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South African Mint

The South African Mint is given the responsibility of minting all the coins used in South Africa on behalf of the Reserve Bank. The mint is located in Centurion, Gauteng which is near Pretoria, the South African administrative capital. The mint produces coins and planchets used in the domestic and international market. [1]

History of the South African Mint

The decision to build the South African Mint was reached after gold was discovered in the republic in 1886. This started the gold rush that made President Paul Kruger create the national mint. The pioneering mint was built in 1890 and was ready for operation on 6th July 1892 in Pretoria. After the Second Boer War ended in 1902, the country became part of the British Empire. This led to the closure of the mint after the pound sterling was made legal tender in the new colony. [1]

The British passed the 1919 Mint Act and proceeded to establish a branch of the Royal Mint in South Africa. The mint started operating on 1 January 1923 and produced bullion worth £83,114,575 during its lifetime. As the colonial rule started to decline, the ties between Britain and South Africa weakened. This led to the closure of the mint on 30 June 1941. The mint was later reopened as the South African Mint. [1]

Since then, the mint is responsible for the production of most of the coins in circulation in South Africa. The coins include:

The South African Mint is a leading bullion coin maker striking most of the South African coins and in other countries. The main role of the mint is to make sure that the country has enough currency and bullion coins in circulation. The mint also produces commemorative coins which are a great prize for collectors globally. [2]

In 1996, the South African mint opened a museum and retail outlet called the Coin World Centurion. The museum is equipped with trained tour guides who talk to visitors as they view South African coins, minting machines, artworks, and antique furniture on display. Visitors are also given a chance to strike their coins using one of the oldest minting press. [2]

The old minting press is called “Oom Paul” and it’s the only remaining press of its type. The press has survived two world wars and was produced in 1891. The mint ordered the old presses from Germany when it was located on Church Square, Pretoria. The old presses were used to mint over 8 million coins between 1892 and 1900 including the first Krugerrand and “The Kruger million.” [2]

The Kruger million was minted to market the Royal family’s visit to South Africa in 1947. These coins were the first decimal 1c coins issued in 1961. Visitors to the Coin World museum have the option of buying the most sought-after Krugerrand coins, jewelry, and other collector items available at the shop. [2]

The SA Mint museum guarantees all visitors an exciting experience that would leave spark their interest and deepen their respect for the mint. The small mint museum is home to fascinating and beautiful displays that narrate the story of the SA mint. Visitors see coins, shiny collections coins, and antiques like the oldest printing press. [3]

The items in the museum tell the story of stages of South African currency development. The museum displays a variety of items that includes bartering shells used in ancient societies to the modern five-rand coin. It comes with advanced security features. [3]

The museum also displays coins that trace the history of gold mining and wealth creation in South Africa. Lovers of history are impressed with the type of artifacts displayed at the SA mint museum. The display captures all the details of Johannesburg deepest gold mines with the deepest one reaching 3.9 km. Before gold was discovered in South Africa in the 1880s, Johannesburg was a large farming community with 690 farms. [3]

The most notable bullion coin from the mint is the Kruger Rand that was produced for the first time in 1967. The Krugerrand was produced to allow private investors to own gold. Within the South African Mint facility, there is the Coin World. It’s not open to visitors, but it manufactures all of the South African coins and that of many other countries around the world. [3]

The SA Mint produces millions of coins every year. The Coin World is an educational center with content that is friendly to children. The museum contains a collection of ancient South African coins that date back to 1200. This is important because there is no recorded history of coin use in South Africa before 1650. [3]

The coins found at the SA mint museum are a representation of the country’s history, political changes, and values that facilitated South Africa in becoming a democracy. Visitors are allowed to take a piece of South Africa home by buying historic bullion coins. However, visitors are subjected to thorough security searches before being allowed to visit the Coin World. [3]

Visitors are expected to bring official identification documents and not to carry coins. The SA mint also produces different types of commemorative coins that include the Mandela series. This coin is awarded to South Africans with great achievements, for example, notable figures like the Nobel Literature Laureates Nadine Gordimer and JM Coetzee. The commemorative medals are colorful with pictures of birds and flowers capturing South Africa’s precious biosphere. [3]

The mint strikes different editions of commemorative coins every year. This gives many options to people interested in buying special gifts to mark a special event or anniversary. [3]

Bullion Coins and Bars from the South African Mint

The Gold Krugerrand Coins

The 1 Oz Krugerrand gold coin is one of the best gold coins in the world because it was the pioneering modern gold coin in the bullion market. The coin was struck for the first time in 1967 with more than 50 million gold coins being produced and traded globally. This accounted for 75% of the total gold produced in the western world. [4]

The production of the Krugerrand was part of the project meant to popularize South African gold, which is crucial for the growth of the economy. From 1971, trading in physical gold became vital with the collapse of the Bretton Woods Agreement. The collapse shut the golden window that enabled the direct conversion of the U.S dollar into physical gold bullion. [4]

The SA mint struck the 1 Oz gold Krugerrand coin as a way of meeting the demand for gold. In the 1960s, the Chamber of Mines of South Africa, the South African Mint, and the Reserve Bank came up with the Krugerrand coin. [4]

The Krugerrand gold coin was the first 1 oz gold bullion coin in the world. This coin is a legal tender in South Africa although it was never struck with a face value. The reason the gold coin bore no face value was to let the market determine the price. The pioneering Krugerrand was in 91.6% or 22k of gold. In 1980, the mint introduced fractioned Krugerrand coins that include the ½ Oz, ¼ Oz, and 1/10 Oz gold coins. [4]

Over 50 million gold Krugerrands of all sizes have been minted. In 2017, the Krugerrand gold coin marked the 50th anniversary since the coins were produced for the first time. The first silver and platinum coins were launched during the anniversary. [4]

The Krugerrand gold coin has a finer level of .9167 pure gold with the remaining weight made up of copper. The copper is what gives the coin an orange appearance in comparison to gold coins with silver alloys. The Krugerrand borrows its name from the South African President, Paul Kruger, whose image appears in front of the coin. The last part of the name comes from the world Rand, which is the country’s official name.

