interest you and which are the subject of this topic have potential as a niche market. I agree with you that some of the South African native population are likely to be express an interest in these items, but I do not think it will likely be many but how many will be dependent upon a few factors that require answers that I cannot give now.

 

First, there is the general question of how many Black South Africans will collect anything, whether coins or anything else. I know that there are some collectors of African art (and yes, coins are a form of art) but I cannot tell you whether it is mainly Blacks and if so, whether in Africa or elsewhere. I suspect elsewhere because of money. For a variety of reasons, I believe that the proportion of future Balck collectors in South Africa will be very low.

 

Second, for those who do collect, I like you would expect them to focus on the post-1994 coinage.

 

Third, depending upon how scarce these items are, that could also be an impediment. The reason for this is that, if these items (or at least some of them) are as scarce as I understand them to be, most people are not in the habit of pursuing something that is either very difficult or essentially impossible to complete if the items cannot be found. That is another reason in addition to those I gave, that I would not expect a very large number to pursue this as a series.

 

If you look at the coins I collect, this is true of all of them except South Africa. So I do not want anyone here to think that I am applying one standard to these or South African coins generally and a second to others.

 

The Bolivia silver decimal coinage, almost no one collects. A specialist dealer in Latin coinage that I know once told me that he knew of maybe three others besides me. With the Spanish pillars, most collectors focus on the crown sized 8R simply because they are bigger and possibly, many collectors are not even aware that the minors even exist. These coins are VASTLY scarcer generally than the 8R but except for the 4R, almost always much cheaper. My goal is to acquire as many of these as I can of the approximately 80+ coins there are for each denomination in the best grade I can. But by "best", presumably like some of these that you like, it is not a question of MS or even AU because I do not think that many of my coins even exist in this quality. I would guess that I am one of a handful collectors anywhere who are interested in this pursuit which is why the prices are so low.

 

As for the US, what I just described is very typical of collectors here in my opinion. I do not communicate with others here except through the NGC Message Boards but I would say that the vast majority do one of two things. Either they collect a series that is easy to complete which is most of them. Or, they create what I would describe as an artificially difficult challenge. The latter is also common though less so but I believe it accounts with the obsession with slabbed and toned coins and die varieties. If these did not exist, then anyone with the money could go out complete their collection for the cheaper coins in a matter of days or at most weeks.

Edited by jwither

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

Anyone know an 1800s gambling salon with the initials "FA"?

 

Well... well...

 

Two very worn (circulated?) Griquatown "1/4 penny" tokens were offered for sale by Noble Auctions in Australia..

 

only one sold for $750 .. the other went UNSOLD

 

Both have an overstrike with the initials "FA"

 

So now we just have to find the (FA) gambling salon and we will discover where the Griquatown tokens ACTUALLY circulated...

 

Here is the Noble Auctions link

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Klee

Hi Scott,

 

You are right: both GQT coins are very worn. And what is the possibility that these very, very worn GQT farthings had seen such great circulation as currency that the letters "FA" were stamped onto their almost completely worn faces to show that they were "FA"rthings ? It is too bad that there were not well worn GQT half-pennies on sale with the initials "HA". :biggrin:

Out of interest, I went on a battlefied trip to the Hopetown/ Kimberley area and was very interested to find that during the Boer War the Australians were quite active in this area - where GQT coins could have well circulated. Like the gold 15 rupiens which were minted in Tabora, German East Africa and were collected as mementos by the South African troops when Tabora was eventually captured, I am sure that Aussies would have taken home lots of souvenirs - including (well worn) GQT coins.

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dennrein

Two points

 

Thank you, Scott Balson, for your ventures into the history of South African numismatics. It shows that you have a passion for the stories behind coins and tokens.

 

I find it a pity, however, that some of my arguments from our last exchange – see here – for example that missionaries and Griqua were constantly trading regardless of whether there was a trading store or not (see the cited literature!), are ignored in these last posts. I understand that you are fighting for recognition of your theory but arguments that are weakened by factual evidence should in my opinion not be repeated.

 

There are two points I’d like to make:

 

1.

The copper coins on auction seem to support your assumption that the Griqua copper coins might not have been amongst the batch Campbell brought to Griquatown in 1819/20 but never made it to South Africa or were put to some other use, e.g. casino chips or token coins somewhere else.

