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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 20, May 16, 2010, Article 35

THE SOUTH AFRICAN 1898 POND SINGLE 9

Scott Schechter of Numismatic Guaranty Corporation forwarded a press release this week; he writes:

NGC graded one of the most celebrated world coins, the 1898 Single 9 Pond. This coin has a fascinating story, impeccable provenance, and is widely considered to be the most valuable coin ever struck on the African continent.

South Africa 1898 Pond Single 9 obverse South Africa 1898 Pond Single 9 reverse

The details surrounding the creation of the Single 9 Pond form one of the most compelling stories in numismatics. The Single 9 was the first one pound gold coin produced during the Anglo-Boer War between South African and the British Empire in 1899. At that time, the government of the South African Republic sought legitimacy in the eyes of the international community. One of the best ways of doing this was to manufacture their own coins and currency.

Since they did not have a facility to produce dies for coinage in South Africa, the government contracted with a mint in Germany to create dies for 1899 coinage. En route from Germany to the Transvaal, the shipment of dies was intercepted and seized by the British.

Still wanting to press forward on making their own coins, the government’s solution was to use dies from 1898 and punch a 9 on the obverse of the 1898-dated coins. Once the first coin was made, they realized that the 9 was too large – it intruded on the bust of President Kruger.

Only this first single coin was made with this punch, and all subsequent coins struck on this occasion were stamped with a pair of smaller nines. This second striking of coins is called the double 99 overstamp, and also comprises a rare and valuable South African coin; the single 9 stamp is unique.

The first coin, the Single 9, was immediately given to the United States Consul General, C.E. Macrum, as a means of confirming the South African Republic as an independent country with its own currency. Two pieces of correspondence, one written by the government assayer at the time, J. Perrin and the other by Macrum himself concerning this event still accompany the coin today. Macrum also had a small letter ‘M’ engraved onto the coin on the truncation of Kruger’s bust on the coin as a permanent marker of its provenance.

To read the complete press release, see: Legendary South African Coin Certified By NGC (www.ngccoin.com/news/viewarticle.aspx?IDArticle=1589&)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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