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Mike Klee

Griquatown coinage

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Mike Klee

Very interesting....and it shows that the GQT coins and their story has inflamed the interest of numismatists for 140 years. Studying something like the GQT coins and their place in the numismatic world is almost like an astronomer focussing on a particular star in the night sky; it allows one a better appreciation of the picture as a whole.

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Pierre_Henri

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Very interesting....and it shows that the GQT coins and their story has inflamed the interest of numismatists for 140 years. Studying something like the GQT coins and their place in the numismatic world is almost like an astronomer focussing on a particular star in the night sky; it allows one a better appreciation of the picture as a whole.

 

Thank you Mike.

 

As a matter of interest - everyone always speculated on this forum why the Griqua silver pieces were issued in 5 and 10 pence denominations and not the English 6 pence and and 12 pence (shilling) denominations.

 

I finally got the answer…

 

But before I spill the beans, can anyone guess why they were issued in 5 and 10 pence denominations?

 

 

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Mike Klee

The only answer that I can think of lies in what happened between 1805 and 1813, when the Bank of Ireland minted silver pieces in 5 and 10 pence denominations. This was done because of a great coin shortage in Great Britain at that time, and I would imagine that these denominations were such that they could then be passed off as "tokens" and therefore could not be considered as illegal competitors with the English coinage of the realm.

 

 

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Mike Klee

Further to the post above, one has to understand that Europe itself was going through a financial crisis of epic proportions during the late 1700's and early 1800's. The Spanish "golden goose" of silver in particular from the New World was in its death throes, with the silver mountain at Potosi, Bolivia having reached the end of its life and with the Spanish South American colonies fighting for and winning their independence.

 

Spanish silver had been the currency of choice of the East for almost 300 years, with a veritable flood of silver moving from South America to Spain, which European nations would then use on outward bound voyages to the East to purchase those goods (spices, tea, porcelain, silk, tin, exotic timbers, etc) to which Europeans had become so used to; almost like the modern day flood of dollars to the oil-producing nations.

 

By the end of the 1700's, there just wasn't the silver available to satisfy the insatiable eastern demand for the stuff, and it didn't seem as if the main eastern exporter (China) was too interested in the gold which had now become plentiful due to the massive gold exports now reaching Europe from the Portuguese colony of Brazil.

 

What did the Europeans do? Well, within a decade or two the British disgracefully began to pay for their purchases from China with a product for which there was an equally insatiable Chinese demand - opium.

 

The point of all the foregoing is that it was silver and gold that formed the basis of value for commercial transactions with coinage. So, if something was to be purely used as a token, why bother using silver when it would make far more sense just to use a base metal of far lower value? I believe it was because - as with the GQT coinage - the base metal coinage of lower denominations could be swopped "upwards" for silver pieces....which is why the absence of anything between the base metal 1/2 (pence) and the silver 5 (pence) particularly interesting....

Edited by Mike Klee

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Guest

Campbell was a successful teacher amongst other things, so the finger counting theory holds water for me. If this is true, then the Griqua coinage would have been the first decimal issue in South Africa.

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Pierre_Henri

Although the British occupied the Cape in 1806 after the Battle of Blaauwberg, the Dutch only ceded the Cape officially on 13 August 1814.with the Anglo Dutch treaty (London Convention)

 

The wheels turned slowly in those years.

 

During this time, and for many years later, the official book-keeping system at the Cape was based on the Rixdollar and Skilling. These units also circulated as paper money and were the only currency that was readily available (but never as coins). Many other coin denominations from various countries circulated at the Cape but the demand for metallic coinage always outstripped the supply.

 

So if a transaction was made with hard currency (say with English Shillings or Dutch Guldens) the books would show the figures in Skillings & Rix-Dollars. In Afrikaans it is known as "rekengeld" directly translated as "account(ing) money" or "bookkeeping money"

 

That was very confusing.

 

Compare this to you paying a person R254.14 today and still own him R583.81 and now you must record that in your books in another currency (say American Dollars)

 

The best way to remedy this problem is to align the bookkeeping rekengeld with the actual hard currency in circulation both the paper notes and the metallic coins. So if you pay someone R254.14 you record it as R254.14 (and not US$21.17)

 

Now back to the early 1800s.

