No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • "The lonely Single Shaft Halfpond" It does exist !!!

    Hello all,

    If the single 9 is unique, then this one is too. Referred to in Pg77 of Engelbrecht's book 'Money in South Africa'. it simply states that 'As far as is known , only one half-pound coin with a single shafted wagon of the year 1892 has been found'.

    I found an old photograph of this coin inside a book by Mathy Esterhuizen on the Burger's Pond titled 'South Africa's First Gold Coin'. There hasnt been a photo of this coin published ever in any literature that I know of and many collectors doubt it's existence. It was reputed to be owned by the Menne family in the early twentieth century but then was somehow lost.

    NGC graded a coin about 2 years ago , only to remove it from the Pop report a few months later. Very strange indeed !!

    There are accompanying old photographs that are also interesting - black and white in old style. The are as follows; 1)All four Griqua coins (circulated not Patterns) from 1/4 pence to 10 pence 2) An 1892 Proof Pond and 3) An MS 1898 Pond Overstamp - looks genuine. Along with these photos is an old style type-written 5 page letter done by Mathy Esterhuysen herself giving many details and a bibliography on the origins of the Gold that went into the Burger's Ponden.It seems to me this was further research that was unpublished.I can only assume this book belonged at some stage to the writer herself and she had an interest in the other rare South African coins as well.

    She also made a photocopy of a letter by Thomas Francois Burgers adressed to Ds Koos, This said the following;
    'Form no ideals that you can never realize. Create no illusions which once attained remove all illusions. Life is a struggle to live and favoured is he who can give his best to it' Thomas Francois Burgers
    signed Matthy Nel Esterhuysen.

    It seems to me that the presence of these rare coin photographs and further information along with an authentic looking 1892 Single Shaft Halfpond photo lends credence to its authenticity especially coming from such an esteemed person as Matthy Esterhuysen herself.

    I would value any solid input to help us get to the bottom of this unsolved mystery in South African Numismatics.

    Whoever finds this coin , has obviously a gem that will equal the Single 9 in value. The trouble is that it is a VF type of Halfpond and wont attract much attention if you dont look specifically at the shafts.

    Attached Files
    Last edited by geejay50; 04-09-10, 08:36.

  • #2
    Don't believe everything you read

    Hi Georg

    I am sure that if that coin actually existed we would know about it today. I have my doubts - doctoring a photo and creating a fallacy is not rocket science. I am not suggesting Engelbrecht or Esterhuysen did that BUT they might well have been victims of flawed or deceptive information.

    For example, you say:

    The are as follows; 1)All four Griqua coins (circulated not Patterns) from 1/4 pence to 10 pence
    I wish people would not state, based on these ill-informed comments in old coin books, that the Griquatown token coins "circulated" when clearly they did not.

    All references by authors of coin books suggesting the Griquatown token coins circulated can be tracked back to the flawed work of Parsons. Most quote him as their reference.

    Even Spink who contracted Parson to do the work in the 1920s now confirm that his findings are wrong. The suggestion that the values is pence is also challenged - my view is that they were MEANT to be used in payment of labour (probably in the mission's gardens) ie bronze pieces for 1/4 and 1/2 hour; and silver for five and ten hours (half day and full day). In other words no monetary value in the detail like "10". Day tokens were quite common and this sort of labour valuation makes far more logical sense than some "modern decimalised currency" as suggested by Hern and others.

    As you know, I have since 2006 challenged anyone who has a numismatic standing to publicly debate me on this subject but to date there have been no takers.

    Because a Griquatown coin is "worn" does not mean it circulated. Most "circulated" Griquatown coins are more worn on one side than the other reflecting the fact that they were poorly stored for generations. As you know we have had a laugh about rubbing Mandelas so that they grade lower. Does rubbing a coin make it a successfully circulating coin? I don't think so.

    What I am saying Georg is that misleading fantasies can be created by poor research. I know that the Griquatown token coins NEVER circulated - not one and I would suggest that there is no 1892 single shafted half pond coin UNLESS someone can physically produce it.

    What we DO KNOW is that the set one Strachans circulated as currency from 1874 making them the first PROVEN circulating indigenous currency in South Africa - used by the same Griqua people who left Griquatown with Adam Kok II in 1814 after falling out with the London Missionary Society's resident missionary Anderson. These are facts based on sound research not some whimsical fantasy replicated in dozens of books that have simply cut and pasted Parsons flawed findings.

    And if someone of note disagrees with me take up my challenge and debate me on this subject in a public forum. As you would know I have been waiting for four years now for someone to take up the challenge.

    Kind regards

    Scott Balson
    Last edited by ndoa18; 04-09-10, 11:33.


