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Pierre_Henri

It is pure SPECULATION that the Strachan & Co tokens were introduced in 1874.

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This Griqua coinage debate made me rethink the whole issue of the Strachan & Co tokens that are punted as South Africas first indigenous coinage that circulated over a wide geographical area, being introduced in 1874.

 

I have two questions regarding the Strachan tokens

  1. Where and when where they first struck (minted)?
  2. Is there any proof that they were introduced in 1874 and circulated in that year? (The same year that our first gold coin, the Burgerspond was struck)

Regarding the first question, I found the following extracts from the tokencoins website.

 

Despite vigorous research in trying to establish an exact date for the release of the S & Co coins, these efforts proved fruitless. The most direct evidence was a comment that was made by Douglas Strachan, Donald Strachan's son (who said that) the first minting was done in England, and it is thought to have been prior to 1880

 

The same source says

 

The Strachan & Co tokens were minted in Europe and put in general use as currency from about 1875

 

And

 

As noted by Milner Snell in his book, very few of Strachan and Co's letter books remain - and none before 1906 - if they had we would be able to present earlier direct references to their coinage

 

Now back to my two questions

  1. Where & when where they first struck (minted)?

Answer:

 

Nobody knows where they were struck some say England and some say Europe but it could have been in Cape Town or wherever.

 

Nobody also knows when they were struck- some say 1874 and some say 1875 and others speculate that it was probably before 1880.

 

There are simply no official records telling us when and where they were struck.

  1. Is there any proof that they were introduced in 1874 and circulated in that year (the same year that our first gold coin, the Burgerspond, was struck)?

Answer:

 

No, there is simply no record of this - only speculation that it could have been 1874, or 1875 or at least before 1880. There are simply no contemporary records telling us when they were introduced and started to circulate.

 

So the next time anyone writes that the Strachan & Co tokens are South Africa's first circulating indigenous currency and circulated in 1874, one can respond by asking Says who are there any contemporary & official records that proves this?

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In the foreword to Milner Snell’s' Tokens of the Transkei, Allyn Jacobs quotes the Oxford dictionary as follows:

 

“A token is a stamped piece of metal, often having the general appearance of a coin, issued as a medium of exchange by a private person or company, who engage to take it back at its nominal value, giving goods or legal currency for it.”

 

Furthermore a token is a form of money whose face value is more than the intrinsic value.

 

Snell also tells us that the Strachans formed a partnership with Charles Brisley in 1874 and formed the company named Strachan & Co. Donald Strachen and Brisley both served in the East Griqualand government, and knew in 1872 already that the Cape intended taking over the administration of East Griqualand. They knew that when this happened, trade would increase with new traders arriving. The East Griqua economy was still barter orientated, and saw an opportunity to introduce these tokens until the English currency were fully introduced. All in all a good business decision as well as a bit of insider trading.

 

Where and when these were minted is unclear. The last time the Griqua raad met was in January 1875, and no mention of the tokens were made at this meeting. The tokens did not circulate before 1874, as the company was only formed in 1874. This leaves us with sometime after January 1875.

 

Looking at the above, simple logic tells me that the Griquatown coinage must be classified as coins instead of tokens. Campbell intended for the money to be accepted as a currency far and wide, making trade with the Cape hawkers (smouse) possible, and not just be confined to the Griquatown area.

Edited by Cold Sea
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Where and when these were minted is unclear. The last time the Griqua raad met was in January 1875, and no mention of the tokens were made at this meeting. The tokens did not circulate before 1874, as the company was only formed in 1874. This leaves us with sometime after January 1875.

 

Thank you Derick.

 

Seems to me that the mysterious 1874 date put forward as the year they start circulating, was only chosen because it was the year the company first started trading under the name of Strachan and Co.

 

(Maybe the reason the 1875 date was not chosen by some parties, is that the Strachan & Co tokens would then have to play second fiddle to the Burgerspond dated 1874)

 

Does anyone knows when the first contemporary document refers to these tokens?

 

Was ANYTHING written on them before 1880? Before 1890 perhaps? Is there any documented proof from that period that they circulated in the 1870s, 1880s or 1890s?

 

And talking of the Burgerspond, guess what the tokencoins-website (that punts the 1874 date for the Strachan Tokens) has to say about it.

 

The general recognition of these (Burgerspond) coins as circulating currency is a bit of a misnomer as they were generally kept as keep-sakes, often mounted as jewellery and not circulated by those burgers lucky enough to get or be able to afford one

 

I did a bit of the research and found out that 56 Burgersponde have been graded by NGC, of which MORE THAN HALF are in circulating condition. The lowest grade is F condition demonstrating considerable circulation over an extended time period.