 

On 8 April 1823, Lord Charles Somerset (the Cape Governor) wrote a letter to his superior in London, Earl Bathurst. He asked the Earl for £4000 worth of coins to be struck for the Cape colony of which £500 should consist of penny pieces (120 000 pennies) and £1500 worth of halfpenny pieces (360 000 half pennies)

 

Now for the interesting part - the other half of the money-- £2000 worth - should be struck in silver pieces. One would expect these coins to be Sixpences and Shillings but no, the Governor specifically asks that these coins to have an intrinsic value of FIVE and TEN pence each.

 

I beg also to submit (to your Lordship) that £1000 worth of silver pieces of the intrinsic value of about ten pence English be likewise sent out, and a like amount of smaller pieces, of about the value of five pence

 

Lord Charles Somerset thus asks Earl Bathurst that 40 000 5-pence pieces and 20 000 10-pence pieces be struck for the Cape.

 

Why? Why did he not ask for 6-pence (Sixpences) and 12-pence pieces (Shillings)?

 

The answer is very simple because Lord Charles Somerset specify the reason in this letter

 

so that these coins can pass in Colonial currency at four and two skillings respectively

 

There we have our answer the Cape Governor wanted the silver coinage to be aligned with the Cape (paper & bookkeeping) currency of Skillings & Rix-Dollars and definitely NOT the English sterling currency.

 

When the Griqua silver pieces were procured in 1815 (according to the London Missionary Directors report of 1816 reflecting on the previous year), they were ALSO in denominations of FIVE and TEN.

 

The answer thus has nothing to do with introducing a decimal coinage at the Cape or that 5 and 10 denominations had something to do with working hours (labour tokens thus) or whatever previous suggestions might have been.

 

The simple reason is that the Somerset coinage (that never materialized) and the Griqua coinage (that certainly materialized) were in denominations of 5 and 10 and not 6 and 12 because of the need to align them with the local paper money and rekengeld (bookkeeping money) that were introduced by the Dutch in earlier years at the Cape.

 

If Somerset had that need (aligning the currencies) in 1823, the need in 1815 must have been much more. As the years went by the need faded and by the early 1840s the Rix-dollar, as both a paper & bookkeeping currency at the Cape, was history.

 

Pierre

Edited by Pierre_Henri

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jwither
Referring back to Pierre-Henri's quote above, to me it is remarkable that so many of these GQT coins - many worn or holed - have survived over the past two centuries. Considering that they were withdrawn from circulation, this makes me believe that these coins had to have circulated over a much wider area than many of us thought. When the decision was taken to withdraw them from circulation, there were already so many of them scattered across Transorangia and the frontiers of the Cape Colony that quite a few - today's survivors - were beyond the reach of the LMS.

 

This isn't as unusual as you seem to believe. The area was remote but there are many coins from equally remote locations and many much older which also survived and some in mint state condition. I own some myself and you can see all kinds of coins in the Heritage archives.

 

The Spanish colonial pillar coinage is older than these tokens and a decent number survive in high grade, even excluding the eight reales which was used in international trade in huge numbers. Those outside of Mexico are much scarcer but I own a few, from Peru. The "best" one I own is in MS-65.

 

Heritage lists several high grade Byzantine silver and I believe at least one copper (I think currently up for auction). Unlike Ancient Greek and Roman which exist in large numbers in high grade (in total though not always for every different issue), Byzantine in high (and usually even in decent) grade are scarce or rare in my experience, outside of the gold solidus.

 

Lastly, to follow-up on Geejay's comment on the Krause Manuals, don't assume it is always accurate. The prices are fiction but I am not talking just about that. I don't know for a fact it contains other inaccuracies (other than likely listing coins that don't and maybe never did exist) but I wouldn't take it as "gospel".

 

 

 

Edited by jwither

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Pierre_Henri

In 1807, the acting British Governor at the Cape, Sir David Baird, proclaimed the value of coins circulating at that stage at the Cape.

