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Four Larkan tokens sell for ZAR2,600 each - 400% above Hern's valuation

 

There was very strong bidding by eight different buyers for a complete set of F C Larkan token (four pieces - 3d, 6d, 1/- and 2/-) sold on BoB. The coin's history is outlined at this link: http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-notes-numismatist/6818-southern-africa-tokens-4.html (half way down the page).

 

Some fifteen collectors were watching the auction.

 

The coins sold last night for over ZAR10,000 which was double the indicative price I had listed them at. Once again good quality token coins are becoming more and more sought after by a growing number of South African collectors. The sale also reflects how BoB has become the main global showcase for buyers and sellers of South African coins.

 

Listing at: Tokens - Extremely rare complete set of F C Larkan trading tokens East Griqualand - c1900 was sold for R10,400.00 on 30 Jun at 19:08 by ndoa18 in Australia (ID:23032456)

 

The Larkan pieces are very hard to come by and I congratulate lourens j on his succesful bid.

 

The price achieved also reflects what I have always believed to be the inconsistent valuation of tokens by Hern. In his latest book on tokens he has the Larkans valued at just ZAR600 each when they are as rare, and well known, as the Durban Club 6d which are valued by Hern at ZAR5,000 each.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Complete set of S&Co listed on BoB

 

I have just listed a complete set of Strachan coins on BoB. The winning bidder will also get a copy of the original "Kence, the trade tokens of Strachan and Co" as a bonus.

 

This is the first complete set of Strachan and Co offered for sale on BoB.

 

The Strachan and Co set of sixteen coins: Tokens - First time offered on BoB - complete set of Strachan and Co (16 pieces) for sale in Australia (ID:23464177)

 

I acquired the coins from the original Strachan and Co vaults while researching the coins in the late 1970s. This research resulted in the book "Kence, the trade tokens of Strachan and Co" published in 1978 by Prof Clive Graham and myself.

 

Set one of the Strachan coins are the first authenticated indigenous circulating currency used in South Africa. They were used as currency by all the indigenous peoples, including African tribes and Griqua as well as Europeans in a region the size of Ireland (based around East Griqualand) from 1874 to 1932.

 

Google reference on the listing.

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Complete set of Strachan and Co tokens in demand

 

Another set of sought after South African tokens again makes a mockery of the pricing in Hern's book on tokens.

 

After the strong demand for the Larkan tokens last week (selling at ZAR2,600 each or over four times the valuation in Hern's book) a complete set of Strachan (16 pieces) is currently attracting three bids of ZAR15,000 and over.

 

There are currently six bidders and some twenty collectors watching this auction. There have been over 200 page views and the auction still has five days to go.

 

See: Tokens - First time offered on BoB - complete set of Strachan and Co (16 pieces) for sale in Australia (ID:23464177)

 

ZAR15,000 is about US$2,000 or twice what Hern has the coins valued at in his latest token coin book.

 

What is clear to me is the volume of S&Co 2/- pieces sold on BoB a couple of years ago, which held S&Co prices down for a while, has dried up - creating a pent up demand for these rare coins.

 

These 2/- pieces offered for sale on BoB at that time were a one off batch of S&Co coins obtained from a policeman living on the coast south of Natal. There were about 300 pieces and all were 2/- (mainly "In Goods").

 

I have speculated for some time that they could have been the historic 2/- pieces given by the Griqua in a collection in the early 1900s to support their leader Alan le Fleur. At this meeting the hundreds of Griqua present were asked to put 2/- into a bucket. (I discuss this historic event in my 2007 book "Children of the Mist"). The money was confiscated not long after by the police in Kokstad in an effort to prevent a "revolt by the Griqua" - and would appear to me to be the most likely origin of the coins bought by a group of collectors from the policeman.

 

I was lucky enought to acquire about 20% of the 2/- S&Co coins sold on BoB back then. I keep them separate from my other S&Co pieces because of their amazing history.

