The Story Behind the 1898 Sammy Marks Penny That You Can Win

The 1898 Sammy Marks Penny that you can win in our rare coin competition is valued at R45 000. It’s an incredible prize and the story behind this rare coin and the man himself, Sammy Marks, makes for an interesting piece of history. Find out more about him in this article.

Just to whet your taste buds and set tongues wagging, we thought we’d let you know a little bit more about Sammy Marks and the valuable 1898 Sammy Marks Penny that you could win in the first South Cape Coins competition of its kind. It’s an incredible prize and this particular specimen is valued at R45 000 ($6700)!

To find out more, be sure to ‘like’ our Facebook fan page and keep your eyes peeled for information about this great competition. (We also post interesting articles, tips and coin collecting advice every day, another great reason to keep in touch with us there.)

Sammy Marks (pictured below) had a very interesting career to say the least. Born of Jewish Lithuanian descent in 1843, despite humble beginnings he was destined for great things. He immigrated to South Africa in 1868 where he started out trading cheap jewellery and cutlery in Cape Town. As a businessman, he soon made a name for himself after setting off for Kimberly and establishing a life-long partnership with his brother-in-law Isaac Lewis.

Marks’ first serious business venture began when he formed the French Diamond Mining Company, making a modest living by supplying goods to mines and diggers before expanding into diamond trading. When coal was discovered in Vereeniging they sold the majority of their claims and developed the Viljoen’s Drift coal mine after buying up coal bearing farms along the Vaal River.

He really began establishing himself firmly as a man of influence and means when he relocated to Pretoria in 1881 and became acquainted with Paul Kruger, president of the Zuid-Afrikaanche Republic (ZAR) at that time. After advising and encouraging President Kruger to build an extensive railway line between Pretoria and Lourenco Marques, he became a huge personal financier for the project and also helped secure massive loans from both the British and Zuid Afrikaanche Government in order to complete the huge undertaking. 

In 1888, in gratitude of his support of the Government and strong friendship with President Kruger, he was granted the opportunity of free use of the mint for a day, where he struck 215 gold Tickey’s as mementos for his family, relatives and close friends. The 1898 Sammy Marks Penny, however, was not struck by Marks himself but rather ordered for his own private collection. In total 240 of these bronze pennies were minted. What makes these coins exceptionally remarkable is that the majority have remained preserved and untouched in their original packaging. In fact, Sammy Marks stated in his will of 1908 that the coins were not to be sold for 100 years, and so, in 2008 they were removed from the safe in their original mint bag. Only 210 of these coins have been graded with the Sammy Marks Pedigree on the capsule.

The South Cape Coins Facebook competition that we are running is very exciting and the 1898 Sammy Marks Penny up for grabs is valued at R45 000. In order for you to qualify, you need to ‘like’ our Facebook fan page AND copy/paste the following into one of your status updates:

• I’ve just entered South Cape Coins rare coin competition. I could win a coin valued at R45,000/$6700!!! Why don’t you? Check out for a chance to win!

If you’ve already ‘liked’ our Facebook page in the past, then all you need to do is mention South Cape Coins in your status update, using the phrase above.

Go on, what are you waiting for? Good luck!

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