 

Two skilling was equal to an English Shilling. So one skilling = 6 Pennies (Sixpence).

 

When Lord Charles Somerset in 1823 requested the silver 5 and 10 pence pieces, he converted 5 pence to equal 2 skillings and 10 pence to equal 4 skillings. That means that 1 Skilling equals 2½ Pennies

 

According to a calculation done by Dr E.H.D. Arndt (Banking and currency development in South Africa), the Rix-dollar, was worth 4 shillings in 1806 but in 1823, due to inflation, it was worth only 1/6¼d. (It had lost 62.5% of its value). In 1823, a skilling was thus worth 2¼ Pennies. (Very close to Somersets calculation of 2½ Pennies)

 

When the Griqua silver 5 and 10 pieces were procured in 1815, what were they worth in skilling terms?

 

If one takes Arndts inflation figures for the period, the Rix-dollar had lost 43.75% of its value since 1806, so a skilling that was worth 6 pennies in 1806, was worth only 3.375 pennies in 1815.

 

1806 1 skilling = 6 pennies

1815 1 skilling = 3.37 Pennies

 

So 5 pennies was worth almost exactly 1½ skillings. Ten pennies was worth 3 skillings.

 

With the rampant inflation they had in those days, it must have been a nightmare calculating the real value of hard currency (compared to the paper Rixdaller). One can actually sympathize with the missionary Anderson, for dispersing the Griqua coinage at the wrong rate to the locals.

 

In my next post, I will look the time periods involved from when the Griqua coinage was procured in London up till the time when it was dispersed to the locals.

 

Pierre

Edited by Pierre_Henri

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Mike Klee

Now this is getting really interesting. What also would be great to know would be the actual numbers of GQT coins minted, which has to be recorded somewhere......

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Pierre_Henri
Now this is getting really interesting. What also would be great to know would be the actual numbers of GQT coins minted, which has to be recorded somewhere......

 

Thomas Halliday was the die-sinker for the Griqua coinage, but most probably not the maker. He might have designed them and he made the dies but for their mintage, one probably has to look elsewhere.

 

In my view, someone like Sir Edward Thomason is a good candidate (he struck silver coinage for Africa in the same period) and also resided at Birmingham at the time - he and Halliday worked closely together.

 

 

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Mike Klee

What an interesting lead Pierre- Henri gave us in the post above. There is actually a biography written by Sir Edward Thomason called " Sir Edward Thomason's Memoirs During Half a Century" and the following snippets add to this discussion:

 

1. In Birmingham, England: "In 1807 there was the greatest difficulty with commercial men to obtain change in silver, but particularly copper, to pay the work-people their wage. During the year, I put up machinery for the manufacturing of tokens or coins, because the distress and annoyance were so great with the manufacturers, that many principal establishments were determined to pass their own tokens of copper, and some of silver, and made payable at their own works, sooner than that their workmen should attend in dozens at a public house to obtain change". For just one establishment, Sir Edward Thomason recalls manufacturing tokens of one penny "to the amount of £5,000 to £10,000".

 

2. "....and at about this period [1807] I received an order from the African Company in London to make the silver coinage for Africa". Intriguing. Which country were these minted for?

 

3.The scarcity of coinage continued unabated in England in 1810. On pages 38 and 39, Thomason writes: " The copper and silver change in the year 1810 became so extremely scarce and inconvenient throughout the country, that the demand for the manufacture of tokens, to enable the masters of manufactories and others to pay their workmen their weekly wages, was so great that I had endless applications for both, as I was at this period making the silver coinage of crowns, half-crowns, shillings, and sixpences for the Douglas Bank, in the Isle of Man". Further on page 39: "And I manufactured during this year silver and copper tokens for Wales, Brecon, Gainsborough, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne...."

 

Unfortunately, there is no reference to the GQT pieces being made. Considering the details given in this biography, it would seem unlikely that these GQT pieces were minted by somebody else.

Edited by Mike Klee

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Pierre_Henri

 

2. "....and at about this period [1807] I received an order from the African Company in London to make the silver coinage for Africa". Intriguing. Which country were these minted for?

