Most investors who buy gold in the form of gold coins probably know that the South African Gold Krugerrand coins dominated the world's gold coin market in the 1980's and early 1990's. Much less known is the fact that Gold Krugerrands are still the most traded gold bullion coins in the world. That is partly due to their longer history compared to other gold bullion coins. The South African Mint started minting the coins already in 1967, twelve years before the Canadian Gold Maple Leafs were first minted for example.
The South African Krugerrand gold coins are made out of 91.67% pure gold just like the also popular American Gold Eagle coins. The alloying with 8.33% copper makes the 22 karat Gold Krugerrand appear a bit more orange compared with other gold bullion coins. Copper-alloyed coins like the Krugerrand are also more resistant to scratches and dents. However, if you are investing in gold for your retirement, it is important to note that the coins are not eligible for inclusion in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA's).
The South African Krugerrand coins are offered with brilliant uncirculated and proof finishes in the four denominations of 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz. The coins are legal tender in South Africa even though there is no face value imprinted on them. Their legal value is tied to the current market price of gold. The South African government guarantees the weight, metal content and purity of the Krugerrands.
|Weight||Purity||Diameter x Thickness|
|1 oz||91.67%||32.8 x 2.84 mm|
|1/2 oz||91.67%||27 x 2.2 mm|
|1/4 oz||91.67%||22 x 1.89 mm|
|1/10 oz||91.67%||16.5 x 1.35 mm|
The obverse side of the South African Krugerrands was designed by Otto Schultz. It bears the portrait of Paul Kruger who was the 5th president of the South African Republic from 1883 until 1900. Paul Kruger is still remembered today in South Africa for his heroic leadership in the fight of the Boers against the British during the Second Boer War. The words "South Africa" and its native equivalent "Suid Afrika" are printed around the image of Kruger's head.
The reverse side of the Gold Krugerrand coin shows South Africa’s springbok antelope galloping across the grassy savanna. The coin's actual gold content, year of mintage and the title "Krugerrand" appear along its edge. The image was designed by Coert Steynberg (7 January 1905 - 28 July 1982), an internationally acclaimed South African sculptor. It had been previously used on the South African five shilling coin. Gold Krugerrand coins don't have a mint mark but some special editions display a privy mark on the reverse.
For the 50th anniversary of the Krugerrand in 2017, all coins were adorned with a special circular privy mark on the reverse. This privy mark shows the number 50 surrounded by a circular inscription made up of the years "1967" and "2017" and the words "YEAR ANNIVERSARY".
The 1 oz proof version of the South African Gold Krugerrand coin has 220 serrations along the border whereas the standard brilliant uncirculated version has only 160 serrations. However, the 3 smaller denominations of the South African Gold Krugerrands have the same number of serrations, no matter whether brilliant uncirculated or proof: 185 serrations on the 1/2 oz coin, 150 serrations on the 1/4 oz coin and 115 serrations on the 1/10 oz coin. The only exception to this rule is the 1 oz proof version of the South African Gold Krugerrand that was minted in the year 1977. These coins exist with 220 serrations as well as 188 serrations.
The South African Krugerrand gold coin was introduced in 1967 in order to encourage the private ownership of gold. The coins were not mass-produced in the first three years between 1967 and 1969. The bullion coins that were minted in those years in limited numbers were proof-like. Mass production of uncirculated Krugerrands only started in 1970.
Even though the South African Krugerrands have no face value imprinted on them, they are in fact legal tender in South Africa with their legal value tied to the current market price of gold. Gold Krugerrands dominated the world's gold coin market in the 1980's and early 1990's with a market share of about 90%, even though some Western governments didn't permit the import of Krugerrands during South Africa's Apartheid years (until 1994).
The three smaller Krugerrand denominations of 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/2 oz are minted since 1980. In 2017 for the Krugerrand's 50th anniversary, four additional proof coin sizes (50 oz, 5 oz, 1/20 oz and 1/50 oz) were added to the lineup. The 50 oz and 5 oz Krugerrands were only available in this anniversary year as limited-edition proof coins. A vintage 1 oz coin with the 1967 date and the anniversary privy mark also came out in 2017 as a re-issue. Another new proof coin size of 2 oz was then first issued in 2018.
Annual mintage numbers of the coins were still low during the first years but then exploded through the start of mass production to 211,018 coins in 1970 and 3.2 million coins in 1974. The mintage record for a denomination was set in 1978 when 6,012,293 uncirculated 1 oz Gold Krugerrands were minted. Production plummeted after the end of the Apartheid regime to 23,277 ounces (total accumulated production of all sizes) in 1998 and even just 10,539 total ounces in 2000. The 6,657 uncirculated coins of the 1 oz denomination that were minted that year are also a record low. Annual mintage numbers of the South African Gold Krugerrand coins have increased slowly but steadily since then.
