I have treasures of gold coins; some from my grandfather, most from my father, and one from my uncle.

There are many Kruger Rands, an American gold dollar and I have invested in some Mandela and Robin Island coins.

There were many more Jews in Alberton in the early days. They had much more of an influence on our lives then. I remember my father’s investment algorithm he absorbed from them, which he explained to me when I asked him about investment strategies.

“The old Jews used to say you should invest one third of your money in cash, one third in property and one third in stocks.”

Then remember he was a qualified Financial Advisor. He advised a few wealthy professionals ( and did not like it when they bought Porches) and he was a director of the Bank of Athens. He foresaw the world economic crisis and was no doubt aware of the impending Greek debt crisis. With the first dip in 2007 he saved a few stock investors by warning them. None of them thanked him. So when he did not warn them about the main crash; they were upset he had not warned them.

So why did he do differently?  All his wealth was tied up in property. Other than the thousands of homes they built to sell, I can recall only a few properties they sold: the farm in Meyerton, then the farm in the Magaliesburg. I met a dentist once who bought a small commercial building from my father when I know the company’s cash flow was at an ebb. I suppose I would have to talk to my cousin John and Uncle Arthur for details. It’s a kind of hoarding. But each building meant something to him. He knew when it was built, who they builders were, what the finance background was, who the first tenants were.He remembered every detail like it was one of his children.

I think it was the same with gold coins. And gold jewellery. He had amassed a significant collection which we stored in a big Chubb safe at home. In the early nineties we were robbed at home. Some armed men posing as appliance  servicemen held my mother up at gunpoint and forced the maid to call the office. When my father and his brother arrived they were powerless. After the head of my mother was cracked open by a pistol butt, they opened the safe and all my father’s gold was lost to some criminals who didn’t know anything about the history of each piece.

Funny, though, the history remains and we have bought more gold to tell more stories. This time we have to write it down.

Below is the ending of  the note my father gave me when I graduated in 1988.


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