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COMMONLY MOUNTED AND WORN AS AN ORNAMENT BY THE BOERS
History of the 1874 “Coarse and Fine Beard” Burgers pond
The coins were struck from the first gold found in South Africa and like the Veld Pond, it is one of the Country’s great rarities.
At a meeting of the Volksraad (Peoples Council) President Burgers presented 50 of his gold coins, the first strike – fine beard variety, to the members of the Council. He was expecting strong recognition and admiration for producing the Republic’s first indigenous coinage. Instead there was massive indignation. The members of the Volksraad were appalled and indignant that the President had seen fit to use the Republic’s money to produce a coin with his own face on it. They remonstrated with him saying that it was an egotistical and self centered thing to do.
The September meeting was one that Burgers would remember for a very long time. The meeting quickly degenerated into massive debate and erupted into general pandemonium. “He has produced these coins out of mere vanity and for his ego” exclaimed many of the members. Others replied “No, he has introduced our very own coinage”.
To make matters worse, the die broke and a smaller second batch, the rarer course beard variety, seen below, numbering just 142 pieces was minted, Pratt keeping four of these coins for himself before they were shipped in October 1874. The President’s beard appears much thicker and coarser in this second batch.