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Pierre_Henri

Almost unbelievable – MORE new contemporary evidence regarding the Griqua Coinage

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Pierre_Henri
Posted (edited)

So much new contemporary evidence thanks to Morgan Carrolls sponsorship of Ann Stewarts research have lately come to light that one would have thought that (at least for another decade or so) the chances of discovering new records will be almost zero.

 

Have a look at this London Missionary Society document referring to donations received for the period March 1816 March 1817. It was discovered by a Cape Town numismatic researcher this week.

 

Griqua1_zps8zl1p2uw.jpg

 

Griqua2_zpsyqfeal3h.jpg

 

Griqua3_zps5kbfedwy.jpg

 

Who was Mr. Langton?

 

David Langton (appointed in 1802) was the very person, who as the assistant secretary (and treasurer) of the London Missionary Society was mentioned in Ann Stewarts report

 

As to when the Griqua coinage manufactured in England was sent out to South Africa, a brief entry at the beginning of a letter sent by P.F. Hammes and R. Beck [the latter was the Societys local agent in Africa] to D. Langton, the Assistant Secretary of the Missionary Society in London on 21st July 1817 states Sir, We acknowledge the receipt of Yours dated 20 March (1817) last and have the honor to return for Answer, that we have received the two Cases (of Griqua coinage)

 

So the Coinage was shipped off to South Africa before the date 20 March 1817, and the new evidence shows that 3 Pounds and 8 shillings worth of Griqua tokens were purchased (as recorded by Langton) during the period March 1816 March 1817 (probably by a collector with ties to the LMS?) and before the bulk was went off to South Africa

 

This all shows that Alexander Parsons, who wrote the The Coinage of Griqualand (1927), might have been a year off in his shipment-date but 100% correct when he said that some of the coins were kept back in England and were not included in the shipment sent to South Africa.

 

Could these tokens be the proof issues (or salesmans examples) that I have been referring to in my post of 17 March this year on this very forum? The issues that Parsons states were not part of the consignment sent to South Africa?

 

(They were bought for 3 Pounds and 8 shillings from the society before the bulk was shipped off to South Africa)

 

It is unbelievable how suddenly the flood gates opened up on this interesting issue for 200 years no new info was dug up bar the 4 well known documents, but now suddenly fascinating & new info comes through thick and fast.

 

Bar a very lonely & saddened figure, many South African numismatic researchers were invigorated by the Carroll & Stewart report, and one could only hope & pray that even more interesting information will be upcoming & added soon!

Edited by Pierre_Henri

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Mike Klee
Posted (edited)

The composition of the GQT coins "kept back" in England in 1817 would have been interesting. Three pounds and eight shillings represented a fairly substantial number of coins - 68 coins at the very least, in the unlikely event that they were all 10 pence coins - and the breakdown of these coins by denomination must have been fascinating. This explains why many of the GQT coins seen are uncirculated, and also leads one to believe that there should be quire a few more lurking in dark corners of attics or forgotten coin collections.

 

Edited by Mike Klee

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L Village

Now that we have conclusive evidence that some of the tokens indeed circulated at Griquatown, the history behind their minting and procurement will probably be the focus of Numismatists in the foreseeable future.

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dennrein

Dear Pierre Henri,

this is indeed exciting news and thanks a million for sharing these new insights into the history of the Griqua tokens. You might remember I concluded the lengthy discussion with Scott Balson a few years back with the appeal to do more hands-on archive research because a lot of arguments being exchanged were based on assumptions and speculation rather than fact.

I have to admit I visited the Cape Archives last year, hoping to find some new evidence but didn't find anything particularly useful as regards the Griqua coinage. It would take weeks and months to sift through all the potential evidence, not to mention the difficulty of deciphering the handwriting (if I remember correctly, Helm has a barely legible script of his own). So congratulations to Miss Stewart and the young researcher you mentioned in another post for making important discoveries.

I'd like to point there is an interesting commonality between a few assumptions I made back in 2011 and the dates we have as hard evidence today (see thread here):

1. I assumed that because private currency, serving as a substitute for lacking small change from the state, was prohibited in 1817 and it would have been hard to find a mint to manufacture small scale coinage from that year onwards, because most of the mints dealing in private currency had gone out of business. This led me to the conclusion that "it seems unlikely that the Griqua coins were produced after 1817".

2. I had an indirect line of thinking as to when the coins arrived. The missionary register of 1816 stated that the LMS Directors were at the same time procuring the tokens and organizing a printing press for Griquatown. I could find proof that the printing press had arrived in Griquatown by May of 1817. From this I inferred that the coins might have arrived simultaneously. The unbelievably important quote from Hammes and Beck discovered by Ms. Stewart dated March 1817 is close to that assumption.

