Coins of the South African rand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The coins of the South African rand are part of the physical form of South Africa's currency, the South African rand. In 1961, South Africa replaced the pound with a decimal currency: 100 cents (100c) = 1 rand (R1), 1 rand being valued at 10 shillings and 1 cent at 1.2 pence.


12 c, 1 c and 5 c coins issued between 1961 and 1964.
1 R and 2 R coin issued from 1961 to 1983.

The rand was introduced in the then Union of South Africa on 14 February 1961, shortly before the establishment of the Republic on 31 May 1961. The coins bore the forward-facing portrait of Jan van Riebeeck on the obverse.[1]

The initial circulation coins of the Republic were the following:[2]

  • 12 cent (approximately replaced ​12d)
  • 1 cent (approximately replaced 1d)
  • 2​12 cents (replaced 3d)
  • 5 cents (replaced 6d)
  • 10 cents (replaced 1s)
  • 20 cents (replaced 2s)
  • 50 cents (replaced 5s)

The coins initially had the same size as the former South African coins. All except the ​12 and 1 cent coins were in silver. The previous South African farthing coin (¼d) and half-a-crown (​2 12s) were not continued in decimal currency.

In addition, two bullion coins with denominations of 1 rand and 2 rand were issued, replacing the gold half-pound and pound coins introduced in 1952. Both the pound and the rand gold coins matched the specifications of the British half-sovereign and sovereign (minted, among others, at the Pretoria branch mint until 1932), including the gold alloy (crown gold) with a fineness of 22 carat (91.67%). The reverse of the gold rand coins features the well-known springbok illustration designed by Coert Steynberg for the 5-shilling coin introduced in 1948.

Specifications of gold Rand coins[3]
Denomination Diameter*
Fine gold content
(g) (oz t)
1 R 19.43 1.09 3.9936 3.6608 0.1177
2 R 22.00 1.83 7.9873 7.3217 0.2354
* Maximum dimensions


South African coins issued between 1965 and 1988

A revised coinage series was introduced for 1965.[2] Denominations included ​12, 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Silver was replaced in coins by cupronickel.

Initially the coinage bore the portrait of Van Riebeeck, and later the state presidents or the South African coat of arms. The country name was given in Afrikaans, English or both. The ​12 cent coin was discontinued in the 1970s.

The gold Rand coins were minted until 1983. Starting in 1967, however, they were gradually replaced by the Krugerrand coins, especially after the issue of the smaller Krugerrand denominations from 1/10 to 1/2 oz in 1980.


South Africa 2006 circulating coins

New coinage was introduced beginning with a R2 denomination[2] (initially known colloquially as a "De Klerk"[4]), adding a R5 coin, and replacing all the denominations of the previous coinage. Initially the coins bore the coat of arms and the name of the country in English and Afrikaans. After 1996, the coins carried the name in one of the country's 11 new official languages. The 10, 20 and 50 cent coins were slightly redesigned by enlarging the numerals of the coin's denomination. From 2000 coins carried South Africa's new coat of arms. From 2002, R1, R2 and R5 coins carried the country's name in two of the official languages.

Minting of 1c and 2c coins ceased at the end of March 2002.[5] Minting of the 5c coin ceased on 1 April 2012, and the 10c coin, previously minted in bronze-plated steel, has since then been minted in copper-plated steel.[6] The 5c coins are still legal tender,[7] but have more or less disappeared from circulation, and most transactions are rounded to the nearest 10c.

A bi-metallic R5 coin with added security features, including a grooved edge and micro-lettering on the reverse, was introduced in 2004.[8]

The gold Krugerrand coin is produced in 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz and 1 oz denominations.

Specifications of current South African coins in circulation
Denomination Diameter (mm) Mass (g) Metal
R5 26 9.5 Bi-metal
R2 23 5.5 Nickel-plated copper
R1 20 4 Nickel-plated copper
50c 22 5 Bronze-plated steel
20c 19 3.5 Bronze-plated steel
10c 16 2 Copper-plated steel
5 rand coin introduced in 2004

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "From Van Riebeeck to Madiba". News24. 2012-09-12. 
  2. ^ a b c "South African History of Coins". SA Mint. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  3. ^ "Coin Specs". Coin & Stamp Gallery Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-30. 
  4. ^ "African Voices News". September 2001. 
  5. ^ "Cessation of Minting of 1 Cent and 2 Cent Coins". South African Government Information. 2002-03-22. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  6. ^ "5 cent coin to be discontinued". South African Government Information. 2011-11-24. Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  7. ^ "South African Currency". South African Reserve Bank. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  8. ^ "South Africa's new R5 coin". 28 July 2004. 

External links[edit]