 

What is clear to me is that finds like the 2/- haul are behind us now and for serious South African collectors the opportunity to own a complete set of S&Co, South Africa's most sought after tokens, is becoming harder and harder. I only have a few complete sets of S&Co and this is the first set I have sold on Auction. I anticipate that the set will sell for well over ZAR20,000 - recognising the true value of the pieces - including the first historic set issued in 1874 and the extremely rare "MH" (Mountain Home) set.

 

It is great to see a growing number of collectors in South Africa recognising the true value of pre-1932 South African token coins.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Strachan set in demand

 

Good quality token coins continue to attract good prices.

 

A complete set of S&Co sold overnight for over ZAR20,000

 

This is well over double the value given to the tokens in Hern's latest coin book.

 

There were twenty collectors following the auction, over 300 page views and about ten bidders - with four bidding over ZAR15,000 during the auction.

 

See: Tokens - First time offered on BoB - complete set of Strachan and Co (16 pieces) was sold for R20,001.00 on 13 Jul at 20:00 by ndoa18 in Australia (ID:23464177)

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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coinoisseur

Exciting Find For South African Tokens

 

Exciting news for South African Tokens, a set of seven unrecorded Baynesfield Estate Tokens discovered. This new find certainly sets the cat amongst the pigeons in that there could be numerous other tokens used privately by Estates etc.. during the late 19th century that are undiscovered.

 

The Baynesfield tokens were paid to togt labourers at the end of each working day, and at the end of the month the workers would hand in their tokens to the wage clerk in exchange for money.

 

The tokens comprise of the following denominations

 

3d - Circular

3d - Diamond

6d - Circular

9d - Rectangular

9d - Octagon (8 sides)

1/- - Traingular

1/- - Hexagon (6 sides)

 

These are the known tokens for now.

 

A brief history on the Baynesfield Estate.....

 

Nestled in the Natal Midlands the Baynesfield Estate, close to Richmond, was founded by Joseph Baynes in 1863.

 

About Joseph Baynes

 

Born in Yorkshire in March 1842, Joseph came to the colony of Natal at age 8 with his father a Byrne settler.

As a keen agriculturalist and after much hard work and against many odds he aquired farms around him forming what is today known as Baynesfield Esate.

Apart from being an outstanding agriculturalist, Joseph Baynes was:

 

· Chairman of the Indian Immigration Board

· Represented the Ixopo Division in the Natal Parliament 1880 - 1910

· Minister of Land Affairs 1903 - 1904

· Appointed to the Legislative Council of the Colony

· Justice of Peace for the county

· Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George

 

Joseph Baynes also:

 

· Pioneered the dairy industry in South Africa

· Gave Durban its first organised fresh milk and butter

· Placed the bacon curing industry on a sound footing

· Played a large part in piloting through the contract for the drainage of the Congella swamps to develop modern warfage in Durban harbour in creating Maydon Wharf thus doubling the size of the harbour.

 

One of his greatest efforts was his successful fight against East Coast Fever with the assistance og G.D. Alexander and scientifically supported by Colonel Watkins-Pitchford CMG FRVS. The first dipping tank built in South Africa which has been declared a National Monument is on a neighbouring farm Meyershoek.

 

Joseph Baynes died in 1925, aged 83 with no heirs. He left the Esate in trust for the benefit of all South Africans. He and his second wife Sarah are buried at the Mausoleum. A peaceful place on the Estate where one may contemplate all that Joseph Baynes achieved by his tenacity, enterprise, thrift and hard work.

Baynesfield1.jpg.30c96e1333a547c32258bcf8fb57a5b3.jpg

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Baynesfield Estate Tokens

 

That is excellent news Anthony - interesting collection of shapes and colours.

 

The day tokens issued by farmers to togt labour in the late 1800s early 1900s is a very specialist but fascinating area.

 

Thank you for the family history and well done.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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coinoisseur

Hi Scott

 

From what I am told, the tokens are made of tin. So the chances of any surviving are very slim. The tokens that I published in the forum are the only ones known at this time, and are in the Baynesfield Trust. My good friend Allyn Jacobs tells me that there could be as much as 100 varieties, comprising of 5 denominations, 5 shapes and 5 colors. The history I got from Baynesfield directly.

 

Scott, Baynesfield is very close to where the Strachan tokens would have been used.

