Great (S African numismatic) investments of the future – July 200
by Scott Balson
JOHANNESBURG – The historic “Single 9” coin, the only example of a 19th Century Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) coin, was sold for the princely sum of Rand (R)9,8 million in Johannesburg in September 2001.
The 1899 ZAR coinage dies were intercepted by the British in Lourenço Marques and never arrived in Pretoria – preventing the minting of gold coins dated that year.
The Mint Master in Pretoria was then instructed to overstamp the second “8” in the mint date on 130 coins from 1898. However, when the first coin was overstamped it was realised that the punch was too big, and the rest of the coins were then overstamped using a smaller punch.
The coin stamped with the bigger punch went on to become the infamous “Single 9” coin. It’s validity is underwritten by a letter from the Mint Master which refers to the use of the inappropriate punch. It was later handed over to Mr C E Macrum, the then-American consul in Pretoria, and has since changed hands several times.
The coin was owned by the likes of King Farouk of Egypt, and in 1958 was auctioned for about R2 000 to a Dr Fröhlich of Port Elizabeth.
A Dr Fourie then bought it on auction for R4000 and sold it to Jan Kraay for R132000. He in turn sold it in 1998 through brokers Walter Fivaz to an anonymous buyer for R4.65m (about US$1 million at that time).
At the most recent auction, also through Walter Fivaz, the coin was sold to another anonymous buyer.
According to experts this coin is today worth about US$3 million or about R20 million.