An 1892 Mint State “Single Shaft” South African 5 Shilling

The Stack’s Bowers and Ponterio November 2011 World Coin and Currency Auction, the official auction of the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo is now online for your bidding pleasure. Lot viewing for this sale begins this week by appointment only in our Irvine office on October 27th and continues through Wednesday November 2nd. The sale will then be available to view by appointment only in our New York auction gallery Tuesday, November 8th through Friday, November 11th and finally you can also view the auction on site in Baltimore starting on Monday, November 14th. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment at 800-458-4646.
We are proud to feature in this sale an 1892 South Africa 5 Shilling, graded MS-63 by NGC. KM-8.1; KJ-147. “Single Shaft” Wagon. There are two major varieties for the 1892 5 Shillings, “Single Shaft” and “Double Shaft”. Both were designed by Otto Schultz and tell a very interesting story. With presidential elections closely approaching, President Kruger desperately wanted to release a new coinage into circulation as soon as possible; however, at this time the Pretoria mint was still under construction. Not wanting to wait, Kruger contracted with the Royal Prussian Mint in Berlin to produce the first series of coinage. This proved to be a mistake that nearly cost Kruger the election. The German die engravers were unfamiliar with the style of wagon used in South Africa and engraved them in the style of a European wagon. Although the design was well executed, the wagon was depicted with two shafts and two equally sized wheels. This differed from the normal “Single Shaft” wagon or “Voortrekker wagon” used in South Africa, which typically was depicted with a much larger wheel in the back. Although this seems like a very subtle difference, it nearly cost Kruger the presidency. Kruger’s political opponents immediately noticed the incorrect depiction of the “Voortrekker wagon” on the national coat of arms and declared this “an insult,” insisting that the engraver Otto Schultz’s initials “OS” represented the Dutch word for an Ox. Kruger took full ownership for this error and quickly had the appropriate design changes made. The piece offered in our November auction is lightly toned with very original surfaces. Click here to view this lot and all the other items we are featuring in the November 2011 Baltimore sale.

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