SOUTH AFRICA (Page 4 of 5)

Some Further Types of Tokens

Some Older Tokens of South Africa
"Coin World" Souvenir Pieces
"Gold Reef City" Souvenir Pieces
South African Elongates

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Some Older Tokens of South Africa

A Mine Stores Piece and an S & Co. Piece

Mine Stores (Natal)
Mine Stores (Natal), 1 Shilling, (Scale 150dpi, actual diameter approx 29mm).

    Briefly. Around 100 years ago this would have been money for workers (and perhaps others) to be spent at the provisions store at a mine in/around Natal. The reverse is blank. There are quite a number of other such pieces for other mine locations in South Africa. Those tokens were in general use as money, and for that reason they were sometimes referred to as “token coins”. Some other mine related “token coins” will appear on this site at a later date.

S & Co. 2 Shillings (Set 4)
S & Co., 2 Shillings, Set 4, (actual diameter 33mm).

This is an “S & Co” token; it was issued by the trading company Strachan & Co., a very well known issuer from this period, a company with a numbers of stores. The legend is “S & Co” / “2/-” / “IN GOODS” – both sides are identical. This brass token has a diameter of approximately 33mm, a beaded border and a sort of red stain – perhaps the stain is behind the token’s smell! All in, there are 16 different “S & Co” tokens; four different sets each comprising 3d, 6d, 1/- and 2/-. Like the “Mines Stores (Natal)” 1 Shilling, these tokens can also be classed as “token coins”. The Strachan & Co. tokens have been thoroughly researched – very well – by Scott Balsan. An article of his, on this subject, can be seen in the July 2006 issue of “Coin News” (Token Publishing). Much further information can be seen at . My piece (illustrated) is a 2 Shillings from the fourth set – this is the “NEW  S & Co  In Goods” series – it was acquired cheaply. Scott Balsan states that the tokens of this particular set were “Barter tokens first issued post 1900 - used as currency across Nomansland and southern Natal until 1932 despite the inclusion of "In Goods" ”.

A Tram Token

Municipal Tramways Johannesburg
Municipal Tramways Johannesburg 1½ Penny. (Scale 200dpi, actual diameter approx 22mm)

    I have three varieties of the above token. Two in blue (each with differing legend sizes) and one in black. The material is apparently celluloid - I believe the pieces to be from the early 20th century. Pieces exist from other cities/regions of South Africa.

    Quite similar, (through size, design, material etc..) regionally issued tokens were issued in Great Britian around this time and for many years afterwards, for a great number of towns/cities/regions. It would seem safe to assume that the South African types had a similar use to the British ones. A typical use would have been for local goverment employees to be given tokens by the token issuer, i.e. their employer. The employee would then get effectively free travel on the public transport, to a limit determined by the value of the tokens they had.

"Coin World" - Souvenir pieces

    The website of the South African Mint Company includes details of "Coin World" which is the mint's museum and retail outlet.

Coin World souvenir/advertising piece.
A souvenir/advertising piece from "Coin World".

My souvenir token above from "Coin World" is dated 2001. There are other designs for other dates. "Coin World" opened in 1996 and has developed into quite a major tourist attraction in South Africa. For more info on the subject on this site see...S.A. Mint Company info .

“Gold Reef City” - Souvenir pieces

Gold Reef City - Brass 1 Penny
A “Gold Reef City” Brass 1 Penny, featuring Kruger and a Rhinoceros (scale 150dpi)

    Another piece that could be similarly classed as a “souvenir” coin is the above piece from an attraction near to Johannesburg. “Gold Reef City” is summed-up by the company’s advertising in the following line “Step back in time with Gold Reef City Casino and Theme Park to experience a unique destination with a difference!”. The 1993 dated 1 Penny shown above is just one of many such similar pieces. I have seen a 1986 dated 1 Penny advertised for sale and have occasionally seen a full set of denominations offered on Ebay, comprising representations of all 11 pre-decimal South African denominations (1/4 Penny through to 1 Pound). Each of the denominations shows a different animal on the reverse and have sizes following those of the real coins. All pieces have a portrait of Paul Kruger on the obverse. Though the attraction is still open, I suspect that these pieces are no longer issued but when issue ceased I do not know.

Gold Reef City - Brass 1 Pond
A “Gold Reef City” Brass 1 Pond, featuring Kruger and a Giraffe (scale 150dpi).
Other pieces in the series include large animals such as the Elephant, Lion and Cheetah.

    The “Gold Reef City” series described above remind me of two British souvenir series which also follow designs of pre-decimal coins. A 1987 dated series from the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and a 1991 series from Pentref Llechwedd Village. There is a common obverse depicting the place of issue for each series. All pieces I have seen, Farthing through to 3 Pence, have a reverse featuring a near copy of the reverse of a coin of that denomination from around 100 years ago (except for the modern date and a “H” mint mark being on this side). I believe that higher denominations exist, but they are uncommon. These tokens would be purchased by visitors, at a fixed rate of old Pennies to the modern Pound. The tokens could then be spent during the visit using old prices. Of course, very few visitors would retain the higher denomination pieces as keep-sakes. I would imagine that the Gold Reef City pieces were purchased and used in a similar way.

South African Elongates

    In Great Britain “souvenir coins” are often seen in the form of elongated coins. There are perhaps as many as 200 different elongate designs for the U.K. and there must be 1000s for the U.S.A. In 2004 I came across a website which belongs to a company in South Africa that sells and markets elongated coins and related machines. Around that time I also found a website (no longer existing) that showed the collection of an elongate collector and included several South African elongates – this was the first time I had known of a collector with such pieces. It would seem that at least some of the South African pieces are made on foreign coins - perhaps there are more laws to comply with in South Africa, than in most other countries. I imagine there will be other countries in Africa with an elongate machine or two - but I have yet to find any evidence of this.

Gold Reef City - Brass 1 Penny
My “Cape Point - South Africa” elongate. (Actual size approximately 44mm long)

Eventually, in 2007, I managed to get hold of a South African elongate. To the obverse a lighthouse scene including surrounding plants and birds with “CAPE POINT   SOUTH AFRICA” above and “WHERE TWO OCEANS MEETS” below. This location can be seen at . To the reverse there is the logo of the SARCS, it is a large central cross with “THE SOUTH AFRICAN RED CROSS SOCIETY” and “SARCS” around. There is a start-bar to the blunt end of the piece, as often seen on elongates, in this case on the reverse. To the pointed end of this piece there is hole, this is for threading a string through. I had previously only seen holed elongates on the website. This elongate includes no sign of any underlying coin; the Brass composition and the 4.4 grams mass are no match at all for any South Africa coin. This would seem to be my first worldwide elongate made from a blank disc.

<>See more at... South Africa Tokens Page 1 of 5 , 2 of 5 , 3 of 5 , 5 of 5

South Africa Coins Page

Back to AFRICA TOKENS page.

New page at April 2003.
"Coin World" piece added June 2003.
Some Older Tokens of South Africa - added at November 2004.
Some Souvenir Pieces add at November 2004 - based on "Coin World" image/info that was previously on another page.
Image and Info regarding S&Co. piece added at June 2008.
Image and Further Info regarding Elongates added at June 2008.