 

Hopefully in the next few weeks, I will have more information concerning the tokens.

 

It is indeed exciting due to the fact that a few new tokens were discovered in the past few years.

 

 

 

Cheers

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Seriously rare Larkan Day Labour "Bobbin" tokens

 

Extremely rare in their condition and the first time offered on BoB are one of each of the Robert Percival (RPL) and Naomi Frances Larkan (NFL) day labour togt tokens used in the Donnybrook region of southern Natal. (There are only a few dozen of these pieces (out of an initial 100) still complete) - and many of these "few dozen" are in bits and pieces because of corrosion. The pieces on auction here are complete with sound bases joining the circular aluminium ends. (They are, like all others, corroded.)

 

When I worked at Barclays Bank in Ixopo in the late 1970s I was fortunate to be able to find these pieces after digging up an old long drop (outdoor toilet) on the farm Thorninghurst, in southern Natal, which had not been used since 1955 (exact location on my website).

 

These are, without doubt, the token coins closest to me personally because if I had not dug them up when I did they would have been totally corroded beyond recognition today!

 

So if you love tokens check out the listings below and if you just enjoy a good laugh follow the Google link for all the gory details on my webpage!

 

Links to listings and more at:

Tokens - RPL (Larkan) Day Labour token - EXTREMELY RARE. First time sold on BoB for sale in Australia (ID:24101910)

and

Tokens - NFL (Larkan) Day labour token - EXTREMELY RARE - first time offered on BoB for sale in Australia (ID:24102400)

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Token coins continue to shine

 

Three Durban Club 6d (representing all three varieties) sold for ZAR21,950 on auction on BoB overnight.

 

The reeded coin sold for ZAR5,300 while

The plain edge coin sold for ZAR8,575 and

The rare white metal piece sold for ZAR8,075

 

All three coins sold at well over the values suggested by Hern (ZAR5,000 each) as token coins continue to attract a growing market of mainstream collectors.

 

The top selling plain edge coin is linked here: Tokens - Durban Club 6d - PLAIN EDGE - Hern 172b was sold for R8,575.00 on 23 Jul at 20:31 by ndoa18 in Australia (ID:23804605)

 

Congratulations to the successful bidder!

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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Clarifying a few errors in Theron's book on South African tokens

 

For the record...

 

I have noticed that there are some current and past listings quoting from Theron’s book on tokens when it comes to the background to the Strachan coins. There are some important factual errors (highlighted in blue) in Theron’s comments, which state:

 

The Strachan family (father and two young sons Donald and Thomas) came from Europe to Natal in the early 19th Century, and settled in Durban. The father died not long after their arrival, falling from the rafters of a house he was building in Pinetown. The brothers, Donald and Thomas first had a very profitable spell of transport riding to the Diamond fields and then decided to set up a business. They trekked South and crossed the Umzimkulu River into what was previously known as "Nomansland", but at that time was inhabited by the Griquas under Adam Kok. A close friendship was formed between Donald Strachan and Adam Kok, and the latter granted a large tract of land along the Umzimkulu River to the Strachan brothers. The brothers opened a store at Umzimkulu Drift on what is now the Transkeian side of the river, a venture which proved very profitable and was soon followed by several other stores in the vicinity. The town of Umzimkulu eventually developed around the first store opened by them. Thomas died a bachelor, but Donald married and had several children, including 5 sons, Wallace, Douglas, Charles, Frederick and Robert. The son Douglas took over the business from his father and trade still went on to increase rapidly. He was however hampered by poor transport conditions and the lack of coinage for circulation. This made him decide to introduce tokens approximately around the end of the 19th century or the early 1900's. As far as can be remembered they were minted in Germany.

 

As there are so many versions of numismatic history going around on some of the older token coins I feel it is imperative that I clear up a few important errors in these comments on the Strachan and Co in Theron’s book.

 

First of all, Theron used my 1977 speech on the Strachan coins to the Pietermaritzburg Numismatic Society as the basis of his summarized comments in his book so I know what I am talking about.

 

I have attached two pages of correspondence from 1977 (one from Theron to me and another from me to Theron) which explain the importance of my initial research used by the great numismatist when he compiled his book on tokens. These are linked at the bottom of this post.