The famous South African engraver Otto Schulz designed the president’s portrait on the Krugerrand. The backside of the coin is engraved with the image of the springbok antelope, which is one of the national symbols in South Africa. Coert Steynberg designed the antelope. The design was initially printed on the five-shilling coin produced in 1947 to commemorate the visit from the British Royal family.

Sovereign Gold Coins

The first South African Gold Sovereign Coins were struck between 1923 and 1932. The coins were produced in 0.2354 troy Oz of 24-karat gold with a purity level of .9167 gold. This is the exact gold content of all the sovereign coins available in the market. The front of the coin features the portrait of George V, the British king.

The back of the coin is engraved with the image of St. George riding on horseback while slaying the dragon. The artistic depiction of St. George on the coin was done by the talented and famous Italian engraver, Benedetto Pistrucci. His design was used in all gold sovereign coins from 1817. The gold sovereign was produced in different amounts in the years it was minted. The ones minted in 1923 and 1924 are the rarest. This makes owning the South African Sovereign coin a rewarding experience because the coin is very scarce and has historic value.

Silver Krugerrands Coins

The SA Mint produced the first silver Krugerrand coin in 2017. The coin was meant to celebrate the 50 years of prosperity by the mint. Upon launch, the silver Krugerrand became popular among investors and had worldwide success. The coins were in premium uncirculated condition and never disappointed collectors and investors. Investors were impressed with the design, quality, and craftsmanship of the coin.

The silver Krugerrand came in a variety of series that includes the Protea series, the big cat series, and the Natura series.

The Big Five Coin Series

The big five-coin series is a bullion program the SA mint introduced in 2019. The elephant, lion, rhinoceros, and leopard coin series have been released. In 2021, the Mint released the Big Five African buffalo coin. Collectors keenly wait for the next coin in the series. The big five bullion coins are struck to honor and preserve the biggest five wildlife species in Africa.

The silver version of the big five-coin series bears the image of the majestic animals, struck in .9999 fine gold, silver, and platinum in 1 Oz. The big five bullion coin series is the best from the SA mint in terms of quality and craftsmanship. The coin also serves to showcase the magnificent natural wildlife South Africa is endowed with.

Revenue and Sales Pattern

The South African mint has successfully met its responsibility of ensuring that there are enough coins in circulation every year. The new anniversary Krugerrand products contributed to most of the profit the mint made in 2017. In this year, the South African mint reported a gross profit before tax of R952 million and a net of R668 million. [5]

The SA Mint is ISO 14001 certified and the mint is almost certified for ISO 14001: 2015. This certification recognizes the mint as a safe production facility despite the dangers posed by hazardous substances. The mint also plans to operationalize the Prestige Bullion plan meant to align the interests of shareholders and establish dedicated resources and personnel. [5]

South African Mint’s Distribution Channels

The South African Mint Group fully owns three of its subsidiaries that comprise two currency-producing entities and a third that receives all the deposits from the investors interested in investing in the funds in the short-term in the form of money market instruments and special treasury bills. [6]

At the top of the Group is the South African Reserve Bank. The South African Mint Company, the South African Bank Note Company, and the Corporation for Public Deposits are all supervised by the Reserve Bank. The South African Mint Company and the South African Bank Note Company produce currency. The Corporation for Public Deposits provides investment services. Each subsidiary is headed by its Board and Board members appointed by the Governor’s Executive Committee. [5]

References and Links

[1]Wikipedia, “South African Mint,” [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Mint. [Accessed 16 May 2021].
[2]Gauteng Tourism Authority, “The South African Mint,” [Online]. Available: https://www.gauteng.net/attractions/the_south_african_mint. [Accessed 16 May 2021].
[3]In Your Pocket, “Coin World: the South African Mint coin museum and store,” [Online]. Available: https://www.inyourpocket.com/johannesburg/coin-world-the-south-african-mint-coin-museum-and_157609v. [Accessed 16 May 2021].
[4]KITCO, “Why buy South African Mint Bullion?,” [Online]. Available: https://online.kitco.com/south-african-mint. [Accessed 16 May 2021].
[5]South African Reserve Bank, “The South African Mint Company (RF) Proprietary Limited,” 2017/18. [Online]. Available: https://www.resbank.onlinereport.co.za/2018/downloads/pdf/SARB_The_South_African_Mint_Company_RF_Proprietary_Limited.pdf. [Accessed 16 May 2021].
[6]Reserve Bank of South Africa, “Subsidiaries,” 2017/18. [Online]. Available: https://resbank.onlinereport.co.za/2017/pdfs/SARB_Annual_Report_2016_17_The_South_African_Mint_Company_RF_Proprietary_Limited.pdf. [Accessed 16 May 2021].
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