Basic Information on Gold and Silver coins sells Modern Gold and Silver Coins.

Gold and Silver Coins are coins that consist of pure Gold and Sterling Silver that are produced by the South African Mint on an annual basis. Modern coins are coins that were manufactured after 1994.

Pure Gold can be described as 24 carat. This is depicted on a Gold coin using the term Au 999.9. (Au is the chemical symbol for Gold. Read more about Gold on Wikipedia.)

Sterling Silver is an alloy of Silver and another metal, usually Copper and is depicted as Ag 925, indicating that the Silver is 92.5% Silver. (Ag is the chemical symbol for Silver. Read more about Sterling Silver on Wikipedia.)

Both Gold and Silver coins are 'soft' and damage easily and are therefore housed in plastic capsules. Coins must never be removed from their capsules.

Examples of Modern coins, shown without capsules:

Zebra Gold Coin 2013Silver Coin 2013

The coins are considered Legal Tender in South Africa, meaning that they are classified as 'money'. This means that they can be used to buy 'stuff', although one should never use a Gold or Silver coin to buy bread or milk. In order to be classified as Legal Tender a coin must be approved by the South African Government, and then published in the Government Gazette.

Due to the coins' Legal Tender status it must feature a 'face value' i.e. the amount of money it is 'worth'. These face values are largely for show and should never be used to determine the value of the coin. Low face values such as R 100 or 10c are used.

Once a coin is published it is controlled by law and can therefore not be altered in any way and may not be produced in greater numbers than were initially approved.

South African Coins come in different sizes but are always round. The important factor here is weight. There are four weights, generally measured in Ounces or Grams: One Ounce, Half Ounce, Quarter Ounce and One tenth Ounce. In South Africa, One ounce is equal to 31.107 grams. As previously mentioned, these weights are strictly controlled by South African law. (An Ounce is abbreviated as 'Oz')

The weight of a Gold coin will be displayed on the coin itself in an abbreviated form e.g. 1 Oz or 1/2 Oz. As Gold is a precious metal under South African law, the weight must be displayed on all Gold coins. Silver is not a precious metal under South African law and it is therefore not so strictly controlled.

Modern Gold and Silver coins are produced in limited quantities, also as approved by Government. This is referred to as a Limited Edition, so that a certain coin has a Limited Edition of 1 000 for example. Law dictates that not a single coin extra can be produced above and beyond the Limited Edition.

The coins form part of several different products such as sets and special editions. Coins are available individually or in sets and are accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. The main product types are:

  • Individual coin: a coin on it's own in a leatherette box. Four sizes are available: 1 Oz, 1/2 Oz, 1/4 Oz and 1/10 Oz.
  • Prestige Set: All four of the abovementioned coins in one wooden box.
  • Proof Set: All four of the abovementioned coins in one leatherette box.
  • Special Launch: One or multiple coins in a special box that is produced to launch a new series.
  • Special Edition: One or more coins in a special box, usually produced for a special occasion.
Examples of Product types:
Individual Coin
Single coin in leatherette box
Prestige Set
Prestige Set in Wooden box.
The Certificate is very important and will state exactly what the product is and describe in detail the coin or coins included. Weight, diameter, artists, limited edition, purity are a few of the stats that will be displayed on the certificate.
These are the very basics and you can learn more by using the drop down menu under 'information'.
- by Paul B Gibson