INVEST / COINS / South African Gold Krugerrand Coin
Western nations banned the sales of Krugerrands in the 1970s and 1980s. When the African nation took steps to reverse its Apartheid policy, Kruggerands were once again traded in the 1990s.
Learn more about the value and history of this beautiful and historic coin.
The first modern bullion coin, South African Krugerrands have a colorful and storied history. Their popularity spawned the bullion coin-minting trend entered into by many nations at later dates. Many of those coins are offered by McAlvany Precious Metals.
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Possessed of some of the richest gold deposits in the world, South Africa’s decision to produce a gold bullion coin was a logical one. The country decided to offer a commemorative coin to honor an esteemed leader, to raise the country’s profile worldwide, and to market South African gold. In all this it succeeded, for both good and ill.
During the first 12 years of its existence, 22 million of the coins were sold in America alone. However, in the late 1970s and 1980s, Western nations outlawed the sale of Krugerrands in protest against South Africa’s Apartheid policy. Canada, the U.S., and other countries eventually took advantage of the existing but unsupplied market with bullion coin offerings of their own. When South Africa took steps to reverse its Apartheid policy, Krugerrands again became legal for import in 1991.
Using a standard echoed by other Commonwealth realm-produced bullion coins, the obverse (front) of the coin features a national leader and the reverse a national symbol. Because South Africa is no longer a Commonwealth realm, however, the obverse does not manifest Queen Elizabeth II, but Paul Kruger, a four-term president of the republic. The reverse features a running springbok, the symbol of South Africa.
Kruger was a dominant figure in South African history during the 19th century. He was active in the military during the late mid-century, and later became first the vice president of the republic and later its four-term president leading into the Second Boer War of 1899–1902. His efforts primarily involved rebuffing British efforts to take control of the resource-rich country, diplomatically when possible, through war when diplomatic efforts failed.
Those efforts ultimately failed, but his influence was still such that he was affectionately called Oom Paul (Uncle Paul) by his fellow citizens. The name Krugerrand is a compound word created from Kruger’s name and the currency of South Africa, the rand. In addition to Kruger’s profile, the obverse features the words “SOUTH AFRICA” in both English and Afrikaans (“SUID-AFRIKA”).
The reverse features the national symbol of South Africa, the springbok—a kind of antelope. The design is by Coert Steynberg, a renowned South African sculptor. In addition to the springbok running on the veld, the coin features the word “KRUGERRAND” at the top, the date of production divided into two digits on the left of the animal and two digits on the right, and the words “fine gold” in both English and Afrikaans at the bottom “FYNGOUD 1 OZ FINE GOLD.”
Bullions coins are virtually unchanged except for date. However, the South African Mint Company produces some Krugerrands for collectors. These coins are not intended to be circulated or used as bullion coins. They sell for a higher price than bullion coins. You can identify one of these coins by the number of edge serrations it has. Collector coins have 220 serrations compared to the 160 serrations on a bullion coin.
The South African Mint also produced some collector coins to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Krugerrands. As the coins began to be minted in 1967, 2017 marked the date of mintage for these coins. Only 5,000 of these coins were minted in gold. They have a “50” mark to the right of the Springbok to identify them.
As the coin that started the trend, the Krugerrand is truly the trailbreaker. Other gold coins predated the Krugerrand, of course, but the concept of a rigorously minted coin with strictly controlled gold content, from a high-integrity mint, for the purpose of investing in or collecting gold with minimal fear of counterfeit or scamming, on a worldwide basis—well, that honor belongs to the South Africans alone. Nearly everyone who cares about gold knows about the Krugerrand. It’s rightly regarded as one of the most international coins ever minted.
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