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The
SOUTH AFRICAN MINT
THROUGH THE YEARS
 

Explore the history of the South African Mint – simply click on the date you’re interested in for more information.

Explore the history of the South African Mint – simply click on the date you’re interested in for more information.

  1. 1886
    Gold is Discovered
    Shortly after the discovery of gold in Johannesburg, President Kruger decides the country needs to start producing its own coins. In 1890, a concession is granted by the Volksraad of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) to establish the National Bank, which includes permission to operate a State Mint.
  2.  
  3. 1892
    The First Mint in South Africa
    The State Mint opens on July 6 1892, on Church Square in Pretoria. However, it is doomed to be a short-lived existence. After the Second Anglo-Boer War, British currency becomes legal tender in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, and the Mint is closed in 1900. In 1910, British currency is the accepted legal tender in the whole country when the four provinces become the Union of South Africa.
  4.  
  5. 1923
    A Branch of the British Royal Mint Comes to South Africa
    In the years following the Second Anglo-Boer War, no coins are struck in South Africa and all money is imported from the United Kingdom (UK). The Pretoria Mint Act of 1919 provides for the establishment of a branch of the Royal Mint in Pretoria. Here, gold sovereigns identical to those coined in London will be produced, with just a small South African mint mark to distinguish them.

    The Royal Mint Pretoria is established when Prince Arthur of Connaught strikes the first gold Pound on 3 October 1923. In its first two years of existence (1923 and 1924), the Mint produces only a handful of sovereigns. Today, these coins are rare, and have become expensive collectors’ items. In 1925, the Mint revs up its production, and at its peak in 1928 it strikes a record of over 18 million sovereigns.
  6.  
  7. 1941
    Mint Takeover
    The South African Government takes over the Royal Mint and renames it the South African Mint on 1 July, producing the same coins as before for several years.
  8.  
  9. 1961
    South Africa Gets its Own Currency
    South Africa becomes a Republic in 1961, and with this, the country finally gains its own official currency – the Rand. The new decimal currency debuts at R2 to the British Pound and all the coins are produced by the South African Mint. To help South Africans get used to the drastic switch, price tags are initially marked ‘old’ and ‘new’ style, while the old currency is slowly withdrawn. An extensive publicity campaign is organised to prepare people for the money changeover. Part of the campaign is the immensely popular jingle, ‘Decimal Dan’, which fast becomes a familiar tune on household radios, blaring out its message to a catchy rock ‘n’ roll beat. South Africa sets a great example with its transition to a decimal system, which takes place years before the British transition, and is executed smoothly and successfully.
  10.  
  11. 1967
    The Krugerrand
    The South African Mint is world-renowned for having struck the world’s first bullion coin on 3 July 1967. It has been so successful that by 2016, 130 years after the discovery of gold in South Africa, the Mint has produced more than 60 million Krugerrands of all sizes. The Krugerrand is by far the most popular bullion coin in the world, and has become the most accessible way for investors worldwide to own and trade physical gold.
  12.  
  13. 1988
    Privatisation
    The South African Mint is privatised as part of the deregulation of government activities. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) became the new holding company on 1 September 1988.
  14.  
  15. 1992
    The SA Mint Moves to its Current Home
    The South African Mint (at its current location in Centurion) officially opens in October 1992. It is one of the most technologically-advanced manufacturers of coins in the world, with high-tech machinery. Over the years, the South African Mint has received numerous awards for the innovative, beautiful quality coins that it produces, both for South Africa and for countries around the world.
  1. Gold is Discovered
    Shortly after the discovery of gold in Johannesburg, President Kruger decides the country needs to start producing its own coins. In 1890, a concession is granted by the Volksraad of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR) to establish the National Bank, which includes permission to operate a State Mint.
  2. The First Mint in South Africa
    The State Mint opens on July 6 1892, on Church Square in Pretoria. However, it is doomed to be a short-lived existence. After the Second Anglo-Boer War, British currency becomes legal tender in the Transvaal and Orange Free State, and the Mint is closed in 1900. In 1910, British currency is the accepted legal tender in the whole country when the four provinces become the Union of South Africa.