3. I went on to speculate on what ship the coins and the printing press might have been transported on. Derick (Cold Sea) brought up the fact that the ship Alacrity left England in October 1816 and arrived in Cape Town January 1817. Though the missionaires on board (John Taylor and Evan Evans) were prevented from going to Griquatown, I found that Robert Hamilton travelled to Cape Town in December 1816 to collect supplies for the Griquatown mission and he might have met up with the missionaries and taken the coins and the printing press back to Griquatown in January 1817. This, of course, remains speculation. 

I just want to encourage you to keep us up to date on this exciting subject. Maybe I'll get round to doing some more worthwhile research one of these days.

Cheers,

dennrein

 

 

 

 

 

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Cold Sea

Hi Dennrein, research on this topic is scarce and "crowd research" can only be of benefit to everyone. A Wiki page, Griqua Coinage, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griqua_Coinage is currently  a stub where more factual information can be added. As we know, anyone can contribute with referencing essential.

Just a note on the printing press. This was sent to Griqua Town via the port of Port Elizabeth, which the Alacrity also visited on occasion. I have seen evidence of this. This could well be then that the press and the coins were on the same ship

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Pierre_Henri
Quote

1)     The BidorBuy Numismatic forum. Past searches on the Griqua topic will reveal a contributor who wrote under the alias of “demmrein”. I do not know who this person is, but have reason to believe that he or she is a German with an academic background. He/she opened my eyes regarding many facts & fallacies that I have touched on in this booklet.

The above is a quote from my award winning Griqua paper of 2015.for the acknowledgment of sources I have used....

As you see, I had your name wrongly stated as demmrein and not dennreim (I am widely known for my misspellings as Scott will surely testify!)  

Welcome back and believe me when I say that it was actually you who opened my eyes on this forum to this so wonderful debate.

If it was not for you and your insights, I would never have entered this debate - you truly opened my eyes - I salute you dennrein

Pierre

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dennrein
Posted (edited)

Wow, thanks for the compliment. I prefer to keep myself anonymous since I also am not on Facebook, Twitter or any other social Network. But contrary to Scott Balson's assumptions back then, I do not have a hidden Agenda and no stake whatsoever in the Griqua coinage. I'm in it for the joy of Research.

@Cold Sea: Can you tell me where you read the printing press arrived in PE? I'd be interested in reading the source.

 

Regards,

dennrein

Edited by dennrein

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Mike Klee

An interesting aside re the printing press arriving in Port Elizabeth on the Alacrity. I live in Port Elizabeth and from when I arrived here in 1974 there was an old fishing boat called the Alacrity which had been around for years, chugging its way patiently into the Bay to take people fishing for Red Roman, shad, etc. I always thought it was a most unusual name, and now I have insight in that it would appear to have been named after a certain sailing ship calling regularly at  Algoa Bay.

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Cold Sea

Hi dennrein,

I think it was in one Read's letters. If I recall correctly the wagon broke down and had to wait for parts. I will search for this again and get back to you.

 

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Mike Klee

I see that the Alacrity arrived in Port Elizabeth in 1817 with Mr John Brownlee from the London Missionary Society.

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Cold Sea

Hi Mike,

The following research was done by someone else in 2009:

I have just completed some research on the Alacrity for a filmscript I am doing on Robert Moffat.  Here is the information I retrieved from the Cape Archive, here in Cape Town:

Alacrity sailed from Torbay 26th October; Arrived 13th Janunary 1817.  It was due to set sail again from Cape Town on 17th February for Tristan de Cunta (Altantic Island - off Gough islands - South West of Cape Town) The Captain was John Findlay 
Cargo: Sundries from London; A large Mail for the Cape 
Passengers: Rev Celtol - native of the Cape( ?not clear); Rev John Spyker (Dutch); Rev J. Taylor and Missionaries and wives: Mr & Mrs Evans; Mr and Mrs Kitchingmn; Mr Moffat; Mr Langebach (Dutch); Mr Brownlee. 

Also there a Mr Wolff of the Cape.

 

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Mike Klee

Hi Cold Sea

Thank you for the correction re Alacrity not going to Port Elizabeth - or Algoa Bay, as it was called in 1817 - as it wasn't until a further 3 years that the settlement at Algoa Bay was named Port Elizabeth. The correction is important as the GQT coin saga has been cursed with misinformation, supposition and guesswork spewed forth as fact. I will have to go deeper into this.

At the moment, we know as fact that the Alacrity arrived in Cape Town on Monday the 13th January 1817 with a party of missionaries, including Brownlee and Moffat. It would seem almost certain that the printing press and GQT coins were aboard the Alacrity when it arrived in Cape Town.

