World Coins

Sammy Marks gold coin stars in auction

In 1898, South African President Paul Kruger allowed industrialist Sammy Marks to strike his own coins at the mint, and he created 215 gold versions of the tickey (threepence), a coin that was normally struck in silver.

Images courtesy of Dix Noonan Webb.

Through mining magnate Sammy Marks’ relationship with South African President Paul Kruger, Marks was allowed to run the mint for a whole day.

It was a gesture to thank Marks for his efforts in securing financing for a railroad and other endeavors. And Marks did what any self-respecting person let loose with a mint would do — he made money.

Marks struck 215 gold examples of the 1898 tickey, a threepence that was normally struck in silver. These pieces were presented to Marks’ relatives and friends (including Kruger) and members of the Volksraad (People’s Council), and may have been made of gold from the Sheba Mine in which Marks had an interest. 

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Although not legal tender, numismatists regard the pieces as part of the South African series. 

An example of this rarity sold March 21 for £22,800 ($32,996 U.S.), including the 20 percent buyer’s fee, against an estimate of £10,000 to £12,000 in Dix Noonan Webb’s two-day auction in London. It was graded Mint State 61 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. 

The auction realized in total £1,086,150, ($1,571,850 U.S.) including the buyer’s fees.

For more information about the sale, visit the auction house’ website.

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