 

My contribution to Theron’s comments on the Strachan coins is noted on page 67 of Theron’s book but often left out of extracts taken when listing Strachan coins.

 

This omitted extract from Theron's book in listings is his opening paragraph which reads: Recently a lot of new information about Strachan and Co was obtained by Mr C S Balson (yes, that’s me) of Ixopo who spoke to Mr Ken Strachan, a descendant of the original owners of the firm.

 

At this same time, after presenting my talk to the Pietermaritzburg Numismatic Society the late Prof Clive Graham approached me with the suggestion that we co-research and author a book on the Strachan and Co. “Kence, the trade tokens of Strachan and Co”. This was published after extensive research about a year after Theron’s book and rectifies some of the errors carried in my first talk on the coins and replicated in his historical summary of the coins. This book “Kence” is factually based and makes no assumptions.

 

The errors in Theron’s book on the Strachan coins include:

1) The Strachan family only arrived in Natal in 1850 (not the early 1800s) on the boat the Unicorn (source pg 17 “Kence”).

2) The two brothers Thomas and Donald first set up a trading business at Umzimkhulu in 1858 a few years before the Griqua settled the region around Kokstad (source pg 19 “Kence”). (The Griquas arrived in the early 1860s)

3) The four sets of tokens were not circulated or minted at the same time. The first set (S&Co) circulated from about 1874 (as early as 1870) as the region’s bona-fide currency (source pg 10 “Kence”). The rare “MH” (Mountain Home) circulated a few years (c1878) later. The first set of “In Goods” in the late 1800s and the fourth set of “In Goods” in the early 1900s. The first two sets were released by Donald and Thomas Strachan together with George Brisley. The first "In Goods" sets, was released years later, under Donald Strachan, and the final (set four) "In Goods" under Douglas Strachan.

4) All sets were widely accepted as currency for a period of nearly sixty years

 

Other than these errors of fact what Theron says is basically correct.

 

As an expert on early South African coins I have absolutely no hesitation in stating categorically that the first set of Strachan (S&Co) were South Africa’s first indigenous circulating coinage – accepted and used by all races across a region the size of Ireland, and they were followed shortly thereafter by the “MH” which can be equated in trading coin terms to the extremely rare “South African 1931 silver pieces” minted during the Union period.

 

Scans of the letters:

 

Theron to me: http://images.bidorbuy.co.za/user_images/949/1443949_100808104230_theron1.gif

 

Me to Theron: http://images.bidorbuy.co.za/user_images/949/1443949_100808104336_theron2.gif

 

Theron sent me a signed and numbered copy (#22) of his book which I still own.

 

More at: http://www.tokencoins.com/book/g.htm#theron

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

 

Edited by ndoa18

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Pinkx

Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund, German South West Africa

 

History of the Hansa Hotel

 

According to website of the Hansa Hotel (w*w.hansahotel.com.na):

 

On 5 July 1905, the master hairdresser Paul Miersch announced to his valued customers on a large advertising poster that “he would like to bring to the attention of the interested public” that he had moved his business to a new double storey building next to the Woermann Agency in the Schlucht Street opposite to the terminal.”

 

This new double-storey building turned out to have so many rooms that Paul Miersch gladly rented some of them to travelers. And that’s when Hansa hotel was born. Afterwards the history of the hotel more or less disappears in the mist of time

 

The name ‘Hansa’ is derived from the Old High-German word for group or team (‘Hanse’). After 1358, ‘Hanse’ became the common term for a powerful association of German traders who traded with the rest of the world. When Germany joined the colonial era of the European powers, ‘Hanse’ or ‘Hansa’ began to stand for a meeting place for travelers overseas, like the harbour or Swakopmund in the German colony of ‘German South West Africa’.

 

Later History of the Hansa Hotel

 

With the appearance on the stage of the Rummel couple in 1954, the hotel once again emerged out of obscurity. With Sebastian a highly skilled chef and Elisabeth Rummel a talented interior decorator, the couple was responsible for the meteoric rise of its status as a luxury establishment. They created the unique atmosphere that still persists today and its fame spread far beyond the borders of the country. They renovated and expanded the establishment and laid the foundation for the strict standards that staff and management still set themselves today.

