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The South African Gold Krugerrand

Pile of Gold Krugerrands


Shortly after the second Boer War, which was fought between 1899 and 1902, the Union of South Africa became the world's largest Gold producing country. It held this position for most of the 20th Century and at times production accounted for about one third of the world's total output.

In 1948, the Afrikaaner National Party won the general election under the slogan “apartheid” or “separateness”. The intention was to separate South Africa's white minority from the non-white majority, and to separate non-whites from each other, dividing the black South African population along tribal lines in order to decrease their political power.

In the early 1960's South Africa was the largest Gold producer in the world, with very large amounts of Gold deposits in deep mines. In 1964, with the backing of the South African Government, a legal tender Gold Bullion coin was planned to help the country to market these Gold resources. This Gold Bullion coin was the Krugerrand.

The name Krugerrand is a compound of Kruger, (after Paul Kruger, who was four times State President of South Africa, or The Transvaal, between 1883 and 1900) and Rand, which is the South African unit of currency.

The coin was first produced in the South African Mint on 3rd July 1967, initially to be traded solely for the value of its Gold and the cost of manufacture. Initial distribution numbers were relatively small. The Krugerrand enabled members of the general public to become private owners of Gold Bullion and South Africa had the foresight to realise that the ownership of Gold would become more and more popular with private owners. The Krugerrand was the first Gold bullion coin to contain one Troy Ounce of Gold and was minted from 22 Carat Gold as direct competition to the Gold UK Sovereign which was the only alternative Gold Bullion coin available at the time.

Due to the US Dollar getting weaker, monetary standards were getting weaker all over the world. These developments meant that Gold ownership became popular for both private owners and investors. The fact that the Krugerrand was legal tender in South Africa meant that ownership of the coins was legal in the USA, a major part of the global market for bullion.

During the 1970's The Gold Krugerrand was the predominant way for individuals in most parts of the world to purchase Gold Bullion. However, during these years, some Western countries forbade the import of the Krugerrand due to its association with the apartheid government of South Africa. When the Gold Krugerrand was first introduced it was not legally possible, for example, for residents of Great Britain to own the coins.

Production levels of the Krugerrand have varied significantly during the past 50 years. For example, from 1967 - 1969 about 40,000 coins were minted each year. In 1970 the amount rose greatly to over 211,000 coins. This figure rose again to over one million coins in 1974. The record, which still stands today, is six million coins produced in 1978. Following the end of the apartheid government in 1994, the production of the Krugerrand dropped to 23,277 coins. Since then production levels have steadily increased, but have not risen to the amount of coins that were minted before the introduction of international sanctions. The Krugerrand is still legal tender, which means that in most parts of the world you can take it with you and sell it for cash.

In recent years South Africa's Gold mines have been in decline and China is now the world's largest Gold producer, with South Africa taking second place. The Krugerrand is not a particularly attractive coin. It is comprised of 22 carat Gold and Copper alloy that weighs a total of 1.0909 Troy ounces. The 24 carat pure Gold (.999) content of the coin weighs 1 Troy ounce. The Copper in the alloy makes it highly durable and scratch-resistant—and gives the Krugerrand its signature orange/gold colour. Markings on the Krugerrand are basic with only with its weight in Gold to emphasize its value. No monetary face value is inscribed on the coin.The obverse depicts Paul Kruger and was designed by Otto Schultz. The words “Suid Afrika” are inscribed along the inner perimeter of the Gold Bullion coin in Afrikaans, the native language of South Africa. The English translation “South Africa” is also inscribed. On the reverse of the coin is a Springbok, a well known national symbol of South Africa, which was designed by renowned South African sculptor Coert Steynberg. His initials “CLS” can be found directly above the word “GOLD” on the left face side of the Gold Bullion coin. “KRUGERRAND” is inscribed along the top of the coin.

Krugerrands For Collectors

The South African Mint produces a small number of limited edition proof Krugerrand coins every year for sale as collector's items. Proof Krugerrands are quite highly priced in comparison with their bullion value; the only difference between proof coins and the regular Krugerrand is the number of serrations, or ridges, around the edge of the coin. While the regular Gold Krugerrand coin has 160 serrations the proof coin has 220.

Many companies around the world are offering Silver Krugerrands for sale but these are not real Krugerrands. Traditionally, Krugerrands have always been minted in Gold and the commercially produced Silver coins have not been sanctioned by the South African Mint. The Mint has stated that Silver Krugerrands have no legal tender value and are not official or real coins. Silver Krugerrands are novelty items; their only value is their Silver content or collector's value.

Krugerrands For Investors

The Krugerrand is a well known coin. For UK collectors and investors alike, one of the main attractions is that the coin is VAT free and is widely available to purchase worldwide.

Sizes Of Krugerrand Coins

Click here to see our range of South African Gold Krugerrands.

One Krugerrand - weight 33.93 grams, 32.7mm in diameter (fine gold content of 1 Troy ounce or 31.104 grams)

Half Krugerrand - weight 16.965 grams, 27.07mm in diameter (fine gold content of half a Troy ounce or 15.55 grams)

Quarter Krugerrand - weight 8.482 grams, 22.06mm in diameter (fine gold content of a quarter of a Troy ounce or 7.776 grams)

Tenth Krugerrand - weight 3.393 grams, 16.5mm in diameter (fine gold content of one tenth of a troy ounce or 3.110 grams)