The Krugerrand (Afrikaans pronunciation: [ˈkryχərˌrant]; English: // or /-/) is a South African gold coin, first minted in 1967 to help market South African gold and produced by the South African Mint. By 1980 the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market. The name itself is a compound of Kruger (the former South African president depicted on the obverse) and rand, the South African unit of currency. During the 1970s and 1980s some western countries forbade import of the Krugerrand because of its association with the apartheid regime of South Africa.
Production levels of Krugerrands have significantly varied during the last 50 years. From 1967 to 1969, around 40,000 coins were minted each year. In 1970, the number rose to over 200,000 coins. More than one million coins were produced in 1974, and in 1978 a total of six million Krugerrands were produced. Following the end of apartheid, the production dropped to 23,277 coins in 1998 and since then levels have increased again, albeit not reaching pre-international sanction levels.
The Krugerrand was introduced in 1967 as a vehicle for private ownership of gold. It was minted in a copper-gold alloy more durable than pure gold. 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 1991.
Over 50 million ounces of gold Krugerrand coins have been sold since production started in 1967.
During the great bull market in gold of the 1970s, the gold Krugerrand quickly became the No.1 choice for investors worldwide wanting to buy gold. Between 1974 and 1985, it is estimated that 22 million gold Krugerrand coins were imported into the United States alone.
This 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.
Private mints have also attempted minting gold and silver bullion rounds (the term coin denotes legal currency) in the style of the Krugerrand. The rounds often depict Paul Kruger and a springbok antelope, some even blatantly copying the design of the Krugerrands themselves, though the inscriptions are altered. These bullion rounds are not offered by the South African Mint or the Government of South Africa, and are therefore not official, have no legal tender value and cannot technically be considered coins.
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 British gold sovereigns), which 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 coin is so named because the obverse, designed by Otto Schultz, bears the face of Boer statesman Paul Kruger, four-term president of the old South African Republic. The reverse depicts a springbok, one of the national symbols of South Africa. The image was designed by Coert Steynberg, and was previously used on the reverse of the earlier South African five shilling coin. 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 additional sizes containing 1⁄2 ozt (15.55 g), 1⁄4 ozt (7.78 g) and 1⁄10 ozt (3.11 g) of pure gold. The word "Krugerrand" is a registered trademark owned by Rand Refinery Limited, of Germiston.
|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|
The South African Mint Company produces limited edition proof Krugerrands intended to be collectors' items rather than bullion investments. These coins are priced above bullion value, although non-proof Krugerrands also have a premium above gold bullion value. They can be distinguished from the bullion Krugerrands by the number of serrations on the edge of the coin. Proof coins have 220 while bullion coins have 160.
2017 marks the 50th year of issuance and to commemorate the anniversary, the South African Mint plans to produce "Premium Uncirculated" versions in gold, platinum, and silver.
The South African Reserve Bank restricts the exportation of the Krugerrands by a South African resident to a non-resident to a maximum of R30,000. Visitors to South Africa can export up to 15 coins by declaring the items to the South African Revenue Service.
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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