 

When they took over, the Rummels inherited a small hotel based on the “two-storey house” originally built by Paul Miersch. Although it had been expanded to include some neighbouring buildings and had been renovated and remodeled, the present day ‘Hansa Hotel’ was just a glimmer in the eyes of the Rummels. While Sebastian Rummel had planned the expansion and renovation, he died in a plane crash in 1968, just before his dreams could come to fruition.

 

But his wife Elisabeth realized those dreams for him. From 1970 onwards she ran the hotel together with her second husband Mr. Scheithauer. With the hotel already a magnet for travelers from all over the world, it now truly reaped general acclaim.

 

Tokens of the Hansa Hotel

 

Shown below is a series of tokens excavated at Swakopmund and thought to be used at the Hansa Hotel – the “M” counterstamp being associated with Paul Miersch (the founder of the Hansa Hotel).

58f5a71cd8551_HansaHotel_2007..jpg.d110e7ea7c8c134b6cac788b3433c9ee.jpg

scan0002..jpg.b1965a86d327d52b97c1d72b920c75f9.jpg

hansa_hotel_1905..JPG.914c87f41924e3fd6985acd9b5a9d940.JPG

Edited by Pinkx

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Let the buyers decide!

 

Hi

 

Interesting and relevant development on the recent Strachan v Duchen and Kleinman debate...

 

The many common Strachan coins currently listed are being actively bid on by a large number of buyers and attracting similar prices to the handful of priority listed Duchen and Kleinman pieces described as "ultra rare" and being listed elsewhere in tokens with a reserve of thousands of rand... Set one Strachan coins are increasing in value week by week - and far outstrip Duchen and Kleinman on BoB. Let the buyers decide what is a better investment, in the long term I have no doubt.. my two cents worth!

 

See or yourself at: Tokens for sale

 

PS There are some gems for sale in this category at the moment.. the Durban Club 6d and J H Cartwright come to mind.. :)

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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The buyers have decided

 

The Strachan and Co coins called "Mickey Mouse" in another thread by Muhammad Seedat (EWAAN) have shone while the "ultra rare" Duchen and Kleinman pieces failed to step up to the mark despite Imraan Moosa (Vertigo) singing their praises as a "better investment".

 

Sources:

Muhammad on Mickey Mouse tokens: http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-notes-numismatist/11057-griquatown-1-4p-first-coins-used-sa-3.html#post85752

Imraan on investing in tokens: http://forum.bidorbuy.co.za/coins-notes-numismatist/11057-griquatown-1-4p-first-coins-used-sa-3.html#post85788

 

Here is the evidence from recent closed sales on BoB:

 

Strachan 2/- set one (relatively common) - sold for ZAR429:

 

Tokens - Strachan & Co. Type #1 - 2 Shilling @@@R1 Start was sold for R429.00 on 2 Nov at 14:16 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:27596677)

 

Duchen and Kleinman ("ultra rare") - sold for a total of ZAR604:

 

Tokens - Duchen & Kleinman - 6d - Ultra Rare - Stunning @@@ R1 Start was sold for R101.00 on 2 Nov at 14:01 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:27596673)

 

Tokens - Duchen & Kleinman - 5 Shilling - Ultra Rare - Stunning @@@ R1 Start was sold for R201.00 on 2 Nov at 14:01 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:27596610)

 

Tokens - Duchen & Kleinman - 3 Shilling - Ultra Rare - Stunning @@@ R1 Start was sold for R201.00 on 2 Nov at 14:01 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:27596615)

 

Tokens - Duchen & Kleinman - 2 Shilling - Ultra Rare - Stunning @@@ R1 Start was sold for R101.00 on 2 Nov at 14:01 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:27596671)

 

So one "Mickey Mouse" Strachan coin nearly raised the same amount as FOUR "ultra rare" Duchen and Kleinman tokens.

 

All the tokens linked above were sold in the last week by EWAAN and, for the record, I did not bid on any of them.

