The Emergency notes of the Anglo-Boer War continued to be printed over a 2 year period during the fading days of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. These desperate measures to finances the hopes of continued freedom weave a very romantic story into the history of this money. The retreating republic set up treasuries in Pretoria, Pietersburg and finally in the battle field itself. The printing equipment was repeatedly destroyed and more primitive means were used with each succeeding printing. Paper was in short supply as is seen in the declining quality and expanding variety of the paper used to print the money. In some cases, it is surmised, even school lined paper was used.
These rare notes , known as "blue blacks" are individually signed and rarely seen in good condition.
The Balson Holdings Family Trust holds the Pietersburg notes seen below, the notes in the first row with the typewriter watermark
Notes below with
|no typewriter watermarks|
Reverse of the Pietersburg notes at this link
The late Mr Kloppers said that "All the coined gold and silver, the blanks and a certain quantity of'bar' gold' was removed from the Pretoria Mint just before occupation of Pretoria by the British. This was put on trains by which several officials, including the auditor-General, travelled to Middelburg and was guarded by Z.A.R. Guards. Middelburg was for about a fortnight the 'Capital'. Afterwards the Government moved on to Machadodorp and from there to Waterval Boven and lastly, to Hectorspruit. In the three latter places I saw the Government on wheels myself: at Machododorp and Waterval Boven, where I had to receive the salaries for the officials in the Noordkaap district; at Hectorspruit, when our commandos passed through. The salaries, which were paid out to me at Machadodorp and Waterval Boven, were paid 75 per cent in 'blue backs' and 25 per cent in properly minted gold coins. at that time 'blanks' were already known but only the officials had a few of them and they were then regarded as curios.... Only afterwards when the stock of minted gold was exhausted were the blanks issued. There cannot have been many of them. They were probably exchanged at some discount with buyers who still had money in their possession. They were also used to pay for sheep and grain obtained from farmers, though most of the payments were made in 'blue backs' only..... Then towards the end of 1901 the government after its wanderings, came to Steenkampsberg, where I visited them. There were definitely no coined pounds nor 'blanks'. The Government only had 'blue backs' (printed in Pietersburg) and some bar gold. After that time I printed 'blue backs' at Pilgrims Rest and made bar gold into the Z.A.R. 'Veld Ponde' that you know. These were the only coins ever made on the veld during the war. No 'blanks' were ever made, except at Pretoria."
The location of the bank notes over time reflects the increasing geographic
isolation of the boers
following defeats by the British in Pretoria, Pietersburg and then the remote Pilgrim's Rest.
(Map by "The Times" 1899)
More on the Boer War Bank Notes at this link
Value in 2005: The 1901 Pietersburg £1 bank notes are highly sought after - valued at over US$500 in Unc. Rarely seen on auction.
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