 

There’d be an interesting parallel in Canadian numismatics. Thomas Halliday (who also produced the Griquatown dies!) manufactured a batch of token coins between 1812 and 1814, destined for use in England. He produced farthings, half pennies and pennies. Only the halfpennies were actually circulated in Canada by Montreal merchant Richard Hurd as tokens. The other denominations were imported by Canadian collectors after 1870. This might have happened to the bronze Griqua coins as well, explaining why they only appeared on the numismatic scene decades later and also explaining why some of them were worn.

 

The strongest evidence against this assumption is, however, provided by your own video of Nicholas Waterboer who confirms that “some of the eldest” Griquatown inhabitants were in possession of copper Griqua coins. This certainly cannot refer to the copper patterns from the 1890’s but to the earlier issues, which would mean that Campbell indeed did bring the copper coins to the Griqua after all.

 

2.

The Griquatown coins have to be seen in a broader context. You will notice that I have chosen the word coins instead of tokens. That was different in our previous discussion and I’ll explain why.

 

The coin dies were produced at Thomas Halliday’s workshop in 69 Newhall Street, Birmingham, somewhere between 1813 and 1819. Halliday was a prolific die manufacturer, crafting hosts of British medal, token and commercial coin dies. Commercial coins? To understand the difference between tokens and commercially manufactured coins, you have to picture the time at which this is set. By the 1780’s, British industry was experiencing a severe shortage in small change. This applied to silver and copper coins. Between 1775 and 1821, no copper coins were produced by the Royal Mint at all. This led to two developments: mass counterfeiting and commercial coin manufacture. According to Sargent and Velde (2002: p. 271), a sample of copper coins collected by the Mint in 1787 only contained eight percent of coins with “some tolerable resemblance of the king’s coin”. By 1797, twenty private mints had struck 600 tons of commercial copper coins (Selgin 2009: p. 308). Commercial coins were also struck in silver from 1811.

 

The special thing about commercial coins was that they could be redeemed in legal tender, as opposed to trade tokens (Selgin 2009: p. 308). They were as good as the real thing and they constituted up to half of the copper coinage in circulation in Britain around the turn of the nineteenth century. If we bear this in mind, there is a distinct difference between regular tokens issued by a storekeeper to encourage customers to buy from his store only and commercial money meant to replace official money where there is a shortage in small change.

 

In my opinion, Campbell meant the Griqua coins to be the equivalent of commercial money because if there was a shortage in small coins in Britain this would have been much worse at the fringes of the empire. As he himself stated, the coins were meant to “circulate among all the nations round about” (Campbell 1815: p. 256). Accordingly, Campbell would have had the model of commercial coinage at the back of his mind when he introduced the coins in Griquatown in 1819/20. This is why I now refer to them as coins, rather than tokens. That the coins never properly caught on is a different matter.

 

Regards

dennrein

Edited by dennrein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cold Sea

If you read the notes properly, you will see that both coins are the same item, listed on different auction dates.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

The copper pieces

 

Hi Dennrein you say...

 

The Griquatown coins have to be seen in a broader context. You will notice that I have chosen the word coins instead of tokens. That was different in our previous discussion and I’ll explain why.

 

The coin dies were produced at Thomas Halliday’s workshop in 69 Newhall Street, Birmingham, somewhere between 1813 and 1819. Halliday was a prolific die manufacturer, crafting hosts of British medal, token and commercial coin dies. Commercial coins? To understand the difference between tokens and commercially manufactured coins, you have to picture the time at which this is set. By the 1780’s, British industry was experiencing a severe shortage in small change. This applied to silver and copper coins. Between 1775 and 1821, no copper coins were produced by the Royal Mint at all. This led to two developments: mass counterfeiting and commercial coin manufacture. According to Sargent and Velde (2002: p. 271), a sample of copper coins collected by the Mint in 1787 only contained eight percent of coins with “some tolerable resemblance of the king’s coin”. By 1797, twenty private mints had struck 600 tons of commercial copper coins (Selgin 2009: p. 308). Commercial coins were also struck in silver from 1811.

 

The special thing about commercial coins was that they could be redeemed in legal tender, as opposed to trade tokens (Selgin 2009: p. 308). They were as good as the real thing and they constituted up to half of the copper coinage in circulation in Britain around the turn of the nineteenth century. If we bear this in mind, there is a distinct difference between regular tokens issued by a storekeeper to encourage customers to buy from his store only and commercial money meant to replace official money where there is a shortage in small change.

