The Tabora Pound
One of the more interesting military numismatic items from the Great War (WW I) was a gold siege coin minted in German East Africa (Tanzania) in 1916.It was minted in a temporary siege-mint by the Deutsch-Ostafrikanische Bank in an adapted train carriage at Tabora (thus the letter "T" under the date) following the fall of Germany's major port, Dar-es-Salaam, to the Allies during the war. It was a gold coin valued at 15 Rupees (1 Pound), and was designed by mining industry expert Friedrich Schumacher. The steam from the train to which the "mint carriage" was attached drove a palm oil press that was used to mint these unique high quality gold pieces.
The gold coins were needed to pay the native troops, for, as in South Africa they, wisely, did not trust paper bank notes. The goal was to give one of these gold coins to each member of this 15,000 native askari army. The minting was possible because of a small gold mine in operation not very far away from Tabora from which the gold used in the coins was mined. The coin features the king of the beasts, a triumphant elephant, trumpeting with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background and the date “1916 T” below. A Senegalese gold worker from Zanzibar made the dies after a model prepared by R. Vogt. The reverse features the German imperial eagle with the legend “Deutsch Ost Afrika” and the denomination of 15 Rupien.