THE MANDELA BOOK – Only 100 Copies Made – I Have Six – Want One?

THE MANDELA BOOK – Only 100 Copies Made – I Have Six – Want One?

A Fascinating, True Story:

Many people do not know that a few years before Mandela’s sensational Rivonia Trial in October 1963, often referred to as “the trial that changed South Africa,” at which he was found guilty of high treason, he and 156 other people were arrested in December 1956 and charged with high treason. Charges against most of them were withdrawn, but on August 13, 1959 Nelson Mandela and 29 others stood trial on a charge of high treason. The case was heard in the Old Synagogue in Pretoria.

After a trial that lasted four and a half years and attracted major international interest, Judge FLH Rumpff, as President of a three-man special High Court gave this verdict on March 29 1961:

“The Accused are accordingly found not guilty and are discharged.”

In his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela comments that Judge Rumpff’s verdict, which included a statement that he could find no evidence that the African National Congress was anything but a nationalist movement, enhanced the credibility of the organization significantly.

Press records of this historic event would have been lost to future generations but for the fact that one of Judge Rumpff’s daughters and his wife had for the duration of the trial been compiling two scrapbooks of press clippings representing the approaches of the then conservative as well as liberal press in English and Afrikaans at the Trial, and presented them to her father as a memento after the trail had ended.

During a chance meeting with President Mandela in 1996 he learnt about the existence of these scrap books and, as he was very excited about them. She promised to give them to him as a gift.

She then took a far-sighted action: She took the two scrapbooks to an old university friend who was involved in the printing industry, Mr. Marnus Roothman. He combined the two scrapbooks into one professionally produced anthology, with a leather-feel cover and gold lettering on the front and saddle. Only 100 of these unique books were produced.

On September 7, 1999 the two scrapbooks were presented to Nelson Mandela at an occasion hosted by the University or Pretoria. 25 copies of the book were also presented during the occasion to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund with a view to be auctioned for fund raising purposes.

Approximately 15 copies were kept by Judge Rumpff’s daughter (now the wife of Judge Louis Harms) for the family archives. A total of only 85 copies of the book were therefore destined to become the property of individual buyers. Each book contains a certificate signed by Mrs Harms confirming that it is one of only 100 copies in existence, and that no quality commercial reprints can be made as the original scrapbooks have found a permanent home in the Nelson Mandela Museum.

Reports in the South African media after the presentation of the scrapbooks to Nelson Mandela were in agreement that the books were bound to become sought after pieces of Africana.

Sales of the book have been monitored to prevent one individual or organisation coming into possession of all or most of the copies with a view to resell them for a massive profit at a later stage – for instance after Mandela’s death. Single copies of the book were bought by individuals and controlled numbers of copies by South African tertiary institutions, while a few found their way to welfare organisations who raffled or auctioned them to raise funds for their specific charities. One copy, for instance, was sold at an auction hosted by the Pretoria Child and Family Welfare Society for R5,000.

Some copies of the book have also been sold to American collectors. At a silent auction in New York City, the one copy they had was sold for US$1,000 in 2001.

You can now be the owner of one of only 100 copies of this exclusive book that exist in the entire world. I acquired six copies from Mr. Roothman six years ago. They are available for an investment of just $1,000 each.

Contact me here. Robin Elliott.