 

In my opinion, Campbell meant the Griqua coins to be the equivalent of commercial money because if there was a shortage in small coins in Britain this would have been much worse at the fringes of the empire. As he himself stated, the coins were meant to “circulate among all the nations round about” (Campbell 1815: p. 256). Accordingly, Campbell would have had the model of commercial coinage at the back of his mind when he introduced the coins in Griquatown in 1819/20. This is why I now refer to them as coins, rather than tokens. That the coins never properly caught on is a different matter.

 

First I love your posts because they are thought through and researched... thank you!

 

From your post I see one main point - were the Griquatown tokens issued as coins OR tokens?

 

We can speculate on whether the coins circulated or not or where they circulated... you have seen my argument which has certainly made collectors rethink their position on the role of these failed token coins. The interview with Waterboer reflects my determination to resolve this issue - and I believe the words from Hetta Hager and Waterboer amply does.

 

With regards to the issue of the tokens.. I would again refer you to Karel Schoeman's book "The Mission at Griquatown 1801-1821" (you can get a copy online). Schoeman is a highly respected historian who lives in Bloemfontein. The book is a collection of direct transcripts from London Missionary Society papers, Missionary letters (including Helm and Campbell) etc...

 

I have transcribed the references to coins in the book at this link

 

I don't see how any argument can override the intention of the Missionaries who requested the Griquatown token coins (for the first time) in 1816...

 

Here is the relevant extract from Schoeman's book - note in particular the last word highlighted in red below:

 

in the 1815-16 report from the LMS Society in Griquatown? and also in this same report... (pg 85 Schoeman) An auxilliary mission has been established in Griqua Town, the subscribers to which, having no money, (for money is utterly unknown in that part of the world) have contributed property which is to be sold for the benefit of the Society. The following is a list of the subscriptions: elephant's teeth, 30 pounds; nine young bulls; four hefers; one ox; twehty three sheep; five goats. To remedy the inconvenience sustained by the people (who have now made considerable progress in civilization) by their want of a circulating medium, the Directors are now procuring for them a coinage of silver tokens.

 

Few points:

1) In my view Campbell was the "delivery boy" who came over with the tokens in 1820.

2) There was NO money in 1815 - just barter - this debunks Parsons claims and all those who parroted them ever since in their books that they circulated at this time.

3) They were issued as TOKENS but only a few were initially accepted as trinkets - and never circulated at Griquatown.

4) The great majority were returned some time later and used somewhere in England - probably in a gambling hall.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

PS

 

Dennrein says....

 

I find it a pity, however, that some of my arguments from our last exchange – see here – for example that missionaries and Griqua were constantly trading regardless of whether there was a trading store or not (see the cited literature!), are ignored in these last posts. I understand that you are fighting for recognition of your theory but arguments that are weakened by factual evidence should in my opinion not be repeated.

 

There is no evidence that the missionaries traded with the Griqua using Griquatown token coins. Yes they did with barter or Rijksdaalder... show me one reference in any literature from that time of a Griquatown token coin circulating and then I will be happy to review what my research has so clearly shown. After 30 years of intensive study on the Griqua I have yet to find one - so good luck :))

 

see also extracts from Schoeman's book listed in my post above.

 

Perhaps the most telling proof is Campbells letter written in 1820 in which he writes about the need to get a trading store in the colony to accept them before the Griqua would - ie for the tokens to circulate... in his books from this same trip he only talks about doing trade with the Griqua by barter and Rijksdaalder.. I would suggest the lack of any reference to the Griquatown token coins in Campbells second book is self evident proof that the exercise was a complete failure.

 

I would also state that the widely referenced suggestion taken from his book that coins SHOULD be issued while on his trip in 1813 is widely referenced in support of the claim that they "circulated".. which is most relevant?) Before or after the event? It ain't rocket science!!

