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The “Veld” Pond—A Colossal South African Rarity

Gold has filled the dreams of countless men and women since humanity first began valuing it, and its allure has driven an immeasurable number to seek it out, no matter the risk or consequence. The precious metal had been discovered by local indigenous tribes in what is now mostly South Africa as far back as the early part of the second millennium. Following increased settlement there by Dutch and British-aligned operations in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was also a subsequent increase in the search for precious resources like gold and diamonds. While the rich deposits within the hinterlands may have long remained a secret among the indigenous populace, soon word spread among fortune seekers during the gold rush of the 1880s. This further sparked tensions between the Boer (Dutch speaking) and British interests. The two sides had already clashed in the First Boer War (1880-81), with Boers obtaining a level of independence from the British. This freedom, however, lasted merely a generation, as the Second Boer War (1899-1902) saw any such concessions reclaimed, with the British consolidating colonial rule throughout South Africa.

During the protracted strife of the Second Boer War, the Boers resorted to guerrilla tactics, as the British had quickly subdued most of the Boer-governed areas. Growing short on supplies, the Boers were forced to acquire them from local tribesmen, though the latter wanted to barter with gold coins rather than simply ore. Owing to a lack of such currency, fairly crude dies for a gold pound were created at the site where some Boers were keeping camp. This outpost deep in the Transvaal gold fields known as Pilgrim’s Rest (Pilgrimsrus), is where the Transvaal Gold Mining Estates (the first gold mining company listed on the London Stock Exchange) was located.. Given the grassy scrubland surrounding the small town, the resulting coin—rather spartan in its overall design, and justifiably so on account of its emergency issuance—became known as the “Veld” Pond, or Pound of the fields. Fewer than a 1,000 were struck during the war’s final year and, given the outcome of the conflict, serve as a popular and desirable capstone for the Boer opposition to British domination in the region. In our upcoming January auction held in conjunction with the 2023 New York International Numismatic Convention (NYINC), we are pleased to present a survivor from this pivotal period in history. Graded MS-63 by NGC, it undoubtedly stands as one of the finer examples of the type. Given their mode of manufacture and utilitarian purpose, it goes without saying that the chance to obtain one so choice will not likely present itself again anytime soon.

To view our upcoming auction schedule and future offerings, please visit StacksBowers.com where you may register and participate in this and other forthcoming sales.

We are always seeking coins, medals, and paper money for our future auctions, and are currently accepting submissions for our Spring 2023 Hong Kong auction and our August 2023 Global Showcase auction. Additionally, we are accepting submissions for our Collectors Choice Online (CCO) auctions; the next for which we are accepting consignments will be held in February 2023. If you would like to learn more about consigning, whether a singular item or an entire collection, please contact one of our consignment directors today and we will assist you in achieving the best possible return on your material.

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