In this story from our archives reported in 1922, the “Cape Argus” shares a story of how a counterfeit coin machine found in Port Elizabeth was believed to be tied to the circulation of counterfeit coins.
The article below was published in the “Cape Argus” dated Cape Town, Thursday, June 15, 1922.
(Note: The author of the original article is not mentioned or referred to in the article.)
A coiner’s “plant” – pocket edition surprise
Port Elizabeth, Thursday – An extraordinary story in connection with the recent circulation of counterfeit coins has just come to light.
A well-known local was travelling by boat for another coastal port at the beginning of March.
While waiting for the tug to depart from the jetty he left his overcoat and portmanteaux for a few minutes among a pile of other luggage waiting to be put on the tug.
When climbing from the tug on to the steamer, he donned his overcoat for convenience of carrying, and was surprised to find in one of the pockets when he got on board a round metal machine somewhat smaller than an ostrich egg.
On opening it, he was more than amazed to discover that the object was apparently a counterfeit coin plant. Inside was the moulded impression of a half-crown with metal still adhering to it.
Very correctly coming to the conclusion that such an object was not a nice thing to be discovered in possession of, he lost no time in pitching it through the porthole.
The theory is that the owner of the machine, which being of metal could not easily be destroyed, wishing to get rid of it easily, took the opportunity of slipping it into the convenient overcoat pocket.
The gentleman who was the victim had not worn the coat for several days prior to embarking and is of opinion that the object might have been placed in the coat in an hotel.