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Klee

Hi Scott

 

Your one source is of real interest to me:"On page 131 to 133 Schoeman transcribes a letter written by the resident Griquatown missionary H Helm written to Dr John Philip in Cape Town on 21 June 1821 which reads as follows: Andries Waterboer has for some years assisted me in the school. Since he became Captain he could not regularly attend, as his duty required frequently his absence from home. I have therefore discharged him in May last. And indeed the school has not lost much in him. The natives like much to be preaches but not schoolmasters, if they think that work to be too mean or too troublesome I do not care. Br Anderson made the agreement with him that he would receive for payment 60 sRijksdaalders a year from the society. Having no money, he has for the last two years received nothing except 13 Rijksdaalders 4 Schilling. As most of the members of our Auxiliary Society have payed (sic) their contribution for the past year partly in money and partly in corn, sheep and goats, I have been able to give him about 36 Rijksdaalder more. He has therefore still to receive 70 Rijksdaalder 4 Schilling. Will you be so good as to send for him that sum by a safe opportunity. Of what I have received from the Griquas for our society I shall give an account as soon as all is payed. The greater part of the Griqua money is still in our Society’s property which Br Anderson when leaving delivered to my care. As Mr Campbell thought that Br Anderson had dispersed the silver pieces at too cheap rate, I asked him to let me know the real value of a piece of each which he promised to do, but I have as yet received no account and it is therefore still in my possession. I should be glad if you, dear sir, would have the goodness to inform me what I am to do with it."

 

Now, let us focus on an extract from the above: "As Mr Campbell thought that Br Anderson had dispersed the silver pieces at too cheap rate..."

 

The word "dispersed" is the key word in this whole discussion: it means that Anderson had used silver coins in such a manner that they were no longer in the possession of the LMS. In fact, Helm's use of the word "the" instead of "some" or "a few" preceding "silver pieces" in this phrase is informative: it describes a situation where not a few silver pieces had been used as payment for goods or services.

 

 

Further, the phrase "at too cheap rate" shows real concern by Helm that the LMS might have lost out on using silver GQT coinage too cheaply compared with the silver value of these coins. And, would this concern have been expressed if only a dozen or so silver GQT coins - with little financial loss to the LMS if they were used too cheaply - were the subject of this report? Not likely. It would seem from this that the quantity of GQT silver coins which had been "dispersed" was of sufficient quantity and value to worth being worried about.

 

All in all, a very interesting written contemporary statement which indicates to me that the silver GQT coinage was indeed used at the mission station as payment for goods or services......

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Little Miss Muffet

I can't understand what this whole "Complex" argument is about.

Whether these tokens circulated or not, would it change the value?

The 1931 tickey was never in circulation either, although it could have been taken from a set and used as currency.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dennrein

Some more arguments

 

I agree with MikeKlee. Schoeman's passage to me is the biggest proof that the Griqua coins circulated. "Going rate" makes no other sense, except if the coins were circulated in trade, as they were intended to. Campbell explains before the coins were minted that he wants them to enable the Griquas to buy "small articles, such as knives, scissars, clothing" (Campbell 1815: 256). In 1819 Graaf-Reinet-landdrost Stockenstrom expressly allowed missionaries to buy goods in Cape Town that the Griquas felt were missing at the Kookfontein and Beaufort West fairs and sell them to them on their return (Beck 2007: p.22). Trade was going on regardless of whether a shop was in place or not. I believe you only have to put two and two together to arrive at the conclusion that the coins circulated.

 

Responding to Scott Balson's other arguments:

 

Maybe I was being a bit academic when drawing the distinction between tokens and commercial money. Indeed, Selgin (2009) himself, from whom I got most of the info on commercial British coinage around the turn of the 19th century, calls commercial money “tokens” as well. The point I was making was that there are tokens that are bound to a certain shop and there are money-equivalent tokens that are accepted independent of the shop and function as a replacement for small change (while in Britain this included readiness to exchange the commercial money for Royal Mint money, this would not have made sense in Griquatown where there was effectively almost no official Dutch small change). This is an important distinction! And it seems obvious to me that the Griqua coins were meant to replace official Dutch small change. Remember, Campbell himself says the intention was to have “money coined” (Campbell 1815: p. 249).

 

If the coins were meant to be a mission equivalent of commercial money (“amongst all the nations”), then the coins could readily be interpreted as equivalent to Dutch small change. Then it wouldn’t be necessary to prove that transactions were made in tokens because the tokens in fact represented the value of Dutch small change. And there are records of transactions in Dutch money.

 

We know that the Griqua knew the rixdollar, as the Koks were paid in rixdollars and money donated to the Mission was in rixdollars (see e.g. Campbell 1822: p. 258 and 264). It is interesting to note that Griquas even offered debt bonds up for sale in Cape newspapers in the 1820’s (see Bannister 1830: p. 73). So it stands to reason that the tokens represented the equivalent of Dutch cents, especially since Campbell had returned to Europe in 1814 and the Dutch currency was decimalised by law in 1816, three years before Campbell returned to the Cape with the coins in 1819 (as, if I understand correctly, we both assume - this is where I disagree with Parsons). In fact, the half, five and ten cent Dutch decimal coins were all struck in 1818, along with the half gulden and gulden coins. The only flaw in this theory is that there was no Dutch farthing as an equivalent to the Griqua farthing. 100 cents were equivalent to one guilder (gulden) and two and a half guilders equated to one rixdollar (Tate 1831: 13).

