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This lengthy post could have gone equally well on the Coins and Medallions Forum - however, it is unique to Sth. Africa.

The author of the booklet - Ray Leppan - lives in Johannesburg and has a big collection of these coins. He has had this booklet published and has given me permission to show it on GMIC.

The Boer War lasted from 1899 to 1902 and was in two main phases. Until the end of 1900 it was very much a conventional war. The Boers started with both a uniformed Force and also the Commandoes. Initially, they were very succesful and we had many men and resources tied up in the sieges they had started on main towns. They were - at that time quite capable in putting an army in the field in excess of 6 or 7000 men.

However, as our army was reinforced the tide changed and they lost the ability to fight as large units. This should have been the point where a peace was sorted out - however, many of their leaders were not in favour of this. Kruger had fled to Holland and the Commandoes decided to fight on - using the 'hit and run' tactics that their name implies. This was unfortunate for both sides and led to a lot of the bitterness that persisted for years after the War was concluded.

One of our problems was that to guard large numbers of prisoners was very difficult - the man power at that time was just not available. We did though have our Empire and a number of Countries were brought into use as Prisoner of War camps.

These were guarded by British troops of the Countries garrisons. We used India, Ceylon, Barbados and St. Helena.

The prisoners were allowed small knives and were allowed to use local materials to create items for when they returned home to S.A.. Brooches and jewellery were very popular - pipes - cups - even chairs. They nearly always have the old Boer coat of arms and some are really beautifully worked. We used to see a lot of them - however, their numbers are limited and the US seems to have taken a collecting interest in them.

One item that the prisoners had on them were coins - which the British had produced for the Boer Republic between 1892 and 1898. These are now valuable in their own right - however, for the Boers they had a fascinating reminder of their home - President Kruger's head on one side and on the obverse - the Republic's coat of arms.

Kruger was known for wearing a tall silk top hat and for smoking a down curved Meershaum pipe. These were not shown on the coins - but the men liked to carve them into the silver of the coins. They also carved out the coins - in fact some of their work - with only a penknife is quite amazing.

Ray Leppan has made a collection of these carved coins and they are very rare. We have had them-in , but I've never seen so many variations. So, herewith - his introduction to his booklet and the pages of coins.

You will note that whilst Boer coins, several have British Regts. names or Insignia - obviously done by the British Guards !

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