Krugerrand is a luminary name in the world of coins. The South African government began issuing them in the 1960’s. It was the original gold bullion coin, created as a marketing vehicle for South African gold. By the year 1980 the Krugerrands comprised an estimated 90% of the gold coin trading business around the world.
Many other countries and coins followed, but the Krugerrand was first and still enjoys status as perhaps the most recognized gold coin worldwide.
The coin set the trend. Other countries followed South Africa’s lead by issuing gold bullion coins of their own, providing a way to make physical gold more accessible to their citizens. Gold has always been an important strategic asset and governments sought to keep more of the metal produced in domestic mines from being exported by developing demand internally.
Krugerrands are more durable than pure gold coins because they are made from an alloy of gold and copper. The addition of copper makes the coin much harder – more scratch and wear resistant – than .999+ gold.
The gold purity is 22 karat, but each coin is marked and sold based upon the actual gold content. The quarter ounce Krugerrand, for example, contains a full quarter ounce of gold plus the additional weight of the copper alloy.
The name itself comes from combining the currency of the country, rand, with the last name of Paul Kruger, the famed former president of South Africa. Along with Kruger’s portrait, the coin’s obverse carries the inscriptions ‘South Africa’ and ‘Suid Afrika’ which highlight the varied languages across the country. Including both languages was important at the time, as it showed the joining of the two very different cultures within South Africa; the Afrikani and the Western.
These coins were the easiest way for the locals of South Africa to invest in gold. The rest of the world was introduced to the coin during the 1970s’ great rally in gold prices.
Go back to the original mintage year of 1967 for the ¼ Krugerrand, and investors purchased the coin for 28 rand. This is equivalent to approximately $2.42 US dollars at the current exchange rate. Today the same coin is valued about 140 time higher.
These coins proved to be as solid bullion investments and those that grabbed them early are very glad they did today.
The gold South African Krugerrand coin reverse side features a springbok antelope. This animal is considered iconic in South Africa, so it is presented proudly on a field of grass. It is also marked with “1/4 Krugerrand”, the date of issue, and the words “Fyngold ¼ oz Fine Gold” – another example of the two languages.
As mentioned above, the name of coin comes in part from the name of former President Paul Kruger. Not only does the coin bear his name, his profile appears on the obverse side of the coin. Kruger is considered a hero in the country for his role in the Second Boer War against the British.
Krugerrands are minted by the Rand Refinery – the South African Mint which is located in Centurion. The name Centurion may confuse some people, as before 1995 that area was known as Verwoerdburg. It was given the name Verwoerdburg in the same year that production of Krugerrands began – 1967. Prior to that, the area was known as Lyttleton.
The denominations of the gold South African Krugerrand coins are 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz and 1 oz. Each coin is stamped with its actual gold weight. The gross weight of the coins is slightly higher than marked because of the additional weight of the copper alloy used.
The quarter ounce coin is 22mm in diameter – nearly 7/8” and the thickness is 1.89mm (.074”). The gold weight in grams is 7.776.
Investors can find a size of the South African Krugerrand coin which is affordable given just about any size budget. Smaller coins, such as the quarter ounce, are popular among those who expect the larger sizes to be out of reach to more and more people as the gold price rises.
Besides differences in weight, the Krugerrand is issued in two different versions related to the coin’s finish and appearance. These different styles are referred to as the bullion strike, which is the most common and the most popular among investors because of its lower cost, and the proof series.
Proof coins are produced in smaller lots using specially polished dies. The coin blanks are then struck twice or more. This makes the features on the coin clearer and more pronounced. The process also give the coin a mirror finish which is coveted by some collectors. The proof version of ¼ oz gold Krugerrands are easy to identify based on its appearance.
Proof coins are generally sold at a significant premium. However, the gold content is exactly the same as the comparable size bullion strike coin. Often proof coins will not hold the additional premium over time, and their performance as an investment suffers. Unless you are a coin collector at heart, we recommend the bullion coins.
Krugerrands are primarily valued based on their gold content and not intangible factors such as collectability. That isn’t to say collectors aren’t interested in these coins – they most certainly are. However, the Krugerrands and not particularly scarce. They have been produced in large quantities for the investment market.
The worth of a ¼ oz South African Gold Krugerrand is closely tied to the worth of the gold it contains. This value rises and falls with the world gold price. Using the price of gold in early 2018, around $1,330 per ounce, plus a typical $25 per coin premium charged by dealers to cover mint costs and a profit margin, ¼ oz Krugerrand gold coins would be valued at around the $357.
These South African coins are legal tender in South Africa. Although the coins do not circulate as currency, some people do use them to make payments. Of course few vendors accept them, even though they are recognized as a legal monetary form. Most merchants simply do not understand how to value them and/or do not want the task of converting the coins back to the fiat currency they are accustomed to.
The ¼ oz gold Krugerrand coin would be a welcome addition to any investor’s gold holding. No collection of world popular gold coins is complete without one. With the minting dating back to 1967 and thousands of them produced each year, they aren’t hard, or expensive, to buy.
Although the price of gold plays a biggest part in determining the value of this coin, you may find that the mintage year can influence it. For example, coins from the first batch minted in 1967 often sell for a higher price than more recently issued coins.
These coins are a piece of South African history. It’s a culture that has changed tremendously over time and is still rapidly changing. Investing in a coin such as this means making a smart investment in physical gold and, at the same time, holding a piece of true Afrikani culture.