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  • Token coins now an integral part of your collection

    There has been an interesting development world wide in the acceptance of token coins in mainstream numismatics. In Australia, where I now reside, some token coins attract higher prices than most imperial coinage of that time.

    Time is the key. To me token coins issued after 1932 have little or no value. It was in 1932 that token coins were outlawed and our money went off the gold standard.

    If one looks at the richness of early South African coins (pre-1923) you see a vast growing interest in these early tokens - many issued because of a severe shortage of circulating coinage. It has taken a while for South Africa to catch up with regions like Australia, the USA and the UK. In effect the regional token coins in South Africa were the forerunner of the ZAR and Union coins. There is no region that is so rich in trade/currency tokens as that of East Griqualand - a perfect catalyst of remoteness and an ostracised community (led by the Griqua) who understood the basic concept of the value of money after their interaction with the Voortrekkers at Philippolis.

    When I hold a set one Strachan I hold a symbol of South Africa’s first indigenous circulating coinage. When I hold a Durban Club 6d I can see Rhodes and Churchill sitting around the club’s bar (at different times) in Durban using these coins to play pool or get a beer. When I hold a Bechuanaland Border Police coin I reflect on those extraordinary days of Cecil Rhodes and the move into what later became Rhodesia.

    It is this specific historical nature of the token coins that, like a Mafeking siege note, gives them a special place in numismatics.

    What is often overlooked is Nelson Mandela’s Griqua origins and roots. Madiba’s parents had Griqua blood (one has only to look at his high cheek bones and hear his own recorded confirmation of his Griqua roots to understand how the “rainbow nation” has minimized this important part of history).

    Madiba’s parents lived in a village in the East Griqualand region and there is no doubt in my mind that trade token coins would have been an important part of their daily trade. These trade coins did not discriminate like the expensive Burgerspond - they were a community coinage.

    It is this richness and yet to be explored history that adds so much to the once marginalized coins that are now increasingly sought after by serious coin collectors.

    Kind regards

    Scott Balson
    Last edited by ndoa18; 09-08-10, 12:13.
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