 

 

As far as I know, it was for the Gold Coast (present Ghana) for the so-called ackee pieces that were actually engraved by Thomas Halliday (who also engraved the Griqua pieces) for the second issue of 1818.

 

Halliday and Thomason frequently worked together the one as designer (die-sinker) and the other as the actual minter.

 

Interestingly enough, in neighbouring Sierra Leone, the Christian Missionary Societys (London) report for 1816 states that.

 

The copper coin prepared and sent out by the institution are in circulation, not only in the Colony, but its neighbourhood, and the people seems pleased with it

 

I have always thought that these copper pieces refer to the older decimalized issues, but are not sure anymore.

 

What does prepared by the institution means? Copper cents were struck in 1813 and tokens the following year (1814), but the coins that the Missionary Society "prepared and sent" could have been English copper pieces?

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Mike Klee

I have been reading Karel Schoeman's scholarly The Mission at Griquatown, 1801 - 1821, published in 1997. I have also been reading the 1927 publication The Coinage of Griqualand by H. Alexander Parsons - which can be read in full at Scott Balsom's website at http://www.tokencoins.com/parsons/

 

Some interesting points arise:

 

1. Parsons on page 8 of his 1927 publication refers to Boynes, who in 1866 published a reference to the GQT coinage: "only two denominations, in silver, called by him the shilling size and the sixpenny size, were known. When Atkins referred to them in 1889 the halfpenny in bronze was added; but since that time the farthing has been discovered, and it seems not unlikely that the penny was to be struck."

 

Comment: we know that the GQT coins were not a success and were withdrawn, shipped back to England and melted down - except for the two circulated specimens (Parsons, page 7) in English collections as of 1866.

 

2. From the above, the recall and destruction of the GQT coinage was a fait accompli - apart from 2 circulated silver coins that were kept in private collections. It would seem that in 1866 the copper pieces were unknown; none were present in English collections.

 

3. By 1889, a bronze halfpenny ended up in an English collection. From where? I reckon that this had to have come from South Africa between 1866 and 1889, which makes even more sense when one considers the mass migration of people to Kimberley following the discovery of diamonds in that area in 1869.

 

4. Between 1889 and 1927, the fourth GQT coin in the form of a bronze farthing/one quarter was known.

 

5. I reckon that all of the above - taken together - proves that GQT coinage did circulate, that it was mostly withdrawn and sent back to England to be melted down, and that the current population of GQT coinage has come from circulated GQT coinage which had been dispersed all over modern-day South Africa and only come to light in dribs and drabs.

 

6. Reinforcing my belief in this is that I personally know of 2 GQT coins which have turned up in the Port Elizabeth region in the last three years: a GQT 10 pence and, last week, I spoke to the scion of an old Port Elizabeth family who startled me with his saying that he had a GQT 1/4 in his possession.

 

7. GQT coinage is like that other non-renewable resource: shipwreck coins. They are hidden out there somewhere, discovered under the sea and then dispersed to collectors....

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Pierre_Henri

It is correct that Boyn in his 1866 book, only mentions the silver 5 and 10 Pence and not the copper quarter and half penny, but then his book only covers silver tokens.

 

H. J. Hofstede in his History of the Orange Freetstate (published in 1876) writes that “zilveren en koperen stukken gelds” (silver and copper coins) were struck for the Griquas after Campbell’s visit in the early 1800s to Griquatown (then known as Klaarwater).

 

Regarding the finding of Griqua pieces, Dr Franck Mitchell states that a piece was found near Beaufort West. This is actually very interesting as a large Griqua trade fare was held there in 1819.

 

Parsons tells us that Griqua pieces were found in Kimberley. Dr J.W.B. Gunning tells us that the old Transvaal museum pieces, (including a copper ¼ and ½ Penny) were found in 1892 in the Orange Free State. I myself have found a ¼ Penny in an old Cape Town collection and you mention that two pieces were found in the Port Elizabeth area in old collections.

 

Really, how many more examples do one need of Griqua pieces being found locally?

