Here we’ll talk about a gold coin popular amongst collectors and investors – the South African Gold Krugerrand. This coin is a 22-carat gold coin with 91.67% gold and 8.33% copper, made by the South African Mint, and is one of the most recognizable gold coins among gold investors.
The gold Krugerrand is appealing for its historical, aesthetic, and physical gold value, and here we’ll talk about its history and how the Krugerrand became a favored coin.
We need to note that the South African Krugerrand is not an IRA-eligible coin, so you can’t add it to your gold IRA. However, you can add it to your coin collection, and even hold it as a physical gold investment, which can be a wise move.
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History of the South African Gold Krugerrand
The very first gold Krugerrand was minted on 3 July 1967 by the South African Mint and Rand Refinery. The coin was named in honor of the former president of the South African Republic, Paul Kruger, and the rand, the South African currency. It is estimated that the South African Mint has produced over 46 million gold Krugerrands up to date, which only proves the popularity of the coin.
The original South African Krugerrand has these factory specifications:
- Weight: 1 troy ounce
- Size: diameter: 32.77mm, thickness: 2.84mm
- Composition: 91.67% gold and 8.33% copper
- Obverse: a side portrait of Paul Kruger based on the portrait created by Otto Schultz, and the words Suid Afrika and South Africa in Afrikaans and English
- Reverse: a pronking springbok antelope, South Africa’s national animal, in the center of the coin, with the mint date on either side, KRUGERRAND on the top, and FYNGOUD 1 OZ FINE GOLD on the bottom
- Specific details: each side of the bullion coin has 160 serrations around the circumference of the coin face; the proof coins have 220 serrations around the circumference.
The composition of the gold Krugerrand gives it a specific orange tint which is a recognizable trait of this coin. Historically, the 1 troy ounce of 22-karat gold was used to mint the English gold sovereigns, which is why the Rand Refinery and the South African Mint chose this composition for the gold Krugerrand.
The South African Mint created the Gold Krugerrand for several reasons, but the major ones were to facilitate gold purchases by individuals and to expand the South African gold market.
Generally, people in South Africa and most countries can’t afford to buy large gold bullion bars, so they want and can afford smaller quantities. Gold coins make the most sense, as these are affordable, portable, and manageable, and more people can afford to purchase gold coins as an investment and accumulate wealth over time.
South Africa has a sizable gold mining operation operated by the Rand Refinery, the world’s largest single-site precious metals refining and smelting complex. Minting the South African Gold Krugerrand was an excellent way to produce gold coins that would attract investors worldwide and boost South Africa’s precious metals exports and boost the national BDP.
The strategy paid off, and by 1980, the South African Krugerrand participated with 90% in the global gold bullion market. The popularity vaned by 1985 as the world became aware of the apartheid in South Africa and the US, which was the primary market put a ban on the Krugerrand; the gold Krugerrand’s popularity decreased for a decade. However, the US laws changed in 1994, the ban was lifted, and the Krugerrand rose in popularity again, keeping its popular status today in 2022.
The South African Mint celebrated the 50th anniversary of the South African Gold Krugerrand issue in 2017.
South African Krugerrand Variations
The initial gold Krugerrand coin was issued as a 1-ounce gold version from 1967 to 1980. In 1980, the South African Mint issued smaller coins in ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz gold coins, which made the Krugerrand more accessible to people looking to buy smaller quantities of gold.
In 2017, the Krugerrand coin was minted in .999 fine silver and .999 fine platinum versions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the initial issue of the gold Krugerrand.
Krugerrand-Inspired Bullion Coins
As the South African Krugerrand has inspired several world-famous coins minted by other mints:
- 1979 – the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf from the Royal Canadian Mint
- 1982 – the Chinese Gold Panda from the Official Mint of the People’s Republic of China
- 1986 – the American Gold Eagle from the United States Mint
- 1987 – the British Gold Britannia coin from the Royal Mint
- 1987 – the Australian Nugget from the Perth Mint
Why is the South African Krugerrand Popular?
As we’ve shared above, the South African Gold Krugerrand enjoyed massive popularity worldwide and still remains popular with coin collectors and people investing in gold.
The numismatic value of this coin comes from its history, the graded condition, and the market’s demand. For example, uncirculated proof coins usually fetch a higher numismatic value.
Bullion coins fetch their value for their precious metal content, and the value of bullion coins changes as the price of precious metals fluctuates on the global market.
Even though the Krugerrands don’t have a face value, these are considered government-backed legal tender’ thus, the current price of gold determines the coin’s value.
The South African Krugerrand coins are valued in numismatic and precious metal value, made possible by the coin’s design. Because the South African gold Krugerrand has both a numismatic and precious metal value, it remains a popular and in-demand coin for many.
The Bottom Line: The Krugerrand Will Remain a Popular Gold Coin Choice
The South African gold Krugerrand is a valuable gold coin with a numismatic and precious metal value. The coin, first minted in 1967 by the South African Mint and the Rand Refinery, has become a globally-popular coin for investors and coin collectors, and the current precious metal market prices determine its value.
If you have come upon some gold Krugerrands, you should get them to a professional grader to get their condition graded. Do the necessary research before deciding what to do with them, and please remember that the South African Gold Krugerrand is NOT a gold IRA-eligible coin. Also, please follow our blog for more regular updates on coins, gold dealers, and investing in precious metals.