WHAT TO BUY? HALF A BAG OF ONIONS…..OR A USED £5 VURTHEIM? by Garth Kruger

The ‘Pretoria Friend” was published by the occupation forces in Pretoria after the city fell to Roberts on 5 June 1900 during the Anglo-Boer War. The newspaper was printed daily and cost 3d. It was distributed free of charge to hospitals as reading material was in short supply.

The issue of Friday 6 July 1900 contains a small ad offering the Transvaal £5 postage stamp (postally used) for 17/6 each. As you can see from the image, the ad has the famous dropped “T” (humour intended, I suspect).

In the issue of the next day, price controls were introduced. A bag of onions cost 35/- as did a bag of potatoes.

Relatively speaking you could have had the genuine £5 stamp (in the time before the Hadi reprints) for half a bag of potatoes or half a bag of onions.

The statement “postally used” is interesting, as Wilbert Davids has recently observed that many “used” £5 stamps appear to have been remaindered by cancelling to order.

Do any of our members know who owned Pretoria Box 140 at this time?

One Comment

  1. Remarkable that the £5 was offered already the day after Pretoria fell. Obviously it was not all war. Society as such must have been quite functional. …..and of course: I am a taker for a £5 genuine used at 17/6 any day 🙂

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