How the printing press and GQT coins got to GriquaTown from Cape Town we do not yet know. It could have been directly from Cape Town, or it could have been by a more roundabout manner in the form of a seavoyage from Cape Town to Algoa Bay and thence overland to GriquaTown.

The latter method could well be correct as the missionaries were refused permission by the Governor to leave the borders of the Colony: "We did so, but he could not attend to public business that day, therefore we were requested to wait again on Thursday. Wednesday our passports were sent to us in which we were permitted to settle anywhere within the Colony. This not sufficing for the brethren, who were going beyond the boundaries, they waited on His Excellency next day who after a long conversation, refused permission for them to proceed out of the Colony. His Excellency was very kind & polite and brought many political reasons for the refusal" - Letter to the Directors of the LMS from the Cape of Good Hope, Jan. 24th, 1817 by the Reverend John Taylor.

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Pierre_Henri
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Off sailed Moffat in the ‘Alacrity’ with all due speed and eagerness on the 18th of October, 1816. He arrived in Cape Town on the 13th of January, 1817. He learned Dutch whilst staying with Boers in Stellenbosch and in September, headed up country for the Namaqualand Mission. That was where he made his first notable convert, the local rogue known as Africaner.

https://iainthepict.blogspot.co.za/2010/12/dr-robert-moffat.html?m=0

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Pierre_Henri

As the Alacrity arrived in Cape Town on 13 January 1817, then it is doubtful that the two cases of Griqua tokens were on this ship …  

Stewart reports … “As to when the Griqua coinage manufactured in England was sent out to South Africa, a brief entry at the beginning of a letter sent by P.F. Hammes and R. Beck [the latter was the Society’s local agent in Africa] to D. Langton, the Assistant Secretary of the Missionary Society in London on 21st July 1817 states

Sir, We acknowledge the receipt of Yours dated 20 March (1817) last and have the honor to return for Answer, that we have received the two Cases, containing small Silver Specie and Copper pieces in good order, and we will act with the same according to the intention and wish of the Society”. 

The Alacrity arrived in Cape Town on the 13th January 1817 and the letter confirming their shipment to South Africa was dated 20 March 1817 

If the coinage arrived with the Alacrity, why did Langton only confirmed their shipment to South Africa two months later in his letter in March (and not in a letter dated January?)  And why were the arrival of the coins only confirmed in a letter dated 21 July 1817 if they arrived with the Alacrity six months earlier in January?

Or were the wheels turning slowly in those days?   

Because if the coinage indeed arrived with the ship Alacrity, the vilified Parsons who wrote the The Coinage of Griqualand (1927), was actually correct when he said that a consignment of Griqua Tokens were send to South Africa in 1816 as the Alacrity left England for the Cape of Good Hope on 26 October 1816.

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Samantha Visser
Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, Pierre_Henri said:

As the Alacrity arrived in Cape Town on 13 January 1817, then it is doubtful that the two cases of Griqua tokens were on this ship …  

Stewart reports … “As to when the Griqua coinage manufactured in England was sent out to South Africa, a brief entry at the beginning of a letter sent by P.F. Hammes and R. Beck [the latter was the Society’s local agent in Africa] to D. Langton, the Assistant Secretary of the Missionary Society in London on 21st July 1817 states

Sir, We acknowledge the receipt of Yours dated 20 March (1817) last and have the honor to return for Answer, that we have received the two Cases, containing small Silver Specie and Copper pieces in good order, and we will act with the same according to the intention and wish of the Society”. 

The Alacrity arrived in Cape Town on the 13th January 1817 and the letter confirming their shipment to South Africa was dated 20 March 1817 

If the coinage arrived with the Alacrity, why did Langton only confirmed their shipment to South Africa two months later in his letter in March (and not in a letter dated January?)  And why were the arrival of the coins only confirmed in a letter dated 21 July 1817 if they arrived with the Alacrity six months earlier in January?

Or were the wheels turning slowly in those days?   

Because if the coinage indeed arrived with the ship Alacrity, the vilified Parsons who wrote the The Coinage of Griqualand (1927), was actually correct when he said that a consignment of Griqua Tokens were send to South Africa in 1816 as the Alacrity left England for the Cape of Good Hope on 26 October 1816.

Pierre

Back then, a typical boat cruise from the UK to South Africa would have been around the 60+ day mark. I have seen a number of them taking 90+ days to arrive in the Cape. See the attached extract from a ship list.

So, it would take on average about 2 months for letters to be moved between the countries.

