Strachan & CO. Tokens - South Africa
The Strachan & Co tokens were minted in Europe, and first issued in 1874. The most sought after and best researched South African trade token. There are only 60 full sets known to exist in the world.
They were minted because of the absence of an alternative form of currency in the Nomansland area in which the Strachan and Company stores operated.
There were four different sets of token sets minted. The denominations, of which, were 3d, 6d, 1/- and 2/-.
The first two sets (Sets 1 and 2 shows in the top two rows) are only stamped on the one face and are thought to be trade tokens. By this definition it is said they are "bona fide private coins." Set 2 have the letters "MH" denoting Mountain Home. This was a trading store in the mountains 9 miles from Umzimkulu.
The other two sets (Sets 3 and 4) are marked with the words "In goods" and are therefore thought to be barter tokens.
The rarest set of S & Co is the Mountain Home set with the old 1/- “in goods” variety being the rarest individual coin.
There are subtle differences in all the coins, which are not easily seen until pointed out.
There was another minting dated around 1880, probably as early as 1870. This was not a success because there was no hole near the rim so that they could be strung on a cord and worn round the neck, as the natives had no purse or pockets to keep them in.
These were minted then put in general use as currency in the area from about 1875 to 1932 when they were outlawed by Government decree.
Over 20,000 coins were counted in 1980 when research on these tokens was first undertaken in Umzimkulu by Scott Balson.
At the present time, it is believed that there are less than 100 complete sets of the 16 tokens in existence.
Scott Balson has done research on the tokens, and actually discovered the fourth set in 1978. Sets 1 and 2 are easily distinguished by the absence of "In Goods" printed on the coins (set 1), and the presence of an embossed "MH" (Set 2). However, the differences between Set 3 and Set 4 are very subtle, and difficult to determine.
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information, we recommend you visit Scott Balson's website...
the foremost expert in the S&Co tokens.