There were several series of Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek bank notes issued before the note displayed below - starting with a first issue Rix Dollar in 1865, then bank notes on par with the British Pound in 1866. These second issue £ bank notes (with a total value of £12,000) proved unpopular and were not trusted and not accepted by physicians or businessmen who preferred to barter their services and produce for goods. They were quickly devalued and soon exchanged hands at about one third of their original value. The third issue of bank notes in 1867, valued at £20,000 was backed up by the surety of 300 farms and used to buy back the remaining Rix Dollars. (At this very time the Griqua Raad in East Griqualand approved their first and only issue of £10,000 professionally printed "Een Pond" bank notes.) The ZAR State's coffers were empty - drained by wars with the natives in the Zoutpansberg leading to chaos in the state's finances. Despite the financial chaos a fourth issue of notes valued at £45,000 was approved by the Raad (Government) in 1868 with a thousand farms being used as surety. The value of these notes fell to 75% of face in the ZAR but were not accepted outside its borders - such was the poor reputation of the floundering boer state as forgeries of the notes abounded. The value of notes in circulation by this time was estimated at about £79,000 - a sum that could not be redeemed. Despite this fact the Raad, in 1871, authorised a fifth issue with a face value of £60,000 - with the State President, D J Erasmus, signing each one of these notes individually to prevent forgeries. The notes were professionally printed by William Brown and Co to further prevent forgeries.
The values of the final 1871/2 series were as follows:
Image right above: The Balson Holdings Family Trust owns this superb Uncirculated (fifth series) £1 green ZAR bank note with the usual peghole in the top left valued at about US$1,000. (reverse of note below).
At this time the ZAR had nearly 50,000 "notelets" printed - ironically the Government could not afford to pay the printing bill of £187!
As you would appreciate these last issue bank notes circulated at well below face value with Civil servants finding it very hard to make ends meet on their "salaries"! The ZAR was headed for bankruptcy and President Pretorius was forced to resign.
In 1873 the new President, Thomas Francois Burgers, formerly a minister of religion, raised a loan of £63,000 with the Cape Commercial Bank to be repaid at £3,000 a year. The loan was only granted after the discovery of gold at Pilgrim's Rest - the loan was repaid by 1875 thanks to the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand and diamonds in the Kimberley regions and the resulting influx of thousands of mainly British "Uitlanders" pursuing fame and fortune. The ZAR had, as a result of the disciovery of gold, been saved from bankruptcy - but like in the case of the Griquas before - the greed in the eyes of a more powerful nation would lead to fall of the fledgling ZAR Republic. The Cape Commercial Bank opened in the Transvaal in 1875 but by 1882 had failed. The Standard Bank of South Africa opened in 1877 followed by the National Bank in 1891 (later Barclays National Bank).
(Source: C L Engelbrecht "Money in South Africa" pp63 - 69)
Value in 2005: The 1872 ZAR £1 bank notes are highly sought after - valued at over US$1,000 in Unc. Rarely seen on auction.
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