From the 217 Day Siege of Mafeking
Item Ref:  BSL - Mafeking Siege Money

Lord Baden Powell (1857-1941)

Unusual - Imperforate Left - 1 Shilling Mafeking Exchange Voucher issue under authority of Colonel (later Lord) Baden-Powell, Commanding the Rhodesian Forces.  The voucher was good for 1 Shilling and was to be exchanged for coin at the Mafeking Branch of the Standard Bank on the resumption of Civil Law.  Issued in February 1900 No. B 6130, signed in ink by Captain Greener, Chief Paymaster.  Little more than 10% of these notes were actually redeemed as their historical value in many cases exceeded their monetary one.  What is unusual about this note is the lack of perforation on the left side.


The Siege of Mafeking was the most famous British action in the Second Boer War. It lasted 217 days, from October 1899 to May 1900, and turned Robert Baden-Powell into a national hero. The resistance of the soldiers and civilians provoked international interest and proved to be a decisive propaganda if not military victory for the British.

Colonel Robert Stephenson Smith Baden-Powell was a Commander of Rhodesian forces in the fall of 1899. As hostilities were imminent with the Dutch Boers, Baden Powell, commanding a highly trained commando force, determined to defend the small town of Mafeking which lay on the main railroad line between Kimberley and Bulawayo. What was remarkable about Powell's defense is that much of it consisted of deception. He had his soldiers bury fake landmines, string invisible barb-wire and moved his few cannons around each night giving the Boers the impression that the town was much better defended than was actually the case.  As normal commerce was interrupted and rationing ordered, Powell issued 1, 2 and 3 shilling coupons as well as as ten-shilling and one-pound notes. From February to March 1900, these notes were printed in an underground shelter on ordinary writing paper. As the notes was released into circulation, the Army Paymaster, Capt. Greener, collateralized the notes by depositing checks of an equivalent amount into the Mafeking branch of the Standard Bank of South Africa, which were accepted by Robert Urry, the manager. So few of the notes and coupons were actually redeemed that it created a rather fat bank account and later raised questions of faulty accounting. The last notes were redeemed in 1908. Lord Baden-Powell is of course perhaps best known as the founder of the Boy Scouts.

Reverse Side of Item

Document Specifications: The currency measures 5" wide x 3.75" tall (128mm x 98mm).  The item is used, folded and wrinkled with minor edge tears.  It is embossed with the a "One Penny" Bechuanaland Revenue stamp.  There are several small pinholes as is common.  It is signed by Capt. Greener, Chief Paymaster as is common.  There is no perforation on the Left Edge.  Printed by "T. & Son, Printers, Mafeking".

 Offered by Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. .................................  $ SOLD

End of Item - BSL - Mafeking Siege Money

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