 

It is also interesting to note that rixdollar notes (rixdollar coins were only minted from 1840 onwards) were exchanged at the Beaufort West Fair in 1820, where the Griquas took part (Campbell 1822: p. 140, 231). Add to this the claim by Geejay30 that a copper Griquatown coin was found on a hill outside Beaufort West (maybe the site of the Kookfontein Fair?) and the evidence certainly points towards the tokens being used interchangeably with Dutch cents, just as commercialised money was used interchangeably with Royal Mint money in Britain during the same time period. Please note that commercialised money was mostly petty change for small scale transactions (knives, scissars...) which would explain why only small denomination Griqua coins were minted.

 

Regards

dennrein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
geejay50
the tokens were never circulated they were only ever seen as trinkets by the Griqua. Waterboer knew of a number of the tokens (about six) held by a member of his community back in the late 1970s - the tokens originated from Waterboer in c1820.

 

2) Hager: In thirty years no local/Griqua has ever come into the museum with a Griquatown token coin. She only ONCE saw the tokens which had been bought by a local farmer from an unnamed Griqua in the early 1980s.

 

3) The circa six silver Griquatown tokens both refer to appear to be the same tokens discussed by both when one considers

i) the date they appeared (about 30 years ago)

ii) the source (a descendant of Waterboer).

 

Note the comment by Hetta Hager that the local farmer who bought them from "the" Griqua took them to Johannesburg in the 1980s and sold them for a lot of money.

 

Bottom line:

1) Not one Griquatown token ever circulated - they were a very brief and failed experiment.

2) They have no relevance to numismatics and are nothing more than silver trinkets.

 

 

Hi Scott,

 

Thanks for showing in your interviews how in one way or another, the Griqua coins have survived amongst the people for whom they were made. The elders have passed them on. That is very positive and strengthens our belief in the value of these coins.

 

An interview in Afrikaans would probably have given far more information and it is clear to me that the interviewed people did not feel very comfortable answering in English. Believe it or not , peole in remote Karoo areas have a big problem with English just as you have with using Afrikaans in detailed questioning coming from an English background.This is much more than basic hello, how are you, especially in dealing with cultural details.

 

If one speaks to them in Afrikaans, one soon finds they speak a very pure form that has no English words thrown in like elsewhere in South Africa.

 

In one part of your your interview YOU TELL Mr Waterboer ' there was nothing to spend the money on' and he looked bewildered and nodded. That is not evidence for lack of circulation at all. In African culture you may remember that a person may say yes out of politeness but not mean yes at all. The Afrikaans answer is often 'Ja-Nee'.One has to dwell a bit more and speak around a subject to find the real truth - it is not a Yes No affair.

 

Remember too that in around 1867, the Griqua people lost their lands due to the Diamond discovery to the Cape Government. Nicolaas Waterboer(snr) was then well represented by a shrewd advocate named David Arnot the son of a Khoi-khoi woman and a Scottish Artisan. I have a picture taken at the time of Mr Waterboer snr in a neat suit.

 

Why should they tell you a foreign white English speaking man the real truth around their coins?

 

I noticed too that you didnt raise the presence or absence of pockets in the clothes of the original people or lack of understanding of money with Mr Waterboer as evidence of non use of coins?? He may have taken offence indeed.

 

How could the grandfather of Mr Waterboer remember exactly what the coins were used for more than 100 years before his own birth?? Was it important to know?

 

You formerly have written that these coins never left England , now you have found that they have remained with the Griqua people in your interview.Just looking at many of the coins shows that they really have been worn by fingers as agreed to by NGC and PCGS. What they bought and for how much who can remember !! But then the same applies to Roman, Greek and other coins that also circulated.

 

Geejay.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

No confusion at all

 

It's great that you fellows are actually reading the source material....

