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You can’t really explore the history and future of gold bullion coins without understanding the role the Krugerrand has played in this market. The word “revolutionary” may feel grand, but it wouldn’t be an understatement. The Krugerrand changed the way gold coins are minted forever and made investing in gold more accessible to countless people. What’s more, this coin had an indelible impact on the aesthetics of gold bullion coins.
Ready to learn more? So many fascinating facts surround the Krugerrand that we won’t be able to cover them all, but this “info dump” may just spark a new interest — and lead you to acquire a few Krugerrands of your own.
What Is the Krugerrand?
The Krugerrand is an incredibly popular gold bullion coin minted by the South African mint.
The first Krugerrands were minted in 1967, when South Africa was the largest gold producer in the world. The government had a dual mission — marketing South African gold on a global level and inspiring private investors (including those of modest means) to purchase gold coins. It was successful on both counts.
The Rand is, of course, South Africa’s currency. What about Kruger, then? Paul Kruger was President of the South African Republic for 17 years in the late 19th century and played a vital role in its development. The Krugerrand is named for him, and his bust appears on one of the coins’ sides. The other features a springbok, a small South African antelope that’s also the country’s national symbol.
What Makes the Krugerrand So Interesting to Investors?
The Krugerrand was the first-ever modern gold bullion coin to be minted in a one-ounce size. Made with 22-karat gold, this coin has a gold content of 91.67 percent gold. Copper represents the remainder of this interesting alloy, giving the Krugerrand a unique color and sheen.
Gold coins minted prior to the appearance of the Krugerrand were less pure and primarily designed to serve as legal tender. The Krugerrand was the first coin to act primarily as an investment vehicle, for which reason it soon became sought-after all across the world.
Millions of Krugerrand have been minted since the coin first went into circulation, and over 22 million were imported into the United States between 1974 and 1985 alone.
Not all of them were one-ounce coins, like the first Krugerrand. Smaller Krugerrand coins have also been minted over the years, including 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/10 ounce iterations. The modern South African mint continues to produce interesting and beautiful collectible coins in various sizes, but the Krugerrand is now limited to the one-ounce variety.
How Much Are Krugerrands Worth?
Krugerrands have a face value of one Rand, but it would be foolish to use them as legal tender. These coins mostly serve as bullion, while some series have numismatic value because of their fascinating designs, historical significance, or rarity.
The value of a one-ounce Krugerrand depends on the current gold price, but these coins are currently being traded for at least US $1,990. Some Krugerrands are worth more because they are considered collector’s items.
The Controversy Surrounding Krugerrands
When sanctions were imposed on the South African Apartheid regime, Krugerrands remained widely traded. They were, as such, used as a way to evade sanctions. International trade was interrupted in the 1980s, temporarily making them less accessible and popular.
The modern South African government continues to mint Krugerrands, but it has also introduced an exciting range of other collectible and commemorative coins. As well as holding value to investors, they have exceptional designs that particularly appeal to coin collectors.
How the Krugerrand Sparked a Gold Bullion Coin Revolution
The appeal of the Krugerrand proved widespread soon after these coins were first minted, and a new “genre” was born — one-ounce, 22-karat gold bullion coins produced annually.
Many countries have their own versions. There’s the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, the Australian Gold Nugget, the Chinese Gold Panda, the Britannica coin, and the American Gold Eagle.
Nothing can quite replace the Krugerrand, however, and the coin remains a popular way to invest in gold bullion to this day — not to mention its value as a collector’s item. People new to investing in gold and those who simply want to add new gold bullion to their collection can’t go wrong with Krugerrands. That’s true whether you manage to get your hands on a 1967 Krugerrand or make do with the latest mint.