 

As I have been collecting and studying South African tokens for many, many years I am not surprised at the prices achieved. I will not be holding my breath for an apology from Muhammad or Imraan BUT I do need to make the point that I only get involved in this forum in subjects I know something about. A very sensible policy I think.

 

More and more collectors are recognising the undisputed heritage of Strachan set one and two (MH) coins as South Africa's first widely circulating indigenous currency.

 

The same applies to my research on the flawed Griquatown tokens.. my research is solid and a growing number of numismatists now agree that they never circulated (yes I get the emails and PMs).

 

PS EWAAN still has several of the same "ultra rare" Duchen and Kleinman coins for sale starting at thousands of rand each..

 

Example: Tokens - Duchen & Kleiman - 5 Shilling - Scarce for sale in Johannesburg (ID:28046668)

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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4kids

Scott,

 

There is an Afrikaans saying "Die perd is nou holrug gery!"

Best described in Latin "Argumentum ad nauseam"

 

 

 

Edited by 4kids

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4Kids you are right!

 

Good point!

 

The English equivalent is "flogging a dead horse" I think?

 

Interesting, there are people who still believe that the Earth is flat: Flat Earth Society - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - despite the FACT that satellites and planes fly around the earth continuously.. :) Oh.. and why is it dark here in Australia now while it is not even midday in Johannesburg? I guess some people just hate FACTS!

 

Here is another relevant quote:

 

There is none so blind as he who will not see, and you are right - I give up trying to pass on my knowledge to them regarding the Griquatown tokens! Its a hopeless case - facts count for nought!

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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coinoisseur

Another New Token Find

 

Hello Everyone

 

Another exciting find for South African Tokens. An unrecorded F.S.D.E & Co Ld (Frank Smith Diamond Estates & Exploration Co) 1/- has been unearthed. No previous record of a 1/- has been noted. The only known denomination is a 2/6 of which only 3 are known according to Brian Hern's token book. The token is listed on page 101. F.S.D.E hails from the Cape Province, Barkley West.

 

The token is Brass, and is uniface.

 

Now if one has to look back over the past year and a half, there has been quite a number of new or unrecored tokens surfacing.

 

So....... How many more unrecorded tokens are out there.....

 

 

Only time will tell

token..JPG.3a5f12722ded5caeaefb75b979ea32b8.JPG

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Gecko Coins

Hi Everyone

 

Can someone please assist in the identification of the attached token. it has a counterstamped "8" on the reverse and N C O 9 R E on the obverse with some kind of image which I cannot identify.

Any help would be appreciated,

 

thanks

IMG_9747..JPG.3d3302fdcbe54ee284bcabbd571958f5.JPG

IMG_9746..JPG.ff2a76e46c861afe6fad88adf7e61cc4.JPG

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Pierre_Henri

Four possibilities - number three the coolest possibility ...

 

Four possibilities ...

 

1) Just a test for some punches or counter stamps on a Victorian Penny - nothing to be read into anything .. just a trial piece ...

 

2) A token for a local newspaper - I have seen other Victorian examples before but not these letters ...

 

3) A token for a Non Commissioned Officers (NCO) mess or something of the 9th regiminet (9 RE) - a unit that actually fought in the Boer War...

 

4) Something else ....

 

Kind regards

 

Pierre

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Saint786

Hi,

 

Just found this Marsh and Son token in a coin album purchased, the token has some damage

above 's' in Marsh. All thoughs, opinions are welcomed as i have not been collecting tokens as yet.

Please see attached pictures.

 

Kind regards

Irfaan

IMG_4920..jpg.1e9fa6aa91528ab1faa5b4b92aaa2045.jpg

IMG_4917..jpg.f55e792e638314b0f7dc2c61854e3202.jpg

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Guest Guest

Hi Irfaan

 

That is a very nice coin and a great place to start with tokens.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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matat

Hi, I recently picked up a token in my garden (East Griqualand). I will post pics asap but was hoping someone may be a ble to assist in identifying it. It is about 10mm in diameter, made of a dark metal. Punched through the middle, either a worn square hole or circular hole. The one side is plain and the other side has a star of david impression. Many thanks

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Strachan and Co (1874 to 1932) - PART ONE:

 

The Strachan and Co (S&Co) currency tokens represent a unique mix between currency officially recognised by an indigenous government and trade tokens. There are four sets of four coins (ie sixteen coins making up a complete set). The defining difference between the earlier sets and the later sets can be seen from the simple words “In Goods” on the third and fourth sets.

