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Gold Krugerrand Coins

Front (Obverse)
South Africa Gold Krugerrand Coin Back
Design Paul Kruger
Designer Otto Schultz
Back (Reverse)
South Africa Gold Krugerrand Coin Front
Design Springbok
Designer Coert Steynberg
Weight 1.0909 troy oz (33.93 g)
Diameter 32.77 mm
Thickness 2.84 mm
Edge Reeded
Composition 99.67% Au, 8.33% Cu
Minting Years 1967 – present

Gold Krugerrand coins are produced by the South African Mint and were first minted in South Africa in 1967 to help market South African gold. By 1980, the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market. The name, Krugerrand, is a compound of “Kruger” (Paul Kruger) and “rand”, the South African unit of currency.

The production levels of Krugerrands have varied significantly during the last 50 years. From 1967–1969, around 40,000 coins were minted each year. In 1970, the amount rose to over 200,000 coins. Over one million coins were produced in 1974 and in 1978 a total of six million Krugerrands were produced. Following the end of apartheid, Krugerrand production dropped to 23,277 coins in 1998 and since then levels have increased again, although they have not reached the pre-international sanction levels.

History

The Krugerrand was introduced in 1967 as a vehicle for private ownership of gold. Unusual for bullion coins, the Krugerrand was given the status of legal tender. Therefore, it was minted with a more durable copper-gold alloy. Despite the coin’s legal tender status, economic sanctions against South Africa, for its policy of apartheid, made the Krugerrand an illegal import in many Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s. These sanctions ended when South Africa abandoned apartheid in 1994.

By 1980, the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold-coin market. Also in 1980, the South African Mint introduced three smaller gold coins: half ounce, quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce.

Gold Krugerrand Coin Variations

During the 1970s, the gold Krugerrand quickly became the number one choice for gold investors worldwide. Between 1974 and 1985, an estimated 22 million gold Krugerrand coins were imported into the United States alone.

The huge success of the Krugerrand encouraged other gold-producing countries to mint and issue gold bullion coins of their own, including the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf in 1979, the Australian Nugget in 1981, the Chinese Gold Panda in 1982, the American Gold Eagle in 1986, and the British Britannia coin in 1987. Many private mints also mint gold and silver bullion rounds in the style of the Krugerrand.

Krugerrand Properties

The Krugerrand is 32.77 mm in diameter and 2.84 mm thick. The Krugerrand’s actual weight is 1.0909 troy ounces (33.93 g). It is minted from gold alloy that is 91.67% pure (22 karats), so the coin contains one troy ounce (31.1035 g) of gold. The remaining 8.33% of the coin’s weight (2.826 g) is copper (an alloy known historically as crown gold, which has long been used for English gold sovereigns). The alloy  gives the Krugerrand a more orange appearance than silver-alloyed gold coins. Copper alloy coins are harder and more durable, so they can resist scratches and dents.

The front side (obverse) of the Krugerrand coin was designed by Otto Schultz, and depicts the face of Boer statesman Paul Kruger, four-term president of the old South African Republic. The reverse side of the coin was designed by Coert Steynberg and depicts a springbok, one of the national symbols of South Africa. The springbok was previously used on the reverse of the earlier South African five-shilling coins. The name “South Africa” and the gold content are inscribed in both Afrikaans and English (as can be seen on the pictures of the coin).

Since September 1980, Krugerrands have also become available in three different sizes containing exactly 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce and 1/10 ounce of pure gold.

Specifications
Denomination Diameter*
(mm)
Thickness*
(mm)
Weight
(g)
Fineness Gold content Edge
reeded
(g) (oz t)
1 oz 32.77 2.84 33.930 22 karat 91.67% 31.103 1.000 160**
1/2 oz 27.07 2.215 16.965 22 karat 91.67% 15.552 0.500 185
1/4 oz 22.06 1.888 8.482 22 karat 91.67% 7.776 0.250 150
1/10 oz 16.55 1.35 3.393 22 karat 91.67% 3.110 0.100 115
* Maximum dimensions

Proof Krugerrands

The South African Mint Company produces limited-edition proof Krugerrands intended to be collectors’ items rather than bullion investments. We call these “numismatic” coins. Numismatic coins are usually priced much higher than bullion coins. Numismatic Krugerrands can be distinguished from the bullion Krugerrands by the number of serrations on the edge of the coin. Proof coins have 220 serrations, while bullion coins have 160.

Culture

Depositing Krugerrands in Salvation Army donation kettles has become an annual tradition of one or more anonymous benefactors in several cities around the United States, including Daphne, AL, Atlanta, GA, Seattle, WA, Spokane, WA, Fargo, ND, Bay City, MI, St. Clair Shores, MI, Kokomo, IN, and Tulsa, OK.

 

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