 

When I last published NGC figures showing the circulation evidence for the Griqua token coinage (I think it was for the silver 10 Pence), the feeble response from tokencoins was that it probably circulated in gambling dens in England after being send back to England. When he was asked for contemporary reports to verify this outrages theory, he was as silent as the grave.

 

Now that some of us are looking for contemporary records or reports that the Strachan and Co tokens actually circulated in 1874 (or pick a date), it seems like there are none.

 

Let me be very clear, I do not for one second doubt that the Strachan & Co tokens did indeed circulate. My whole point is that the absence of contemporary reports does not prove that they never circulated.

 

It is thus only by pure luck that we have a contemporary report of the Griqua coins passing from the hand of the Reverend Anderson to the hands of the Griquas as money and not as gifts, because a gift, unlike money, cannot have a right or wrong exchange rate. (The dispersing of the Griqua coins were later halted because the missionaries waited for the correct exchange rate information from their head office in Cape Town we have a contemporary record of this dated 21 June 1821)

 

 

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Seems like the mysterious Strachan and Co tokens of the 1800s (nobody disputes them being issued after 1906) could have been minted in Germany.

 

Look at this quote from Scott Balsons own website

 

"... according to Strachan did promise Kok that he would investigate alternative ways of getting around the problems associated with the Griqua's isolation from banks and the resulting dependence on the highly unsatisfactory system of bartering goods. Strachan's answer was to issue his own coinage in 1874 which then became the currency of the people in the Nomansland region for over 50 years. This ambitious project took a few years to complete, with four brass coins being minted in Germany

 

Am I right in reading that this so-called ambitious coin project took a few years to complete after 1874?

 

Really? - How many years after ? 5? 10? 20 years?

 

Are there any records when and where they were minted in Germany?

 

The same website also tells us that the tokens were actually minted in England.

 

Now it tells us that they were minted in Germany.

 

Am I alone in seeing how we have all have been deceived by the so-called facts about the Strachan and Co tokens since way back when?

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The Complete Nonsense about the Strachan & Co Tokens

 

The absolute rubbish being published on the internet regarding the Strachan & Co tokens are mind boggling. The mystery date of 1874 is now published on many a website while the truth is that we have not ONE SINGLE contemporary report proving that that they were issued in the 1800s at all

 

Look at this nonsense …

 

The best known example, the trade tokens of Strachan and Company, were issued in South Africa in 1874 and are today recognized as that country's first widely circulating indigenous currency.

 

http://everything.explained.today/Token_coin/

 

S Africa's first widely circulating indigenous coins the famous S&Co issued in 1874 by the Strachan brothers of Umzimkhulu.

 

http://www.griquas.com/sale.htm

 

The Strachan and Co trade tokens were issued by a trading store, Strachan and Company in East Griqualand from 1874 onwards

 

The first two the S&Co, and extremely rare S&Co MH set were dated 1874 and used as the region's currency

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coins_of_the_South_African_pound

 

(Yep, that nonsense comes from Wikipedia that the tokens were actually dated 1874!)

 

Really, Wikipedia says that!

 

The first two the S&Co, and extremely rare S&Co MH set were dated 1874

 

http://www.liquisearch.com/coins_of_the_south_african_pound/nineteenth_century_trade_tokens/the_trade_tokens_of_strachan_and_company_1874%E2%80%931932

 

It is just beyond anyone’s imagination how these blatant lies have infiltrated our once proudly numismatic history.

 

How many fronts do we have to cover to stop this rot?

 

 

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How can one get Wikipedia to accept the truth?

 

Edited by Pierre_Henri
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I share your frustration about Wikipedia. The other sites that you have mentioned most probably also got their info from Wikipedia. The site moderator won't budge an inch, which sometimes leaves me wondering why. Now you can also understand why students can't use Wikipedia material as a reference for their work.

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I share your frustration about Wikipedia. The other sites that you have mentioned most probably also got their info from Wikipedia. The site moderator won't budge an inch, which sometimes leaves me wondering why. Now you can also understand why students can't use Wikipedia material as a reference for their work.

 

Yes, but who fed Wikipedia this rubbish regarding the Strachan & Co tokens in the first place?

 

Actually we all know the answer, but really - even that sad source would think twice before stating that the first two issues were actually dated 1874.

 

It is such a blatant lie that one could only cringe in shame & embarrassment

 

South African numismatics are truly suffering at the moment because of international websites like Wikipedia who base their information on truly junk & embarrassing sources.

 

Be gone with them I say ...

 

 

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If the S & Co tokens ever circulated in the 1800s at all, it must have been in an area with a radius of 30 kilometers or smaller - much smaller than the current Durban municipal area.

 

But the first record we have of them ever circulating anywhere, is dated 1907

 

I will do a full post on this soon!

 

 

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