Could it be that the coins were indeed sent on the Alacrity but that they have not sent a letter back confirming receipt, hence the March letter which confirmed it was sent? Maybe they wanted to make sure whether the coins were received?

 

1.png

Edited by Samantha Visser

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Pierre_Henri

If the printing press and the Griqua Coinage both arrived with the Alacrity in January 1817 at Cape Town, they were not taken to Griqua Town by Moffat. The Printing press arrived at Griqua Town before May 1817 whilst Moffat only left the Cape for the interior in September 1817 and only visited Griqua Town a year later. 

The following is a letter written by Reverend Cupido Kakkerlak in May 1817 (the date 1802 refers to the establishment of the Griqua mission station)

Griqua_zpseni3m9b1.jpg

However, it is possible that the press and coinage were on the Alacrity and sent with someone else (but definitely not Moffat) to Griqua Town. 

A local researcher has discovered another interesting reference at the Cape archives regarding the Hammes & Beck letter to the LMS dated 21st July 1817 (the letter in which the arrival of the Griqua coinage in Cape Town  is confirmed)  

 "The cases with beads we have also received and have acted with the same Tenor of the abovementioned letter dated 20th March 1817.” 

Up till this time, Reverend Anderson (the missionary at Griqua Town) organized trade between the Griqua and Tswana, by purchasing beads at the Cape and sending them northward to Klaarwater, to be exchanged for ivory. (Roger Beck: Bibles and Beads: Missionaries as Traders in Southern Africa in the Early Nineteenth Century)  

It seems Anderson also traded with beads in his private capacity; at one time obtaining 269 rix dollars worth of ivory for the expenditure of 20 rix dollars in beads.

It is thus interesting to note that the London Missionary Society send BOTH coinage and beads to South Africa – the reason being for them to be used as a circulating medium and definitely not as mere gifts or presents or freebees  to the locals.

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Pierre_Henri

I have always maintained that the truth about the Griqua Coinage will ONLY be revealed by contemporary evidence (documents) of the period (1813-1823) 

If we look at the Australian’s website where it gives reasons why the Griqua coinage never circulated, we see, for example that he said … 

Quote

Point 11: There is strong evidence that Rev Campbell brought these token coins to South Africa in 1820 on his second trip long after they were supposed to have circulated and been withdrawn. 

The Stewart report has now unequivocally shown that the coinage actually arrived in South Africa 3 years earlier.  

Quote

Point 25. While there is mention of silver Griquatown tokens by Helm, Campbell and others in 1820 NOT ONE MENTION is made of the bronze 1/4 or 1/2 pieces. There is no contemporary evidence that they were actually minted for use at or arrived at Griquatown.  

The Stewart report has now unequivocally shown that both copper and silver Griqua coinage were sent to South Africa.  

And so on and so forth …  

I will be visiting the Cape Archives in the coming weeks with the brilliant researcher I have been talking about recently.  

I have last visited the archives, when it was still situated in Queen Victoria Street in Cape Town, in my official capacity then as Assistant-Director in the House of Assembly (South African Parliament)  

Times have changed, but the truth will triumph. I cannot wait to visit the Cape Archives again.

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Pierre_Henri

Here is the first picture (as far as I know) of the famous Helm letter of  21 June 1821 where it is confirmed that some of the Griqua coinage (the lesser part) were disposed by Brother Anderson at the wrong rate to the Griquas. 

HelmLetter_zpsnhbpxjux.jpg

(The missionaries started circulating the coinage but then realized that their exchange rate calculations were wrong)  

This is THE famous letter in the whole Griqua coinage debate, and has been used in the past to feebly show that plagiary has been committed by some researchers copying the works of others. 

The big joke is that everyone had it wrong – even Carel Schoeman who first published the existence of the letter two decades ago in 1997 had it wrong. 

The TRUTH is that the person who claims that his research was copied (you know who) ALSO had it wrong, because he copied Schoeman who ALSO had it wrong!  

I took the picture today (Friday 2 June 2017) in the Cape Archives with my cellphone so the image is not clear – but it is indeed the famous letter on microfiche.   

It says  

 “The greatest part of the Griqua money is still our Society’s property by which Br Anderson when leaving delivered to my care. As Br Campbell thought that Br Anderson had disposed the silver pieces at too cheap a rate I asked him to let me know the real value of a piece of each sort (Schoeman missed these words for some or other reason) which he promised to do, but I have as yet received no answer (not "account") and it is therefore still in my possession. I would be glad if you Dear Sir would have the goodness to inform me what I am to do with it.” 

There are also Campbell’s name and a letter marking written in the left margin of the letter.

 I will report back on more interesting discoveries in due course

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