SOUTH AFRICA (Page 3 of 5)

A Couple of Bi-metallic Items

Encased Farthing for the American Swiss Watch Company of Cape Town
A Bi-metallic Gaming Token
<>See more at... South Africa Tokens Page 1 of 5 , 2 of 5 , 4 of 5 , 5 of 5

Encased Farthing for The American Swiss Watch Company of Cape Town

    Encasing coins in Aluminium rings is a way of making coins into advertisements, for a business, club, event etc.. without defacement. These were first made around 100 years ago and often include a good luck message of some sort. Many hundreds of encased coins are known for the U.S.A., usually it is 1 Cent coins that are encased and new types continue to be produced. Encased coins are also know from many other parts of the world, with quite a number of the older ones being encased Farthings from Great Britain. It was to my surprise at a local coin fair recently, that I came across an encased British Farthing of 1939, advertising a South African company named “The American Swiss Watch Co.”.

    Look at the "Standard Catalog of World Coins" (Krause Publications) and you will see that the mintages for South African Farthings for 1939 and earlier were relatively low. The South African government only took over the mint in 1941, it had previously been a branch mint of the British Royal Mint. It was around this time that mintages of South African 1/4d (Farthing) and 1/2d (Halfpenny) coins increased quite significantly. It was likely sometime during this period that the use of British coins as South African legal tender alongside the South African coins came to an end. This goes some way to explain why a British coin and not a South African one has been encased with a South African advertisement. Another possible reason why a British coin was used is that the piece may have been made in Great Britain, afterall it has the same overall diameter (around 36.5mm) as some of the British Encased Farthings.

Encased Farthing - American Swiss Watch Co.
My “American Swiss Watch Co.” encased Farthing.

    Looking at the ring of the piece...around the obverse of the Farthing there is, on a horseshoe, "KEEP ME AND YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK" and a four leaf clover (a good luck symbol) below the king's portrait. Nicely arranged around the reverse of the Farthing is...


    So is there a Parliament Street in Cape Town, South Africa ? That was the first thing I looked into when I got the piece home and yes there is such a location in present day Cape Town. I also found something out about "The Amercian Swiss Watch Company". The page... detailed that the company is now just called American Swiss....

[Quote] American Swiss traces its history back to humble beginnings in 1896 when a Russian immigrant, Isaiah Hirschsohn, arrived in Cape Town with two suitcases. One was full of American watches, the other Swiss. Somewhat fittingly, he named his company The American Swiss Watch Company. These days we're American Swiss - the leading South African contemporary jewellery retailer, offering stylish merchandise for aspirational individuals in 183 stores nationwide. [End-Quote]

    A few year’s ago when I just had one encased Farthing, one advertising "Hooper Struves Mineral Waters" I wrote about it - that text is still on this site at.... My Encased Coin

Two other related links....

    Encased Collectors International  -  the site of a club of collectors of these pieces.


    Bi-Metallic Encased Coins and Medals  -  a page on the site of the WBCC.

A Bi-metallic Gaming Token

    Whatever you collect there must be something that you find to be elusive - you have heard of it but you can never find yourself an example or at least not at the right price. In February 2001 I saw some bi-metallic gaming tokens from South African on the website of the Manquoy Token Company (the Belgian makers of the original WBCC Bi-metallic tokens). From the images, the main legends I could make out were "MONTECASINO" and "FOURWAYS". I could see that the denominations were 25 Rand and 50 Rand. So for many years I have known that the gaming industry in South Africa made some use of ringed bi-metallic gaming tokens. But although I had acquired several metallic gaming tokens of South Africa over a period of a few years, it took me until July 2006 to acquire a bi-metallic example.

R25 token of Wild Coast Slots
IMAGE  - caption – 25 Rand token from “Wild Coast Sun Slots”

    The piece is a 25 Rand slots token from "Wild Coast Sun Slots", a resort a little south of Port Edward, about 100 miles down the Indian Ocean coast from Durban. On the obverse of this token there is, on the core "WILD COAST SUN" all stylised and specially arranged as a logo. On the ring on this side, there is "WILD COAST SUN SLOTS" above and " : R25 SLOTS TOKEN : " below. On the reverse there is, on the core the large "S" logo for the "Sun International" company and on this there is the denomination written as "R25". On the ring of this side, there is "WILD COAST" above and "SLOTS" below and in the three gaps between these words there is a tiny version of the "S" logo. The piece is round with a diameter of 28.5mm. The core appears to be of Copper-Nickel and the ring appears to be of Aluminium-Bronze. So from a distance - this colouring and sizing make the token look a little like a British 2 Pound coin. As at May 2008 I have yet to come across any further bi-metallic gaming tokens of South Africa, although I have managed to acquire a Copper-Nickel 5 Rand token as issued at the casino at Montecasino. This establishment is a leading entertainment centre located in Fourways, a suburb in northern Johannesburg.

<>See more at... South Africa Tokens Page 1 of 5 , 2 of 5 , 4 of 5 , 5 of 5

South Africa Coins Page

Back to AFRICA TOKENS page.

New page at November 2004.
Added "A Bi-metallic Gaming Token" at July 2008.