     

  3. “Staatsmunt te Velde”
    When the British forces occupied Pretoria in 1900, the Mint was closed. The Boers used the one Pound gold blanks that were in storage for payment of State expenditure. They were named "naked pounds". An attempt was made to establish a mint at an abandoned gold mine near Pilgrim’s Rest. Soft hand-cut dies and an improvised fly press were used to strike Pound pieces of practically pure gold to the intrinsic value of 22 shillings. The "veldponde" (field pounds) were exchanged with the burger for their British sovereigns. This facilitated trading with the local residents who would only accept the "coin with the horse on it". With a single set of dies, 986 coins were minted after many trials. Ironically, striking was actually completed a few days after the Boers had conceded victory to the British forces. The "Veldpond" is amongst the most precious historical treasures a collector can hope to possess and there have been many known forgeries.
  4. A Branch of the British Royal Mint Comes to South Africa
    In the years following the Second Anglo-Boer War, no coins are struck in South Africa and all money is imported from the United Kingdom (UK). The Pretoria Mint Act of 1919 provides for the establishment of a branch of the Royal Mint in Pretoria. Here, gold sovereigns identical to those coined in London will be produced, with just a small South African mint mark to distinguish them.

    The Royal Mint Pretoria is established when Prince Arthur of Connaught strikes the first gold Pound on 3 October 1923. In its first two years of existence (1923 and 1924), the Mint produces only a handful of sovereigns. Today, these coins are rare, and have become expensive collectors’ items. In 1925, the Mint revs up its production, and at its peak in 1928 it strikes a record of over 18 million sovereigns.

     

     

  5. Ammunition Factory
    In 1937, the Royal Mint Pretoria approached the Minister of Finance with a recommendation that ammunition could be manufactured using the spare capacity of the Mint. In 1938 the production of .303 ammunition was started. At the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the activities were expanded and the products included howitzer shells, 18 and 25 pounder shell cases, primers and detonators. To accommodate the activities, factories with a staff complement of 14,300 opened in Ladysmith, Johannesburg, Kimberley and Pretoria West.

    In the early hours of 1 March 1945, a disastrous explosion occurred in the "grand magazine" in Pretoria. The casualties among Mint staff included 146 dead.
  6. Mint Takeover
    The South African Government takes over the Royal Mint and renames it the South African Mint on 1 July, producing the same coins as before for several years.
  7. South Africa Gets its Own Currency
    South Africa becomes a Republic in 1961, and with this, the country finally gains its own official currency – the Rand. The new decimal currency debuts at R2 to the British Pound and all the coins are produced by the South African Mint. To help South Africans get used to the drastic switch, price tags are initially marked ‘old’ and ‘new’ style, while the old currency is slowly withdrawn. An extensive publicity campaign is organised to prepare people for the money changeover. Part of the campaign is the immensely popular jingle, ‘Decimal Dan’, which fast becomes a familiar tune on household radios, blaring out its message to a catchy rock ‘n’ roll beat. South Africa sets a great example with its transition to a decimal system, which takes place years before the British transition, and is executed smoothly and successfully.
  8. The Krugerrand
    The South African Mint is world-renowned for having struck the world’s first bullion coin on 3 July 1967. It has been so successful that by 2016, 130 years after the discovery of gold in South Africa, the Mint has produced more than 60 million Krugerrands of all sizes. The Krugerrand is by far the most popular bullion coin in the world, and has become the most accessible way for investors worldwide to own and trade physical gold.
  9. Privatisation
    The South African Mint is privatised as part of the deregulation of government activities. The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) became the new holding company on 1 September 1988.
  10. The SA Mint Moves to its Current Home
    The South African Mint (at its current location in Centurion) officially opens in October 1992. It is one of the most technologically-advanced manufacturers of coins in the world, with high-tech machinery. Over the years, the South African Mint has received numerous awards for the innovative, beautiful quality coins that it produces, both for South Africa and for countries around the world.