4. CONTEMPLATING THE MAKING OF GOLD POUNDS

Various members of Viljoen's Johannesburg Commando, who consisted mainly of foreigners, were artisans who worked on the goldmines before the war and the skills to purify the gold and cast ingots were therefore available. Casting gold ingots as a first step towards making gold coins was an idea already expressed by Jules Perrin in 1874 when he tried to convince President Burgers that the ZAR government should establish its own State Mint, using the alluvial gold from Pilgrim's Rest.

The gold ingots cast by Viljoen's people were not acceptable to the black people, as they wanted real money as currency. According to Field Cornet AEG Pienaar the feasibility of making gold coins came from GE Waldeck20. During that time, General Viljoen was unfortunately captured by the British on 25 January 1902 and sent to St Helena as a prisoner of war.

 
General Ben Viljoen


General Chris Muller (1865-1945) succeeded him and, on his arrival at Pilgrim's Rest, during March 1902, Field Cornet AEG Pienaar told him that the Commando was in possession of gold to the value of £500. He also informed the General of the possibility of manufacturing gold coins in the mine's workshop21. Muller was impressed and immediately took steps to obtain permission for this venture from the acting president of the ZAR, Schalk W Burger and the ZAR Executive Committee (Cabinet). General Muller gave the order that, in the meantime, more gold should be scraped. A small amount of alluvial gold, bought from local diggers, was also added. No bar-gold was used for the Veldpond.
 




20 Pienaar, AEG. Boer Field Mint in Rand Daily Mail, 9 October 1902

21 Vaderland 21 September 1936.

 
  INDEX
   
1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Pilgrim's rest
4. Contemplating the making of gold pounds
5. Permission for establishing a government mint
6. ZAR field mint at Pilgrim's rest
7. Workshop and machines
8. Process of making veldpond
9. Cabinet ministers visited Pilgrim's rest
10. The mint commission
11. Final product
12. Medals awarded
13. Veldpond as a reminder
14. How many veldpond were minted?
15. Mining property left behind in excellent condition
16. The last time the dies were used
17. Marshall's book
18. Diorama of the field mint at the empire exhibition 1936
19. Conclusion
20. References