 

In response to the two suggestions by Mike and Dennrein I would make the following simple observations:

 

1) There is not one contemporary reference to the Griquatown token coins being circulated or used as MONEY in a single letter, article or book from that time. There are plenty of references to the rijksdaalder (rixdollar) and barter being used in the Griquatown region. This omission is not accidental - the comment in the 1820 letter by Campbell that the Griqua would not accept them could not be clearer.

 

2) The word dispersed does not imply CIRCULATED. It is clear when you consider Helm's comment about still holding "the great majority" (1820) and asking what should be done with them reflects the reality of the situation. Waterboer in the video spells it out - yes some of the token were given to his forefather Andries Waterboer as Chief of the Griquas BUT they did not get passed from hand to hand (ie circulated). They were seen as near worthless trinkets - the reason the only tokens known to be found in Griquatown were held by the Waterboer family. Not one other family in the town appears to have any of them today - see comment by Hetta Hager - curator of the Mary Moffat Museum in Griquatown. If they had circulated then other families would have the tokens.

 

The most telling proof that the Griqua were not ready to accept, use or understand these tokens is the drawing of Griquatown by Burchell in 1812 which shows just 25 traditional huts and the then Bastards (renamed Griqua in 1813) dressed in loin cloths and tending to their sheep. Fact is these were nomadic people before the white settlers came in and started fencing off land. The people lived by raising sheep and cattle, as well as the plunder and the chase and went to the Beaufort Fair where they traded their ivory and cattle for barter items like guns or or rijksdaalder. This fact is widely reported in several books from that time.

 

Dennrein says

If the coins were meant to be a mission equivalent of commercial money (“amongst all the nations”), then the coins could readily be interpreted as equivalent to Dutch small change. Then it wouldn’t be necessary to prove that transactions were made in tokens because the tokens in fact represented the value of Dutch small change. And there are records of transactions in Dutch money.

 

This is the sort of suggestion that is really dangerous and the very reason we are having this debate now. Parsons booklet was complete fabrication with lots of assumptions. If you read recent coin books including Hern they suggest the Griquatown tokens were the first DECIMALISED coinage in the world... how does that fit into your theory?

 

I always spell out the facts - and the fact is unless you can find a direct reference to a Griquatown token actually being used in a trade then all the proof we have clearly states the obvious - not one ever circulated as money.. Yes, they arrived at Griquatown c1820, the missionaries tried to pay Waterboer with a few, Waterboer discovered he could not eat them, drink them or put them in his gun and as no one else at Griquatown understood their purpose they failed. Once repatriated to England they were sold and the circulated pieces found today (the great majority being sourced from England) were used in gambling dens in the 1800s.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dennrein

Questions

 

Hello Geejay50,

 

sorry for quoting you as Geejay30... I'd just like to know where the info about the Griqua coin found outside Beaufort West is from. Is the source in written form and how might one access it?

 

I don't think one should attack Mr. Balson for his research. After all, he has really done SA numismatics a service by making all his research into Griqua coinage public. One might not share every consequence and as stated above, there are points I don't agree on, but one cannot blame Mr. Balson for keeping his research to himself. He has really gone out of his way to research the topic and the videos shown certainly are of value, even if I too see them rather as further proof that the Griqua coins did circulate.

 

Regards

dennrein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mike Klee

Hi Scott,

 

1. It is very difficult for me to accept that " Once repatriated to England they were sold and the circulated pieces found today (the great majority being sourced from England) were used in gambling dens in the 1800s." Gambling dens? Where is the proof or documentary evidence for this?

 

2. Whilst I greatly respect your wonderful research into the matter, it really is important not to overlook the importance of the subtleties in expression of the English language, especially in the early 1800s. There was no television or other distractions and the English language had been honed to convey the precise sentiment or mind-phrase the writer/speaker intended to convey.

 

"Dispersed" means exactly that; something which has been literally spread to the four corners of the world or, as would be the case with the GQT silver coins, into the vast interior of South Africa. "Dispersed" also has an implied meaning of "many" - such as in the phrase "the people in the crowd dispersed", but not in " the couple divorced and the ex-husband and ex-wife dispersed to different towns". Do you see? The first phrase makes sense, the latter phrase makes no sense at all.

 

The word "dispersed" was used deliberately and intentionally, and the worry to the LMS was that these GQT silver coins had been used to pay for goods and services at below the value of the silver they were made of. It makes sense to worry about this if you are concerned that the LMS might be losing a lot of money in this, it makes less sense if only a few GQT coins had been involved.