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Mike Klee

In an earlier post, Pierre-Henri asked about Graaff-Reinet and Beaufort being separate districts? My reply re Beaufort was incorrect as the place referred to is actually what is now known as Beaufort West in the Cape. I have purchased on BoB The Mission at Griquatown, 1801 - 1821 by Karel Schoeman, referred to by Geejay in his post of December 1st, which contains very interesting information - such as the Report of the LMS for 1819-1820:

 

"The Government have lately formed a new settlement called Beaufort near the borders of the colony, about twelve days' journey southward of the Orange River, where a regular market has been established which is visited by the people from Griqua Town, to whom Mr Anderson is legally authorised to furnish passes."

 

Beaufort was settled in 1818. In 1820 we have the Reverend Anderson promising "to apply to the Governor to sanction its [the GQT coinage] passing in the districts of Graaf-Reynet and Beaufort"

 

What other proof does one need that the GQT coinage was circulating at that time, ie certainly by 1820!

 

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Mike Klee

It would seem to me that my theory re the GQT coins surfacing in unexpected places in South Africa, thus swelling the population, makes sense. With only two silver pieces known in England in 1866 and the rest of the GQT coinage repatriated back to England and smelted down, the population seems to have increased as follows:

 

1866 - the 2 silver pieces (one 10 pence, one 5 pence)

1889 - the 2 silver pieces (one 10 pence, one 5 pence) , the half penny

1927 - the 2 silver pieces, the half penny, the quarter penny

2015 - the NGC census of graded coins gives 15 x 10 pence, 15 x 5 pence, 19 x 1/2 pence, 14 x 1/4 pence

- the PCGS census gives 1 x 10 pence, nil x 5 pence, 2 x 1/2 pence, 2 x 1/4 pence

- ungraded known GQT 1815-1816 coins : ? , with 2 that I personally know of, but many more being seen ungraded on BoB and other selling platforms

- ungraded, unknown/unfound ???

 

Some of the graded coins could be the same, having been regarded; possible, but unlikely.

 

Whatever,the above shows a remarkable swelling of the population over the years. Plus, the very worn condition of many of these GQT coins is consistent with coins which have been passed through hands many, many times.

 

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Mike Klee

To see a really nice example of an indisputably circulated Griquatown 1815-1816 coin - in contrast to the uncirculated dated and undated patterns of 1890, which were never used as coins - one can see a splendid 1/4 pence specimen at http://thecoinguy.co.za/product/1814...town-14-pence/

 

Here is a coin that has clearly been in circulation for a long time and, if it could speak, it would have quite a story to tell.....

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Pierre_Henri

I have just published an E-Booklet on the Griqua Coinage that will hopefully counter the malicious lies and fabrications that have been spread about this important piece of our proudly South African numismatic heritage.

 

The booklet only costs R20 and will be e-mailed to you (so there is no postage costs involved)

 

PLEASE support us - all funds received will be used to further numismatic research in South Africa.

 

http://www.bidorbuy.co.za/item/215237444/The_TRUTH_about_the_GRIQUA_COINAGE_of_1815_16.html

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Mike Klee

I have just finished reading Karel Schoeman's The Mission at Griquatown 1801-1821 and what a scholarly work this is. Anybody who is even faintly curious about life just north of the Orange River during the first 2 decades of the 19th Century and the reasons why the London Missionary Society felt it necessary to have its own coinage minted for Griquatown should acquire great insight by reading this wonderful book. It helps one appreciate our country's rich history in the same brilliant manner as Noel Mostert's Frontiers.

Edited by Mike Klee

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Pierre_Henri
I have just finished reading Karel Schoeman's The Mission at Griquatown 1801-1821 and what a scholarly work this is. Anybody who is even faintly curious about life just north of the Orange River during the first 2 decades of the 19th Century and the reasons why the London Missionary Society felt it necessary to have its own coinage minted for Griquatown should acquire great insight by reading this wonderful book. It helps one appreciate our country's rich history in the same brilliant manner as Noel Mostert's Frontiers.

 

My father and Karel Schoeman worked together on a joint publication (with others)

 

 

 

Edited by Pierre_Henri

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Mike Klee

Were the original GQT pieces (1815-1816) coins or tokens?

