South African Gold Krugerrands

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As the first modern gold bullion coin available to investors, the Krugerrand boasts a storied history. The Gold Krugerrand continues to be a popular product available in both bullion and proof forms. Today, you can get Gold Krugerrands in 1 troy ounce and fractional weights including 1/2 troy ounce, 1/4 troy ounce and 1/10 troy ounce.


The Krugerrand is a South African coin. The country's government wanted to promote the nation's vast reserves of gold, other precious metals and gems, leading to the launch of this coin. The name of the coin is a combination of Paul Kruger, who was the former President of the South African Republic, and Rand, which is the unit of currency in South Africa. The coins were first minted in July 1967 and produced by the South African Mint and Rand Refinery [1] [2].

The Krugerrand gold coin made its debut as a 1 troy ounce coin made of 22-karat gold and became the first modern gold bullion coin available for private investors. This South African gold coin quickly became a top choice for investors who wanted to buy gold, and it made up more than 90% of the coin market in the world. However, western governments implemented economic sanctions and banned Krugerrand imports due to the apartheid government in South Africa [3] [4].

While gold Krugerrands still found their way into the hands of buyers in Europe and North America, the ban sparked an increase in the creation of other gold coins that were easier for Western investors to purchase. Between the years of 1979 and 1989, various gold coins came to the market for gold buyers, including:

Demand for the Gold Krugerrand started up again in 2007 with the beginning of the great financial crisis. As the debt and equity markets struggled, investors around the world started seeking quality assets such as gold. The Gold Krugerrand took back its position as the best-selling gold bullion coin in the world in 2016 [5].

The ongoing success of the Gold Krugerrand can be explained by a number of factors, including [5]:

  • Consistency: Since the Krugerrand was first launched in 1967, there have been no changes to its overall design. This consistency enables buyers to trade and realize value for the coin regardless of the year an individual coin was produced.
  • Durability: The gold Krugerrand is produced using a 22-karat alloy. This particular alloy makes the coin both more durable and harder than 24-karat gold coins, which in turn makes secondary trading easier.
  • Liquidity: More than 60 million Krugerrands have sold since the coin first launched. That makes the Krugerrand the most widely traded and held gold coin on the globe.
  • Trust: The gold Krugerrand boasts a track record of more than 50 years. Consumers therefore have confidence in the origins of the product and the product itself.


Gold Krugerrand coins do not have a face value. However, thanks to the South African Reserve Bank Act, or SARBA, of 1989, the coins are considered legal tender in South Africa [6].

As with all bullion coins, the value of the underlying metal far exceeds its value as currency. Gold Krugerrands are valued for their gold content and boast a 22-karat gold purity.

The 1-troy-ounce Gold Krugerrand actually weighs 34 grams, which is slightly more than 1 troy ounce. The coin's actual weight is due to the fact that the gold alloy is 91.67% pure; the remaining 8.33% of the weight comes from copper.

How to Buy a Krugerrand Gold Coin

You can generally buy a gold Krugerrand for a few percentage points over the spot price of gold. Gold Krugerrands are easier to buy, transport, and store than gold bars, so gold investors buy these coins regularly from specialty bullion and coin dealers in the United States and around the world.


Because the Gold Krugerrand is produced with a gold alloy using copper, it has a more orange appearance than similar silver-alloyed gold coins. Copper-alloyed gold coins are also more durable and harder than silver-alloyed gold coins, making the Gold Krugerrand more resistant to dents and scratches.

The Gold Krugerrand has used the same design elements throughout its history on both the obverse and reverse sides of the coin. The only change to the design was a modernization of the images on the coin. The design of the coin focuses on South African pride, using various historical symbols.

The obverse side of the Krugerrand gold coin features a left-profile portrait of Paul Kruger, a Boer and political figure of the late 1800s who served as the President of the South African Republic from 1883 to 1900. Kruger came to prominence as the face of the Boer cause, later dying in exile in Switzerland after refusing to return home following British success in the Second Boer War. His name and image were chosen for this coin in tribute. Otto Schultz designed the image on the Krugerrand coin, which was modernized in 1984 [7].

The reverse side of a Krugerrand depicts a Springbok antelope as it runs across a field. The Springbok is the modern Republic of South Africa's official symbol and its national animal. Coert Steynberg, a famed South African sculptor, created the design on the reverse, and this leaping springbok design is Steynberg's most famous coin design [5].

Gold Krugerrand Bullion Coins vs. Krugerrand Proofs

Look at the serrations on a Krugerrand to see what separates the bullion coins from proof versions of the coin. Both sides of a Krugerrand have serrations going around the edge of the design field, but while the gold bullion Krugerrand coin has 160 serrations, the proof coins have 220 serrations.

South Africa's Krugerrand gold coin is a popular choice for gold investors around the world.

Article Sources:

1. South African Mint. 'Bullion,' http://www.samint.co.za/collectable-coins/bullion/. Accessed September 17, 2020.

2. Rand Refinery. 'Products,' http://www.randrefinery.com/products/. Accessed September 17, 2020.

3. Los Angeles Times. 'Reagan Bans Imports of S. Africa Krugerrand,' https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-10-02-mn-16058-story.html. Accessed September 17, 2020.

4. Orlando Sentinel. 'Krugerrand Luster Dim for Local Collectors,' https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1985-09-10-0330000236-story.html. Accessed September 17, 2020.

5.  Alchemist Issue 90. 'The Silver Krugerrand Has Arrived,' http://www.lbma.org.uk/assets/Alchemist/Alchemist_90/Alch90Collocott.pdf. Accessed September 19, 2020.

6. South African Reserve Bank. 'Legislation,' https://www.resbank.co.za/AboutUs/Legislation/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed September 17, 2020.

7. The Numismatist. 'Volume 110, Issues 7-12,' https://books.google.com/books?id=RWAaAAAAYAAJ&q=otto+schultz+krugerrand&dq=otto+schultz+krugerrand&hl=en&ei=39XWTuCLA8XXiAKHke2uCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CEwQ6AEwAA. Accessed September 17, 2020.