 

Also, if there were only a few dispersed silver GQT coins and they were possessed by people in the near vicinity of GQT, it would surely have made sense for the LMS to re-acquire them somehow? If the owners of these silver GQT coins really did consider them worthless, then how difficult would it have been for the missionaries in Griquatown to put the word out that they would be glad to have them as church offerings, etc? This didn't happen, I am sure, because by then they had ended up scattered all over the interior of South Africa...

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
dennrein

Circulation

 

@Scott Balson:

 

Correcting your quote of Philips, he says they were holding "the greater part" of the coins, which to me can mean more than half or almost all of them. This is open to interpretation and your guess is as good as mine, how much was in circulation. Even Parsons says that "the bulk" of the Griqua coins never circulated and were melted down. So this is not new. Some of the coins did circulate (like the 1931 tickey!) and this is all we are saying. Perhaps we can agree that the Griqua coins weren't simply given to the Griqua because the LMS was permanently short of money and so there had to have been some initial trade-off of coins for goods or labour. This, to me, is sufficient to say they circulated. Worn coins being found in Kimberley and near Beaufort West AND Waterboer saying that some of the elders (not necessarily the Waterboer clan - except if only they were elders...) are additional evidence to support the circulation hypothesis. If the tokens were petty cash and substitutes for Dutch small change, why would one have to find written evidence of the tokens changing hands? Is there written evidence of the 1931 tickey ever changing hands?

 

Regards

dennrein

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Guest

Proof

 

Mike says...

1. It is very difficult for me to accept that " Once repatriated to England they were sold and the circulated pieces found today (the great majority being sourced from England) were used in gambling dens in the 1800s." Gambling dens? Where is the proof or documentary evidence for this?

 

Exactly my point.. show me the proof that the Griquatown tokens circulated at Griquatown... just one.

 

Dispersed does NOT mean circulated. It means some were given to the Griqua - and we know that.

 

The drawing by Burchell in 1812 is self-evident as are the complete lack of any reference to the tokens from that time - apart from confusion as to what to do with them.

 

Here is a quote that puts my claim in context:

On page 131 to 133 Schoeman transcribes a letter written by the resident Griquatown missionary H Helm written to Dr John Philip in Cape Town on 21 June 1821 which reads as follows: Andries Waterboer has for some years assisted me in the school. Since he became Captain he could not regularly attend, as his duty required frequently his absence from home. I have therefore discharged him in May last. And indeed the school has not lost much in him. The natives like much to be preaches but not schoolmasters, if they think that work to be too mean or too troublesome I do not care. Br Anderson made the agreement with him that he would receive for payment 60 Rijksdaalders a year from the society. Having no money, he has for the last two years received nothing except 13 Rijksdaalders 4 Schillings. As most of the members of our Auxiliary Society have payed (sic) their contribution for the past year partly in money and partly in corn, sheep and goats, I have been able to give him about 36 Rijksdaalder more. He has therefore still to receive 70 Rijksdaalder 4 Schilling. Will you be so good as to send for him that sum by a safe opportunity. Of what I have received from the Griquas for our society I shall give an account as soon as all is payed. The greater part of the Griqua money is still in our Society’s property which Br Anderson when leaving delivered to my care. As Mr Campbell thought that Br Anderson had dispersed the silver pieces at too cheap rate, I asked him to let me know the real value of a piece of each which he promised to do, but I have as yet received no account and it is therefore still in my possession. I should be glad if you, dear sir, would have the goodness to inform me what I am to do with it.

 

If the tokens had been accepted as money then why are they omitted from the key lines highlighted above as a form of payment to Waterboer? Waterboer was the Chief.. and he only accepted Rijksdaalder and Schillings.. if Dennrein's suggestion was true then why didn't they pay him with the silver Griquatown tokens to make up the amount they did not have in Rijksdaalder? This letter covers 1819 - 1821 - the key period during which the tokens arrived.

 

In summary:

1) The resident Missionary Helm talks about the need for the society to send rijksdaalder to pay Waterboer an outstanding debt.

2) The period of time covered in this letter is 1819 - 1821 - the exact time the tokens would have arrived in Griquatown.

3) If Dennrein's theory about the tokens being used for smaller amounts then why

a) did the missionaries not use them in payment;

b) is there NO reference to them as a form of payment to Waterboer?

 

The answer seems pretty obvious to me...

 

Source: The Mission at Griquatown 1801-1821 - Karel Schoeman

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...