The rarest proof coins are undoubtedly the 60 coins that were each minted of the 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz denomination in 1980. The proof mintage record are the 21,040 coins of the 1 oz denomination that were minted in 1986.
The South African Mint started issuing Krugerrand coins out of silver in 2017. These new silver bullion coins are 99.9% pure. Only premium uncirculated (with laser-etched designs) and proof 1 oz coins were offered that year and their mintage was capped at 1,000,000 and 15,000 pieces respectively. A brilliant uncirculated bullion version of the 1 oz coins is issued annually since 2018 and a 2 oz proof version was introduced in 2020. The South African Silver Krugerrands display the same design of Paul Kruger (obverse) and a springbok (reverse) as the best-selling Gold Krugerrands (which still are the most traded gold bullion coins worldwide). The silver version of the coins is a little bigger though, having a slightly larger diameter than the gold coins. A special "50 year anniversary" privy mark appeared on the reverse side of the 2017 issue of the coins. The 1 oz South African Silver Krugerrand coins have an official face value of 1 Rand whereas the gold version of the coins doesn't have an official face value.
The South African Silver Krugerrand page gives more information about the coins and allows you to compare current prices.
The South African Mint started producing Krugerrand coins out of platinum in 2017. The coins are 99.99% pure whereas most other platinum bullion coins are 'only' 99.95% pure. Only 1 oz proof coins are issued for now that are comparable in their dimensions to the 1 oz Gold Krugerrands. Mintage is capped at 1,967 pieces in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Krugerrand coins that were first issued in 1967. Just like the silver version of the coins, Platinum Krugerrands have an official face value (10 Rand) which the gold coins do not have. The design of both sides is identical to the gold and silver coins and shows Paul Kruger's portrait on the obverse and a springbok on the reverse. The 50th anniversary privy mark appears on the reverse as well.
total gold weight: 1.92 oz (since 2017)
(1.85 oz until 2016)
Until 2016, the Krugerrand Prestige Set included the four proof coins of the 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz denomination. Since 2017, this type of proof set also includes the 1/20 oz and 1/50 oz proof Krugerrands. Only 600 such sets will be issued in 2019 which is in line with the typical issuance numbers for this set. In the past, the coins that are included in this set were sometimes certified by the South African Gold Coin Exchange (SAGCE). In more recent years, the coins were sometimes labeled as First Strike.
total gold weight: 1.85 oz + Bonus
The 5 coin Gold Krugerrand proof sets contain the 4 proof Krugerrand coins (1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz) and a bonus coin, medal or medallion. Sometimes the medallion included a diamond. At other times, the bonus was a silver or bimetallic gold & silver coin/medal/medallion.
total gold weight: 1 oz
This set contains the 1 oz proof Krugerrand gold coin plus a 12 gram miniature crown and a 5 gram scepter (both out of sterling silver gilded in 24-karat gold and adorned with a 0.05 carat diamond). The SA Mint issued the set in 2005 to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the discovery of the Cullinan Diamond.
total gold weight: 0.92 oz (since 2017)
(0.85 oz until 2016)
Until 2016, this type of proof set that was specifically issued for export included the 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz and 1/10 oz coins plus a bonus silver coin or medal. Only a few hundred such sets were made in certain commemorative years (e.g. in 2015 to commemorate 15 years of the Coat of Arms of South Africa). Since 2017, the Krugerrand Fractional Proof Set includes the 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz and 1/50 oz coins. A 3-coin fractional set (1/10 oz, 1/20 oz, 1/50 oz) and a 4-coin fractional set (1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz, 1/50 oz) were also issued in 2017.
total gold weight: 0.92 oz
total silver weight: 1 oz
The Gold & Silver Krugerrand Proof Set was first issued in 2018. It includes the fractional Gold Krugerrand coins (1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/20 oz and 1/50 oz) and a 1 oz Silver Krugerrand coin. Only 500 such sets were issued in 2018 and 2019. The coins are packaged in a wooden box along with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
total gold weight: 1 oz
The South African Mint issues a limited-mintage Krugerrand Launch Set each year to commemorate a certain event. The latest 2019 and 2020 Krugerrand Launch Sets were both dedicated to events that are related to World War II. For the 2019 set, that event was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and for 2020, it was the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day). The sets always consist of a privy-marked 1 oz proof Gold Krugerrand coin and a silver or bimetallic medallion. The privy mark is always different and reflects the specific event that is commemorated. Mintage of the 2019 and 2020 sets was limited to 150 pieces.
1 oz Book Set:
1 oz coin + "Krugerrand Golden Jubilee: 1967 – 2017" book
50th Anniversary Set:
50 oz proof coin + book and stamp sheet
3 coin Vintage Set:
1 oz 1967 re-issue + 1 oz 2016 proof + 1 oz 2017 proof
5 coin Vintage Set:
1 oz 1967 re-issue + 1 oz 2016 proof + 1 oz 2017 proof + 1 oz silver proof + 1 oz platinum proof