Griquatown coins prices reflect the changing guard
July 2007

The exploding value of Griqua coins can not be better represented than  by some of the results of the Griqua pieces put up for auction in July 2007 by Noble Numismatics this month.

The values shown in blue in the image on the right were the prices realised at an auction in Melbourne, Australia this month.

The Griquatown pieces, no longer recognised as S Africa's first indigenous coinage, attracted remarkable interest with the hammer going down at over four times the reserve price.

For years Scott Balson has been reflecting on the changing interest of numismatists from "rare coins by date" to "coins with a history".

In other words the 1931 S African silver pieces like the 3d, although extremely rare, have no real history while pieces like the token coins of S Africa reflect a rich, living and real history. As Dr Frank Mitchell once put it, "You are holding history in your hand".

The real value of the Griquatown coins is in dispute after Scott Balson revealed that the coins never even circulated and were nothing more than failed token coins issued on the whim of Rev John Campbell.

With the currency tokens of Strachan and Co now being widely recognised as S Africa's first indigenous coinage the value of these pieces is looking rosy indeed.

The interest in these coins has seen their prices rise to US$4,000 per set from just US$35 about 25 years ago. An amazing increase, but just a fraction of their real potential value once numismatists around the world realise their scarcity and remarkable history!

Unlike the Griquatown coins there is absolutely no dispute over the Strachan and Co coins' numismatic pedigree. They were used as currency in a region as large as Ireland for nearly sixty years.

The stigma, which is slowly falling away, is their categorisation as "token coins". Although issued by a trading store they were used everywhere and even accepted by the region's first bank, The Standard Bank, at Kokstad because of the shortage of circulating currency in this isolated region.

So if you have a Strachan and Co coin enjoy the sharp rise in its value that will soon follow. This increasing value is further supported by the soon to be released book "Children of the Mist" who's twist is wrapped up in a Strachan and Co currency token coin.

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