Boer War Page 90d

Rare Boer War Discoveries

Below are some of the items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve memorabilia from this period.

Boer War Discovery of the Month (Nov 2001)
Kruger's Gold: Thousands died to protect it; thousands more died to take it. In the past hundred years, thousands more hunted for the South African Republic's missing treasury. Now after a long search, the Canadian Boer War Museum is proud to announce that we have found some of the missing Transvaal gold!
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
South African (Transvaal) Republic gold piece locket, 1898
Original one pound gold piece in mount with pin - Size -1"d
Found - Owen Sound, ON
Removable without damage to coin.
This genuine South African Republic gold 1 pound coin, bears the profile of Transvaal President Paul Kruger (below), and the date 1898 when it was issued. On the bottom is the motto of the Transvaal Republic "Endragt magt maakt", Strength Through Unity.

This coin was minted from original Transvaal Government gold from the Witwatersrand near Johannesburg, South Africa, where the Boers found the richest gold field in the world, in 1886.

"Cursed Metal!" Ironically, Paul Kruger's face is on gold which he called "this cursed metal," predicting that future generations of Boer children would die as a result of the discovery of gold in his Republic. He was right.

British financiers in alliance with British politicians created a climate which would precipitate a reason for interfering in the internal politics of the Transvaal.

Boers were farmers not miners. Thousands of British subjects swarmed into the Transvaal Republic from adjoining British Cape Colony. Soon the immigrant workers outnumbered the Boer citizens and demanded equal voting rights, leading inevitably with union with Britain, and the end of the independence of the Boer Republic. Kruger's government made minimal concessions; Britain made impossible demands. Within months talks broke down, and Britain menaced the Boers by sending thousands of troops to South Africa. The Boers issued an ultimatum, which Britain ignored.

War: War broke out in October, 1899, when the Boers invaded British Cape Colony. Fulfilling Paul Kruger's prophecy, the greed for the very gold (above), was to cost tens of thousands of Boer and British men, women, and children, their lives over the next two and a half years.

One of three hundred Canadians who would die - heroically at Leliefontein - was young Norman Builder (right), of Brantford, Ontario, photographed in his regimental tux the year before he left for Africa.

Greed for Kruger's gold played a part in sending the first Canadian military contingent ever to take part in a foreign war.

Souvenir: The gold coin (top), was brought back from South Africa as a souvenir by a British soldier. He created a mount with a pin and a ring to hold the coin so that it could be worn as a brooch or on a necklace, without damaging the coin - and its value - in any way

(right) A similar 1 pound gold coin from 1896, fashioned into a souvenir brooch in Wellington, NZ, featuring an arrow through the heart of that nasty Oom Paul Kruger.)

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 2000