In 1967, when South Africa was still part of the British Empire, and mining more than 1,000 tons of gold every year (making it in that decade, one of the largest producers of gold), South Africa decided to market their gold by introducing the One Ounce Krugerrand gold coin.
This move proved to be a good marketing strategy because after over four decades and much competition from other coins, the Krugerrand is still circulating in the world. South Africa is still producing Krugerrand coins to this day, where 48,000,000 troy ounces of fine gold is contained in Krugerrands sold. Rand Refinery Limited equate this to more Krugerrands in circulation internationally than all other Gold bullion coins combined.
It was from the 70s to 80s that most of the existing Krugerrand coins were minted just to meet the high demand for gold bullion. But during that period when South Africa was under apartithed rule, some countries banned the import of Krugerrand as part of sanctions against the South African government.
Since the Krugerrand was the first legally tendered coin, its importation to the United States was allowed. Many Americans enjoyed their rights to buy and own one or more Krugerrand coins. From then until now, the status of Krugerrand as one of the recognizable and saleable gold bullion remains.
However, importing Krugerrand coins into the United States was prohibited in 1985. The Congress passed a law prohibiting South Africa to sell Krugerrand in the United States. However, there were already 22 million coins imported to the US before the prohibition law was enacted.
In 1994, the Congress lifted that prohibition and the Krugerrand coin trade started to flourish again.
But there was problem: the success of Krugerrand was imitated by other gold producing nations. USA have their Gold Eagle, while other bullion gold coins also existed such as Canadian Maple Leaf, Chinese Panda, Austrian 100-corona, Mexican 50-peso, Britannia coin, and Australian Nugget.
The famous gold bullion Krugerrand got its name from Paul Kruger. He was a famous Boer resistance leader who fought against Great Britain. He was also the fifth as well as the last president of the South African Republic, holding office for four terms. The coin bears the image of Paul Kruger on the obverse.
The coin's reverse has a springbok antelope. This is one of the most recognisable national symbols of South Africa. This design was created by Coert Steynberg and was also used in the early five shillings of South Africa for Queen Elizabeth and George VI.
The obverse also bears the country's name in Afrikaans ("Suid Afrika") and English ("South Africa") as well as the fine gold content.
Although famous as a gold bullion coin, the Krugerrand is not composed of pure gold. Only 91.67 percent or 22 karats of gold is used to mint a Krugerrand coin. Copper composes the remainder of the metal in the coin, which gives the coin its orange appearance. Adding copper is also important to make the gold coin harder, therefore, making it more durable, providing resistance to dents and scratches. However to reflect the 22 carat purity of the coin, the krugerrand is manufactured over 1 ounce to make sure that 1 full ounce of pure gold is in the coin.
Originally minted in a 1 ounce version, later three fractional versions of the Krugerrand gold coin were produced, these are:
Although there are arguably more attractive designs of bullion coin available, the Krugerrand coin still has the edge as one of the most recognisable and saleable bullion coins on the market.
Article Published On: 02 April 2009
Article Revised On: 11 May 2011