What Is a Krugerrand?

The Krugerrand gold coin has been highly sought-after since the 1960s. If you are thinking of investing in gold, the Krugerrand can be an excellent avenue to pursue. Read on for a short history and overview of the Krugerrand gold coin.

When Did the Krugerrand First Come Out?

The Krugerrand is from the Republic of South Africa. The South African Mint released its first Krugerrand in July 1967. The decision to mint the coin was in response to several factors, including Richard Nixon wiping away the remains of the gold standard and the Cold War, as well as a desire to make gold available to private investors.

South Africa’s goal in producing the Krugerrand was to bolster its precious metal and gem reserves. It was the first officially produced gold bullion coin of its kind. It was also the only one until 1979, when other countries began to make their own bullion coins, such as the United States’ American Eagle coins and the Canadian Maple Leaf coins.

The Krugerrand can still act as a legal tender in South Africa, but they were never given a standard monetary value. As gold bullion coins, the Krugerrand’s value fluctuates with gold prices.

Interesting Facts

  • The Krugerrand’s name is a combination of two words. ‘Kruger’ is from Paul Kruger, who served as the country’s president from 1883 to 1900. The ‘rand’ has been South Africa’s official currency since 1961.
  • The Krugerrand was the first modern coin to not have a currency denomination on it. Gold prices determine its value.
  • Some Western countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, banned the importation of the Krugerrand in response to South Africa’s apartheid.
  • South Africa was the largest gold producer in the world in 1970, with more than 75% of the world’s gold reserves. [1]

What Are Its Distinguishing Features?

Here is a breakdown of what the Krugerrand looks like:

Appearance

On the obverse side of the Krugerrand, there is a profile bust of a former president of the Republic of South Africa: Paul Kruger. The words ‘SUID-AFRIKA’ and ‘SOUTH AFRICA’ are stamped around the president’s bust. Suid-Afrika is South Africa in Afrikaans, one of the country’s native languages.

The coin’s reverse features a springbok antelope, one of the country’s symbols. The word ‘KRUGERRAND’ is stamped across the top, and the coin’s mint year is stamped across the middle, with two digits on either side of the antelope. The bottom of the coin has ‘FYNGOUD 1OZ FINE GOLD’ stamped into it, though three smaller sizes were introduced in 1980: 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz or 1/10 oz.

The gold bullion version of the coin has 160 serrations on the edge of both sides. It’s a proof collectible coin if it has 220 serrations.

Composition

Regardless of size, the Krugerrand is made up of 22 karats: 91.67% gold and 8.33% copper alloy. [1] The added copper alloy makes the coin more resistant to scratches and damages that pure gold coins are more susceptible to. The alloy also gives the Krugerrand a more orange hue than pure gold has.

Size

  • Weight: The 1-ounce Krugerrand weighs 1 and 1/11 ounces or 33.9 grams. The coin contains one troy ounce of gold.
  • Dimensions: The 1-ounce Krugerrand is 32.77 millimeters or 1.290 inches in diameter. It is 2.84 millimeters or 0.112 inches thick.

How Popular Did It Get?

The Krugerrand was immediately popular among investors. By 1980, Krugerrands made up 90% of the world’s gold coin market. [1] During its first years of production ” 1967 through 1969 ” 40,000 coins were minted annually. In 1970, 200,000 coins were minted, while 6 million coins were produced in 1978. There are more than 61 million Krugerrands in circulation today. [2] Despite banning the Krugerrand in 1985, the United States was the largest market for the gold coin. Over $600 million worth of Krugerrands were marketed in the United States. [3]

Why Did It Fall Out of Favor, and What Has Happened Since Then?

Krugerrands have not fallen out of favor. However, rates of Krugerrand production have fluctuated since the South African apartheid ended. The apartheid’s end put South Africa’s gold production into a slump. By 2016, South Africa produced 6% of the world’s gold. [1]

In the 1980s, the Krugerrand did come into some competition after enjoying years of being the only government-produced gold bullion coin.

Since the end of apartheid, the number of coins minted has been significantly reduced. However, the coins are still popular among avid investors and collectors. The value of the Krugerrand fluctuates, but in the last 20 years alone, its appreciation has risen several hundreds of times over. The Krugerrand is still a part of many collectors’ precious metals investment portfolios.

What Does the Future Prognosis Look Like Now?

In 1991, the price of gold was around $400 an ounce. In 2020, the price is over $2,000 an ounce. [4] Gold is often thought of as one of the safest investments available, so Krugerrands are still sought after for their worth and liquidity as an asset.

The Krugerrand’s value has increased since its debut due to the increase in the price of gold. No other investment or item has performed as well as gold’s long-term appreciation. It is still recognized and accepted for its worth throughout the world, which further liquefies it as an asset.

As of 2020, gold is in the midst of a bull market, and it has been for some time. From 1971 to today, gold prices have been experiencing a major long-term uptrend, and it’s showing no signs of dropping anytime soon. [5] This means that the Krugerrand may remain a good investment opportunity for years to come.


Article Sources

1. Investopedia. ‘Krugerrands,’ https://www.investopedia.com/terms/k/krugerrand-gold-coin.asp. Accessed Sept. 2, 2020.

2. BizNews. ‘Krugerrands still a ‘safe-haven’ bet, even as world wakes up to Bitcoin, cryptos,’ https://www.biznews.com/wealth-building/2017/11/06/krugerrands-safe-haven-bitcoin-cryptos. Accessed Sept. 2, 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 Sept. 3, 2020.

4. GoldPrice. https://goldprice.org/. Accessed Sept. 2, 2020.

5. Forbes. ‘Why Gold Is The Best Investment In The World Today,’ https://www.forbes.com/sites/moneyshow/2020/08/04/why-gold-is-the-best-investment-in-the-world-today/#49df6ce1eb9b. Accessed Sept. 2, 2020.