The Krugerrand is a South African gold coin, first minted in 1967 to help market South African gold. It is produced by the South African Mint Company.
The Krugerrand was introduced in 1967, as a vehicle for private ownership of gold. It was actually intended to circulate as currency. Therefore it was minted in a more durable gold alloy, unlike most other bullion coins.
Despite the coin's legal tender status, economic sanctions against South Africa for its policy of apartheid made the Krugerrand an illegal import in many Western countries during the 1970s and 1980s. These sanctions ended when South Africa abandoned apartheid in 1994.
By 1980 the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the gold coin market. The success of the Krugerrand led to many other gold-producing nations minting their own bullion coins, such as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf in 1979, the Australian Nugget in 1981, the American Gold Eagle in 1986 and the British Britannia coin.
In 1980, three smaller coins were introduced, with a half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce of gold.
Through 2008, Krugerrand coins containing 46 million ounces of gold have been sold.
The Krugerrand is 32.6 mm in diameter and 2.74 mm thick. The Krugerrand's actual weight is 1.0909 troy ounces (33.93 g). It is minted from gold alloy that is 91.67% pure (22 karats), so the coin contains one troy ounce (31.1035 g) of gold. The remaining 8.33% of the coin's weight (2.826 g) is copper (an alloy known historically as crown gold which has long been used for English gold sovereigns), which gives the Krugerrand a more orange appearance than silver-alloyed gold coins. Copper alloy coins are harder and more durable, so they can resist scratches and dents.
The Krugerrand is so named because the obverse bears the face of Boer statesman Paul Kruger, four-term president of the old South African Republic. The reverse depicts a springbok, one of the national symbols of South Africa. The image was designed by Coert Steynberg, and was previously used on the reverse of the earlier South African five shilling coin. The name "South Africa" and the gold content are inscribed in both Afrikaans and English (as can be seen on the pictures of the coin).
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