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South African Silver Krugerrand Coins

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South Africa has long been known as the hotbed of precious metals and stones. In fact, this African nation holds around 50% of the world’s gold resources according to the US Geological Survey 2002. Among the many gold products produced in South Africa, the Gold Krugerrand is perhaps the most famous gold bullion coin.

In 1967, the South African Gold Krugerrand was released as South Africa’s official gold bullion coin. It remained the only gold bullion coin in the market for over 12 years before the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf joined the fray. However, in that 12-year span, around 22 million Gold Krugerrands were struck and sold to buyers in the United States alone.

The infamous gold coin completed its 50th anniversary in 2017. Commemorating the momentous occasion, the South African Mint has launched the very first silver variant of this coin, the Silver Krugerrand.

With a rich history of over a century, the South African Mint is the official mint of the Republic of South Africa. It strikes legal coinage on behalf of the South African Reserve Bank and the Gold Krugerrand coin program is one of its most famous and fruitful programs.

Targeting a mintage of one million units, the South African Mint had initially planned the launch of the Silver Krugerrands for December 2016. However, due to unexpected issues with the test striking of the coin, the release was pushed back to the first quarter of 2017.

Although the premium uncirculated version will reportedly have a mintage of one million, only 15,000 of the relatively rare and pricier proof coins will be struck. The designs on the Silver Krugerrands are identical to the ones gracing the gold variant.

Paul Kruger, the third President of the South African Republic, appears on the obverses of these coins. In fact, it is from his name that the Krugerrand gets its name. The words ‘Suid-Afrika’ and ‘South Africa’ are imprinted on the both sides of Kruger’s portrayal.

On the reverse, an image of the Springbok antelope is intricately showcased. In addition to the beautiful design of the antelope, this side features the name of the coin ‘Krugerrand,’ the year of issue, and the phrase ‘Fyngoud 1 oz Fine Silver.’

Although the designs on the gold and silver Krugerrands are identical, the first silver variants (2017 Silver Krugerrands) will bear a unique privy mark. Above the antelope’s image, a small circle encloses the number ’50,’ indicating the 50th anniversary of the coin series.

Interestingly, while most new-issue gold and silver bullion coins have a Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) finish, the South African Mint classifies the bullion Silver Krugerrands as ‘Premium Uncirculated.’ This indicates the premium quality of silver used to strike each Silver Krugerrand as well as the top-of-the-line laser etching used to infuse new life into the designs on these coins.