1902 Boer War Upington Border Scouts £5 Cloth Note
From the 4th June 2013 Sale
Upington on the Orange River, South Africa, February 1, 1902, £5, P-Unlisted but similar to other listed denominations from this rare Boer War Issue. The note is printed on cloth with large black overprint "Issued by Paymaster -- Upington" emblem of the Border Scouts at left, handwritten text in red "Received from O.C.B.S. (Officer Commanding Border Scouts), The Sum of 5 Pounds for Pay" with Major John Birkbeck signature at lower right, diagonal overprint in middle "CAN- CELLED BY PAYMENT", 158 X 90 mm's, back blank, Appears in Fine to VF condition. Very possibly unique and unlisted in SCWPM. This rare issue of ban- knoteswerecreatedbythe UpingtonBorderScoutsin1902,towardstheendofthe SecondBoerWar.Theyissuedtheirowncurrencyinitiallyonpaper,and when exhausted on uniform and other cloth materials on hand.
The Border Scouts were raised at Upington in May 1900 as a local defense force and in September all of the white troops in the district were withdrawn leaving only men who were all half-castes and chiefly descendants of Boer farmers and native women. Most were either well-to-do farmers having large herds, others were hunters in the Kalahari Desert. All were excellent marksmen and riders and with their knowledge of the country, made them invaluable as scouts. The regiment not having drawn any pay for many months, and the authorities stating it was impossible to get money safely through, Major Birkbeck decided to make his own money. Few of the men could read so inks of different colors were used for each value.