 

Despite other voices declaring that they were not coins but were merely tokens, I keep on being drawn back to the belief that they were indeed coins. In fact, to be 100% accurate, they were missionary coins. Reading and re-reading Karel Schoeman's The Mission at Griquatown 1801-1821 from front cover to back cover reinforces this belief and puts them in context of life just beyond the Orange River in the first two decades of the 19th Century.

 

Those who oppose the idea of these GQT pieces being coins repeatedly declare that there are no contemporary accounts of their usage as coins. Yet, in the aforementioned book by Karel Schoeman (see page 104), during John Campbell's second visit and on Friday 12th August 1820, John Campbell wrote "Conversed also on the coin." (My bold and underlining).

 

How much more contemporary a report on the GQT coins does one need than this?

 

Sure, they were a failed coinage, but there can be no doubt that they were introduced to Griquatown by the missionaries - at the same time as the printing press. It has also been shown time and time again from the worn condition of many of these coins that they did indeed see circulation, unlike the later GQT pattern coins of 1890 - seventy years on - which never saw circulation and which are in pristine condition because of this.

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Pierre_Henri

For some or other reason that I cannot explain, the question if the Griqua coinage were tokens or coins never intrigued me

 

My personal view is that they were tokens and not coins because they were issued by a private institution (London Missionary Society) and not a de jure (official) Government.

 

I understand that Griqua Town was situated in a part of the country that was not “legally owned” by the Cape Colony (or any country) but that does not swing it for me towards seeing then as coins. Also, tokens are usually intended for use in localized (vs. national) geographical areas, which was exactly the intention with the Griqua Coinage (I use the term “coinage” in the bigger sense)

 

In the 4 (actually 5) contemporary records we have, they are referred to as follows...

 

“Silver Pieces” (Campbell letter dated 7 August 1813)

“Silver Tokens (LMS report dated 10 May 1816)

“Griqua money” & “the coin(s)” (Campbell letters dated 8 and 12 August 1820)

“Silver Pieces” (Heindrich Helm’s letter dated 21 June 1821)

 

Then the next reports – not contemporary (post 1860)

 

“Silver Tokens” (William Boyne 1866)

“Zilveren en koperen stukken gelds” (silver and copper money) H. J. Hofstede 1876

“Silver and copper Tokens” (James Atkins 1889)

“Silver and copper Tokens” (Dr. J.W.B. Gunning 1910)

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Mike Klee

Hi Pierre

 

To me, whether they were coins or tokens is the essence of my fascination with the subject.

 

Your definition is substantially correct but, as you also point out, there was no government beyond the Orange River. The missionary movement into these lands was into a countryside populated by diverse peoples who lived beyond the laws and iron fist of the Cape Government, so a coup for the London Missionary Society (LMS) would be to bring "civilisation" and the bible to Transorangia. We know that there was a real concern by the Cape Government that the missionaries at Griquatown were establishing their own nation so, again, one could make a case that the minting and use of their own coins by the LMS contributed to that concern.

 

Add to this that the missionaries wished to see these pieces/tokens/coins legalised for usage at the fairs being held south of the Orange River - within the Cape Colony - and there becomes a very strong case to be made that the LMS itself regarded these items as coins.

 

The fact that permission was not given also makes an interesting story. A book of letters from the Acting Governor, Sir Rufane Donkin, reveals a deep schism between himself and Dr John Philip, who represented the LMS and who promised to enquire with Sir Rufane Donkin re getting these coins accepted in the fairs at the Cape. Either the request was never made, or it was declined. However, I believe that if this schism hadn't developed, the coins might well have been endorsed by Sir Rufane Donkin and this (then) national usage would - by any definition - have rendered them indisputably as coinage.

 

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Pierre_Henri

Another difference between a coin and a token (in my view) is that a coin, issued by their own government, would be much more acceptable to the general public than a token issued by a private individual. I would also be skeptical at first when Johnny’s corner store starts issuing its own coins

 

To overcome this skepticism, store issued tokens in the old days could initially, only be used by the staff of the shops by whom they were issued, but as time progressed and the tokens became known in the local area, surrounding storekeepers may also accepted them. (Source: Token expert Allyn Jacobs)

 

This obviously makes sense.