 

The first two sets released, S&Co sets one and two, have no reference to “In Goods”. The second set carries the letters “MH” (standing for Mountain Home) - this defines this rarest set from set one (MH being released circa 1878).

 

We know for a fact that these first two sets were first released in the 1870s into a geographically remote cash starved area known as East Griqualand – which was nearly the size of Ireland. With the first S&Co set (missing the MH) being released in 1874 and backed by the S&Co stores.

 

The two “In Goods” sets were only released many years later when currency became more freely available. Set three “In Goods” in the late 1890s and set four “In Goods” in the early 1900s.

 

Some facts about the S&CO …

 

  1. they were the first widely circulating indigenous currency in South Africa (any coinage preceding this date – including the Scheepjesgulden is NOT a coin indigenous to South Africa and did not circulate widely.)
  2. they were deliberately holed to facilitate wearing with beads – the first South African coinage to cater for the indigenous peoples
  3. there were four values in all four sets – 3d, 6d, 1/- and 2/-
  4. between 1874 and 1878 the Griqua Raad acknowledged the S&Co as their official currency (George Brisley a partner in S&Co was the secretary to the Griqua Government)
  5. the S&Co were, thus, the only official currency adopted by a recognised indigenous South African government pre-Boer war.
  6. Donald Strachan (a key partner in S&Co) ran the local indigenous army (the abalandolosi) who’s main aim was to exterminate cattle rustlers who roamed this remote region before the Griqua took over
  7. the Standard bank in Kokstad (established in 1878) confirm accepting and distributing the first two sets of S&Co coins as currency for many years as official coin of the crown was impossible to come by in this remote region
  8. an estimated 100,000 S&Co pieces were struck in total over 40 years – with less than 6,000 remaining in existence today. (Most of the 20,000 S&Co coins categorised by the writer in the 1970s were melted down by Ken Strachan in the late 1980s).
  9. no other token coin in South Africa was minted in such numbers – confirming their role going beyond a barter piece for use at Strachan stores.
  10. the S&Co coins were in circulation for nearly sixty years – being withdrawn in 1932 because of legislation.
  11. Judge Tom Mullins, who the writer met in 2007, sold his collection of about 50 S&Co pieces to the writer. Mullins had earlier purchased them from the Magistrates Office at Umzimkhulu. They had been accepted by that government office in payment of fines pre-1900 and in the early 1900s. (The S&Co were accepted as currency everywhere).

Fallacies:

 

The first fallacy – the S&Co are common:

 

While the S&Co may appear to be common they are not. There have been some substantial finds of S&Co pieces in recent years and through ignorance by the seller these coins have been dumped on auction sites like Bid or Buy. In 2009 the writer purchased a parcel of over 50 S&Co 2/- pieces for just over R1,000!

 

It is extremely hard to acquire a complete set of S&Co. Last year complete sets were sold on BoB for over R20,000 each. In the writer’s view the buyers made a great investment.

 

The second fallacy - their “rudimentary” design or being struck in a "lower value" brass will hold back their investment value.

 

Consider the Mandela series actively sought after by a new generation of numismatist. This is not about the design nor the bi-metal nickle content this is about the historical significance. When these collectors realize that the S&Co were a coin catering for their historical way of life that precedes the Kruger coinage I believe that the demand for these and coins like James Cole and Larkan will explode in value as demand grows.

 

Some of the most sought after coins in the world have rudimentary designs. As Dr Frank Mitchell said – holding history in your hand is what drives prices, and the history of the S&Co is unique and numismatically significant.

More at: The trade tokens of Strachan and Co

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Strachan and Co (1874 to 1932) - PART TWO:

 

Recognising the four sets:

 

SET ONE - 1874

 

Strachan and Co S&Co (no “In Goods” no “MH”):

 

The most common (as counted by the writer in 1970s) was the 3d with over 2,500 pieces and the rarest the 2/- with under 400. (Most of these coins were melted down by Ken Strachan in the late 1900s.)