    • #3
      Hi Goerg
      Nigel Mclean from Collectors Invest has a better photograph of this coin and I believe he has seen the coin himself, maybe you can ask Bruce or Douglas to scan and post on the forum?


      • #4
        The Mystery of the 1892 Single Shaft Half Pond

        HM Stoker wrote an article for DE NUMMIS XVIII, 1956-7 entiteld "The Mystery of the ZAR Single Shaft Half Pond of 1892"

        I don't have a copy of the article, but Becklake gives some back ground information (From Real to Rand: Pages 26-27) - for example that Menne showed the coin (that belonged to his father) to members of the Transvaal Numismatic Society and " ... in general they were of the opinion that it appears to be genuine..."




        • #5
          Considering the article in the DE NUMMIS Nr 2. 1956-1957 and the photographs that accompanied the article my Mr. H.M. Stoker there is no doubt in my mind that such a piece exist or at least at one time existed.

          In those days it would have been simply impossible to "tool' any half-pond to such perfection and besides it is a Single Shaft wagon with the back wheels of the wagon larger than the front. The mount on which the wagon stands is also different in a single shaft and double shaft with the mount on the double shaft at a sharper angle downward at the shaft end and so also the shafts as well to that of the single shaft coins.

          This coin which at least at the time of the article existed was examined by a whole host of people including the Director of the Mint at the time and not one single person could find any reason why the coin could not have been an original.

          The condition of the reported half pond could have been the reason for its demise and disappearance. Since it was described as a "nearly fine" conditioned piece, I would think that this piece has long gone been melted without knowing.

          George .... Do you know what the grade of the piece that NGC removed was? It could point to a second piece????
          Last edited by 4kids; 04-09-10, 17:20.
          Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak!

          Click to view any items I may have on auction


          • #6
            Menne's grand son and I were on the same boxing team of the University of Stellenboch in the early 80's.

            I wonder if he might have any info on this subject.

            I will try to contact him and report back to the forum.



            • #7
              Assuming that this coin is found and is actually unique, I doubt that it would sell or be worth the same amount as the 1898 "Single 9" or anywhere near it, even if it was in the same grade. The latter coin is not worth what it is because of its scarcity, but because it is a "celebrity" coin. There are plenty of other coins elsewhere in the world which are either unique or with extremely low mintages that are worth a miniscule fraction of the "Single 9". If you have never heard of them, I rest my case. You can find them in the US Krause manuals.

              The closest comparable rarities to the "Single 9" are the other Kruger "patterns" listed in Hern. Except for the copper 2/6, I have never heard of any of them being sold. But I also doubt that most of them would fetch an astronomical price close to the 1898 "9". I presume the 1892 gold 2/6 would probably sell for the most from the others.


              • #8
                I did some research on the Menne Double Shaft Half Pond of 1892 and found some very interesting info:

                Bill Menne, the owner of the coin, was murdered on his farm in the Northern Transvaal in 1974. His wife, Rosemary Menne, decided to have his coin collection auctioned off by Sotheby’s of London on an auction held on the 20th of April 1977 in Johannesburg.

                There were 122 lots that sold for a total of R114 000. The Menne Half Pond (Double Shaft of 1892) sold for R24 000 that was at that stage a world record for a South African coin.

                The winning bidder was a coin dealer from Durban. After the auction it was sent to him per regsitered letter but it got lost in the post. Now, after 33 years, the coin is still missing.

                The registered letter was luckly insured and Menne’s wife got the full auction amount.



                • #9
                  I found the article

                  I knew I had it somewhere and after two days found it. It's from "Die Burger" of 10 October 2009 (Kruger's birthday by coinsidence)

                  Here it is...


                  • #10
                    Hi All

                    Is it real??? From p74, ZAR Coinage and Counterfeits by Mr. Levine himself.

                    Detracting Factors:

                    1. The "Menne" 1/2 pond weights 3.9208gr, which is a variation of 1.83% from standard. Compared to the lowest weight recorded in a 1/2 pond of 3.952gr, this gives is a variation of 1.05% - most likely forgery!

                    2. Comparisons of lack of detail on the wagon and the anchor compared to other graded coins in 3.952/3 gr - must be a fake!

                    3. Similarity of lack of details on the wagon and anchor compared to known forgeries - definately a fake!

                    Factors in favour:

                    1. In his book " Die Deutschen Reichsmunzen " by Dr. Hugo Hammerich, published in Berlin in 1905, the 1892 1/2 pond die is included in a list of master dies for all subsequent minting in Pretoria. The list follows the accounts of correction of the double shafts, As only one of each of the crown, 1/2 pond and pond is listed for south africa, it must be assumed that these refer to the single shaft varieties, including the half pond. Although record suggest that the ZAR Mint did not receive any SS 1/2 pond dies, nor any SS 1/2 ponden was minted, the genuine dies are most likely to have been produced by the Berlin Mint. - most likely a genuine coin!

