£1 siege note

Mafeking, South Africa, AD 1900

An emergency note with a design by Robert Baden-Powell

In time of war, people have often shown ingenuity in printing temporary paper money as a substitute for scarce official currency. Some of the most unusual examples are those produced at Mafeking in South Africa during the Boer War (1899-1902).

Under the command of Colonel Baden-Powell (1857-1941), the British garrison was besieged at Mafeking for seven months, from October 1899 to May 1900. A makeshift series of notes was produced, printed on writing paper. The smallest notes, for one, two and three shillings were decorated with the British Arms. The ten shilling notes were green, and carried sketches of soldiers with cannon. The one pound note, shown here, was the highest denomination. It was printed in blue with a design based on a sketch by Baden-Powell: a kneeling woman and her child are protected by armed troops next to the 'Wolf', a weapon also improvised during the siege.

Returning to England after successfully riding out the siege, Colonel Baden-Powell was later to establish the Boy Scouts.

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More information


A. Pick, N. Shafer and C.K. Bruce (eds.), Standard catalog of world pape (Iola, Wisconsin, annual publication)

J. Cribb, Money: from cowrie shells to c (London, The British Museum Press, 1986)


Length: 133.000 mm
Width: 100.000 mm

Museum number

CM CIB 15327


Chartered Institute of Bankers Collection


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