 

From a historical perspective these S&Co coins are the most significant. They are not just token coins – the Griqua Raad accepted them as their official currency. And so they were until 1878 when the British governor in the Cape invaded the region and annexed it. His reasons for invading and annexing East Griqualand are clearly related to the concerns that Germany was trying to establish an outpost in neighbouring coastal Pondland.

 

Despite East Griqualand being annexed to the Cape the S&Co (set one and two) coins continued to be accepted everywhere - including by the colonial government for payment of fines, hut taxes etc...

 

These coins are the original widely circulating indigenous coinage of South Africa and south of the Limpopo river.

 

setone..jpg.c1e86353afa38ca6efbdd0b5c84872a9.jpg

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SET TWO – c 1878

 

Strachan and Co S&Co MH (no “In Goods”):

 

The rarest set.

 

There are known to be about 100 pieces in all four denominations.

 

The most common (as counted by the writer in 1970s) was the 3d at 109 pieces and the rarest the 1/- with just 81. (Many of these coins were melted down by Ken Strachan in the late 1900s.)

 

The MH set were issued for use at the store “Mountain Home” – run by a relative Rupert Jackson. The 2/- MH is most commonly seen on auction. This is, in my view, related to the recent documented purchase of several hundred 2/- S&Co pieces from a policeman (southern Natal) who most probably acquired them from the Kokstad Magistrates Office (see page 323 of "Children of the Mist" for the origins of these 2/- pieces).

 

settwo..jpg.1c740622c6898e922989531a961e873d.jpg

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SET THREE late 1800s

 

Strachan and Co old “In Goods”: (common identifying feature: straight ampersand "&" tail)

 

The most common (as counted by the writer in 1970s) was the 3d at just under 1000 pieces and the rarest the 1/- with just 61. (Most of these coins were melted down by Ken Strachan in the late 1900s.)

 

The one shilling S&Co in this set is the hardest piece to acquire. It is estimated by the writer that less than one hundred complete sets of the S&Co can be put together and that this one shilling is the most strategic of the set.

 

The move to “In Goods” demonstrates a significant change from “localized currency” to a piece to be bartered at the many S&Co stores located in the region. By this time coin of the crown became more readily available and, although the S&Co were still currency in the eyes of the indigenous people, their original role legally reverted to a form of barter.

 

setthree..jpg.9c7cb7abefd8fc455fcff4d254b0cea3.jpg

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SET FOUR early 1900s

 

Strachan and Co new in “In Goods”: (common identifying feature: curved ampersand "&" tail)

 

The most common (as counted by the writer in 1970s) was the 6d at just under 6000 pieces and the rarest the 1/- with under 1400. (Most of these coins were melted down by Ken Strachan in the late 1900s.)

 

This final set was clearly aimed at acting as a form of localized barter across the over twenty trading stores run by S&Co. Despite this fact the coins continued to be traded as currency by the indigenous population across East Griqualand and continued to be accepted by Magistrates Courts in Kokstad and Umzimkhulu in payment of fines.

 

(The writer has a handful of these set four S&Co coins in mint condition - they were obviously never circulated - see image below).

 

setfour..jpg.269ce999e37d3c24a1d3acfab9ab0bca.jpg

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IN CONCLUSION:

 

The S&Co coins are the most sought after trade tokens in South Africa. Most serious collectors of South African coins have a set of S&Co.

 

These complete sets of sixteen coins are becoming increasingly difficult to acquire and will, in my view, increase dramatically in price as the new generation of South African collectors recognize the significant role they play in indigenous numismatics.

 

Complete sets sell for over R20,000 today - the first complete set was sold in 1978 at a Pietermaritzburg Numismatic Society meeting for just R30.

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

Edited by ndoa18

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Milner Snell's books on tokens

 

For those who are interested in tokens there is an interesting article that covered his books. It can be seen =58894"]in this link from the online version of the Natal Witness newspaper (Pietermaritzburg)

 

Kind regards

 

Scott Balson

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