SOUTH AFRICA (Page 3 of 5)
A Couple of Bi-metallic Items
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.
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... http://www.dressforsuccess.nl/Fashion-Accessories.Jewellery-and-Bijoux.html 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.
Encased Coins and Medals - a page on the site of the WBCC.
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
or at least not at the right price. In February 2001 I saw some
gaming tokens from South African on the website of the Manquoy Token
(the Belgian makers of the original WBCC
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
gaming industry in
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
Indian Ocean coast from Durban. On the obverse of this token there is,
South Africa Coins Page
Back to AFRICA TOKENS page.
New page at November 2004.
Added "A Bi-metallic Gaming Token" at July 2008.