                    2. The indentation between the front and rear wheels on the wagon is more pronounced on the "menne" half pond than on DS half ponden, in spite of the former being greatly worn. - must be a genuine coin!

                    3. The most important, although subjective to some, test is that only one of these pieces has come to light to exist. It is thought to have been put in a bank vault between 1905 and 1935 by WJC Menne's father, and only noticed as different in 1956. - definataly a genuine coin!

                    MR. J.P. Roux, a former Mint Master, considered the coin to be genuine, although it was too worn for him to able to check the number of flutes on the milling, and the number of beads. On balance of probabilities , the coin would seem to be genuine. So, my verdict:

                    Questionable Authenticity


                    Thomas van der Spuy
                    "Look in the past for all that is good and beautiful, take that for your ideal and build on it your future".
                    Items I am selling.


                    • #11
                      World Record Price ...

                      Look at it this way - why would Sotheby's auction off a coin whose authenticity is in question but more important, why would a coin dealer pay the price of a house (then) for a coin that he believes is not 100% authentic?

                      I am sure that everyone who in the 1970s, was part of the who's who of SA Numismatics had a look at that coin before the auction and if anyone doubted its authenticity, it would have been known and a world record price for a SA coin would not have been realized.



                      • #12
                        A simple formula

                        Hi Pierre et al

                        We can speculate on this all we like.

                        I have one simple reply - why mint just ONE coin when you consider the costs to do so?

                        As I said in my earlier post - if the authenticated coin cannot be produced then it does NOT exist.

                        If it CAN be produced then it does.

                        Those are the SIMPLE FACTS of the matter.

                        Like the fairytales regarding the failed Griquatown token coins such fantasies are very hard to put right once put out there - and I know that this initial misplaced information does NOT serve the best interests of our treasured hobby.

                        Just like we abhor fabricated Chinese copies, or low graded Mandelas claimed to be "rare" we SHOULD take umbrage and challenge questionable facts that have been put out there in the past.

                        The integrity of our hobby depends on this simple formula.

                        It is a FACT that the historic auction house Spink (not Sotheby) have accepted that Parson was WRONG..... when it comes to his claim that the Griquatown token coins circulated - yet a few modern books continue to push this furphy regardless!

                        Kind regards

                        Scott Balson
                        Last edited by ndoa18; 12-09-10, 11:33.


                        • #13
                          What worries me is that it is "a VF type of Halfpond".....which indicates that it was poorly minted or subjected to wear and tear from being in circulation. Since this was supposed to be a specimen coin - like the single "9" and double "9s" - why would it be badly minted? Secondly, as a specimen coin, it is even less likely to have been put into circulation.....from which it mysteriously is rediscovered, rather like the proverbial needle in a haystack.
                          Also, I would imagine that it is easier to make a fake of poor quality and justify this poor quality to wear and tear than it is to fake/alter a specimen so perfectly that it appears to be the genuine thing?
                          Because of the reported poor quality of this 1892 single shaft half pond, the balance of probabilities to my mind tilt towards this 1892 single shaft half pond as being a fake.....


                          • #14
                            No way ....

                            If it was a fake, why on earth would the biggest and most knowledgeable collectors and buyers of the era in SA bid a house's price on the coin?

                            Imagine the top ten ZAR collectors today bidding on a scarce Kruger coin and are willing to part with hundreds of thousands of rands - do you think they ALL will bid on a fake?



                            • #15
                              Hi Pierre,

                              My problem is marrying the uniqueness of this specimen coin with the described condition of that same coin. How does such a unique coin end up in only a VF condition?
                              Re the "biggest and most knowledgeable collectors and buyers of the era" bidding on the coin, this really means nothing as the eventual buyer of the coin from Sotheby's (London) was a coin dealer from Durban. In 1974, there was no fax, email, internet or other means for such a dealer to even look at or closely examine this 1892 single shaft half pond.....and the fact that it was sent to him by registered, insured post means that he definitely was not at the auction to personally take his prized purchase home to South Africa with him.
                              Re people bidding on or paying outrageous amounts of money on something which they think is worth far more than it surely actually is, please take a look at page 4 of today's Sunday Times?
                              I would really like to believe in the existence of this coin, but I would like you to explain to me how a prized non-circulating coin can end up in a VF condition?
                              Mike Klee