The South African 1892 Proof Circulated Set includes very rare specimens which are highly sought-afterby numismatists worldwide. The primary reason this particular year mintage is so valuable has to do with the story behind their production. A few of the coins were initially (and entirely accidentally) manufactured with two glaringly obvious and embarrassing errors.
It should be noted that the coins were on order from the Kaisermunt in Berlin, as the South African mint was not yet operational in 1891.
When they arrived, it was discovered that the first error had to do with the image of the wagon. On the coin it was depicted as having two shafts and front and rear wheels of a similar size. It wouldn’t have been a problem if it weren’t for the fact that this would then make it a continental wagon, and not a traditional Voortrekker wagon which was supposed to be depicted. The latter had a single shaft and rear wheels that were significantly larger than the front wheels.
As if that wasn’t insulting enough the second error came when designer Otto Schultz stamped his initialson the bust of the coin, as was the custom at the time. Unfortunately it turns out that OS is the Afrikaans word for ox, and at a time when President Kruger was campaigning for re-election, these embarrassing design flaws nearly cost him the election.
Naturally, new coins with the correct design and sans offending initials were minted and put into circulation very quickly. All‘error’ coins were ordered to be returned, but because they had already received so much attention, many were stashed and kept as mementos. This explains why, although scarce, they can still be found in mint condition. Today, these rare South African coins are commonly referred to as ‘error coins’, which South Cape Coins specialises in.
The full set of 1892 proof and circulated coins include the: Penny, Tickey, Sixpence, 1 Shilling, 2 Shilling, 2 ½ Shilling, 5 Shilling Double Shaft, Half Pond Double Shaft, Een Pond Double Shaft and the Een Pond Single Shaft. The 5 Shilling Single Shaft only has a circulated version. (Pictured below in the same order)
A little bit more about error coins: Essentially these are any coins that have been minted with mistakes on them. Regardless of whether these mistakes are significant or not, they are classed as such. Typical errors include double strikes, re-punched mint marks, double dies, over-dates (such as our own Double 99 Overstamp) and clipped coins. ‘Mule’ error coins are possibly the most interesting error coins in that each side of the coin has a different denomination. Error coins, although rare, are hugely popular and make a valuable coin investment.