Most of the time, the coins are usually treasured based on their face value which again is not often a lot. There are times where rare South African coins appreciate so much that they become worthy investment tools. Such coins are what drive most famous coin collections and grab attention for the prices they fetch at auctions. Several factors may drive a coin’s value to stratospheric values. The main ones are the rarity of the coin, the material it was made from, the purpose of the coins or what it is associated with and finally the condition of the coin at the point of its sale.
The rarity of a coin like any other item in the world makes it exclusive and drives up demand. Collectors seek to have it to complete their sets while investors want it for its appreciating value over time. The rarest coins tend to be the ones used years ago when they were not minted in mass, and a good number may have been lost or reminted over time leaving only a few ones in circulation.
Gold and silver coins also fetch higher prices given the value of the material used in their making. Coins released to commemorate historical occasions mean they will be rare and sought after for their emotional and historical significance too. Finally, coins close to the mint condition are highly valued, and that is why there is a great need for grading.
There are several South African valuable coins given the history of the country and the events that fill its past. These coins can be an attractive alternative investment option. Here is a look at ten of them;
1. 1899 Single 9 Pond
It is the only coin of its kind ever made which has made its value rank it among the most expensive coins of all time in the world. Its last sale done privately to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous saw it go for R20 million about $4 million. The story behind it is pretty impressive too. The coin was produced amid the Anglo-Boer war with the country then seeking international legitimacy. The country lacked the dies to allow coinage at home and so contracted a mint in Germany to produce the dies.
Unfortunately, the dies shipment was intercepted by the British forcing the government to use dies from 1898, the first coin made in South Africa had a single nine but it was found to be too intrusive to the President’s image, and a different set of coins had to be made. The first coin was the only one ever made and was sent to the US4 beginning its journey and legend.
2. 1899 Kruger double nine ponds
If the Kruger single nine ponds is the king of the South African coins, the double nine follow closely after. When the decision to change the dies used for the single nine was agreed, a standard currency output was produced of 137,000 one-pound coins. For some reason, 130 of these were then counter-stamped with the numerals 99 for the year of mint giving them their name of double 99 ponds. These 130 are very rare and very expensive fetching prices from R1, 500, 000 and more.
3. 1874 Burgers Pond Coarse Beard
The second batch of the Burgers ponds is significantly different from the first 695. The dies broke after the first batch had been made and a new die was used resulting in the coins having a coarse beard and the number 8 also appearing to be double-struck. Only 142 pieces were made, and the minting was halted after the negative reaction of the People’s Council to the action by the President when he presented 50 coins of the first lot. Their small amount means they are more expensive and may fetch upwards of R1, 000, 000.
4. 1898 Sammy Marks Tickey
These rare coins have an interesting story behind them. They never served as official currency but rather as mementoes as the then President Kruger allowed the mining businessman Sammy Marks the extremely rare privilege of using the state mint for one day in recognition of services rendered to the state.
The mining magnate made 215 gold pieces that were given as gifts to friends, family, the president and other members of the People’s Council. Their rarity and historical value have seen them sell for as much as R750, 000 in auctions.
5. 1874 Burgers Pond Fine Beard
In 1874, the then president of the Republic of South Africa decided to have indigenous coins made for South Africa. He sent a portrait of himself and the government’s coat of arms to the Republic’s Consul General JJ Pratt in London along with gold for the purpose obtained at the famous Pilgrim’s Rest. Six hundred ninety-five pieces were dispatched as the first batch that was known as the Fine Beard Burgers Pond.
They are extremely valuable fetching high sums in different auctions at one time the NGC MS65 certified coin, going for $94,000 at a 2014 USA auction. Their general price varies from R300, 000 to R700, 000 depending on quality.
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6. 1902 VeldPond
The 1902 VeldPond coin is a legendary coin and with good reason too. There were only 986 pieces ever made, and they were made out of despair to create a mint that would allow the Boers buy items from the African tribes in their war against the British who were almost overwhelming them. This history also gives the coins their other names like oney of Necessity’ and iege Pieces’.
The coins are also known as ilgrim’s Rest’ coins after the location where they were minted. Each coin is unique as they were made from a handmade press using just one pair of dies and two men. Their price ranges from R150, 000 to upwards of R350, 000 depending on the condition.
7. 2008 Mandela 90th Birthday Coin
As their name suggests, these coins were released to celebrate the 90th birthday of the first black South African President’s 90th birthday. Given his global icon status and the limited edition of the coins, they have both sentimental and exclusivity value. They go as high as R250 000 in auctions.
8. 2018 Mandela’s 100th Birthday R5 coin
It is another coin to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday. Like the 2008 coins they were for the R5 denomination, yet their rarity and sentimental value see the ones in excellent condition going for R250, 000.
9. 1994 Mandela Inauguration Coin
Easily the one coin with much historical significance on this list. As with the other Mandela coins, they are in the R5 denomination value and were released for a limited period and quickly snatched up by collectors and investors they did not last much in general circulation. They go for upwards of R170, 000, and it is a good thing to quickly get one since the historical significance and rarity means their price is only going up.
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10. 1893-1894 Kruger half ponds
These are the rarest of all the regular Kruger coins especially the ones bearing the year 1893 even though the first single shaft half ponds (named after the image of a one shaft ox wagon on them) were made in 1894. This rarity sees them fetch high prices for such standard coins starting at R200, 000.
The above are some of the most valuable coins South Africa has, and they can make up a significant investment. The critical thing when collecting rare South African pints is always look out for the grading and try different but reputable sellers to find the best possible price and wait for the value to go high before selling.