A rare South African coin scrapped due to a design flaw is one of the most desirable and THE most expensive to come out of Africa.
The 1898 “Single 9” Pond was minted during the Anglo-Boer War when President Paul Kruger was trying hard to hold on to the independence of South Africa. He ordered the creation of new gold coins – but without access to new dies and the existing shipment being intercepted, they decided to go ahead and use the preexisting dies from 1898.
The plan was to punch the number 9 on the face of the coin to signify the right year – 1899. In total, they were asked to create 130 coins, but after the first one they realised the number 9 was too large and it interfered with the bust of President Kruger’s face.
The design was scrapped and more effort was placed on creating a better design. The other 129 coins were minted with two smaller 9’s and they were dubbed the ‘Double 99’.
The single flawed coin was worth more
The single flawed coin was called the ‘Single 9’ and was gifted to the US Consul General CE Macrum.
The coin was lost again for 50 years until it resurfaced as a coveted item in King Farouk bin Fuad of Egypt’s personal collection in 1954. It returned to South Africa when a wealthy local of Port Arthur purchased it for 655 Egyptian pounds.
Even though it finally made its way home, the coin changed owners five times again after – until in 2010 a private buyer paid R20 million for the Single 9 Pond.
It is unknown where the buyer lives and where the rare piece is now but its ties to South Africa’s past is solidified in the flawed, yet rare, design.