 

This brings us back to the acceptance of the Griqua coinage (that I regard as tokens)

 

The initial idea of the LMS director, Robert Campbell, regarding the acceptance of the Griqua coinage was not that the Griquas must accept the coins before anyone else would follow, but that the resident missionaries themselves must set the example by using the coins as part of their missionary allowance “… the silver pieces …which the Missionaries would take for their allowance from the Society (), … It is probable that if this were adopted in a short time they would circulate amongst all the nations about, and be a great convenience"".

 

So what Campbell envisaged was that the “nations about” would accept the coins if the resident missionaries (and not the Griqua per se) were to first set the example. So the initial idea was that the missionaries should use of the coins as pocket money (as part of their allowance) to set the example by showing that they had faith in them.

 

(As in the case of later store keepers who used their own staff to show their faith in their tokens)

 

The difference between the Griqua coinage and later tokens like the Cole and Strachan & Co issues, is that the first mentioned were issued in silver (the 5 and 10 denominations at least), whilst the last mentioned were non-precious metals (like brass)

 

A Strachan 2/- token thus had an intrinsic metal value of say a penny (there are 24 pennies in a 2/-), whilst a silver Griqua token was actually worth its value in silver (in any currency on earth).

 

That is the reason why the S & Co tokens (as an example) were definitely a success from the store owner’s point of view. That is also the reason why the Griqua tokens were a disaster as creeping inflation soon surpassed their intrinsic silver value.

 

The copper Griqua tokens probably circulated for longer (as the NGC and PCGS population stats confirm) because copper coins (with the exception of the Cartwheel pennies) did not have that intrinsic “precious metal” link.

 

When H Alexander Parson (1890-1953) wrote about the Griqua tokens in 1927, one of the reasons he states for their failure was the fluctuating prices of metals at the time.

 

A contemporary report of Griqua Town (Reverent H Helms letter of 1821) confirms this, as he says that the dispersing of the Griqua pieces was stopped because the missionaries made a mistake when calculated their exchange rate.

 

Today, when coins are issued by governments, they simply have no linked intrinsic value, but like notes, they are “guaranteed” by the state (Zimbabwe excluded!).

 

Tokens can only be guaranteed by a humble shop or similar private institution, and the public knows (and accepts this)

 

That for me is one of the big differences between tokens and coins.

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Mike Klee

Pierre Henri wrote: "A contemporary report of Griqua Town (Reverent H Helms letter of 1821) confirms this, as he says that the dispersing of the Griqua pieces was stopped because the missionaries made a mistake when calculated their exchange rate".

 

The word "disperse" in the contemporary accounts of the GQT coinsis of much more significance than one might first think and means "

distribute or spread over a wide area" and, alternatively, "go or cause to go in different directions".

 

Both of the above definitions of the word "disperse" can thus leave no doubt that the writer - Reverend H Helms - had contemporary knowledge of the GQT coins having being used prior to 1821 and that this usage had been stopped.

 

So, if they had been in use and the reason why this usage had been stopped was due to the missionaries miscalculating their correct/true worth, then surely they had to have been used as coins and not merely as tokens? A token - such as the S&Co tokens - is only worth what a principal supplier (the trading store) says it is worth, whilst a coin made of precious metal (like the silver GQT 5p and 10p pieces) can fluctuate in value due to the intrinsic value of that metal.

 

 

Silver coins were taken by the shipload from Europe to China, where goods could be purchased from the Chinese to the value of the weight and purity of this silver. The problem for the missionaries was that the silver GQT pieces/coins were recognised by 1820/1821 as being undervalued by silver value, meaning that the LMS was losing out on the intrinsic value of its own coinage.

 

It really made no sense to continue "dispersing"/making use of silver coinage in this area of Transorangia by 1820/1821 if this coinage was acquired and taken out of circulation by canny traders, who could sell them and have them melted down for the higher metal value.

 

Edited by Mike Klee

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