The rand was introduced in 1961, just before the establishment of the independent South African Republic. South Africa replaced the pound with a decimal currency system that converted 100 cents to equal 1 rand. The new decimal currency coins were issued in denominations of 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 2.5 cents, 1 cent, and ½ cent coins. Since 1910, the pound had been the currency of the Union of South Africa.

Also in 1961, two gold bullion coins were introduced with the denominations of 1 rand and 2 rand. The new rand gold bullion coins replaced the half pound and pound

gold coins that were first issued in 1952. Both the pound gold coins and the rand gold coins were modeled after the British gold sovereign and half sovereign, with a fineness of .9167 gold.

The 1 rand and 2 rand gold coins were minted from 1961-1983. They would eventually be replaced by the Gold Krugerrand, which has become the official gold bullion coin of South Africa.

Rand gold coins celebrate the history of South Africa and were one of the few gold bullion coins that were issued during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The coins are ideal for both collectors and investors.

2 Rand Gold Coins (1961-1983)

The 2 Rand gold coin was minted by the South African Mint from 1961-1983. The coin has a purity of 91.67% gold with a gold content of .2354 ounces. Many of the yearly issues of the 2 rand gold coin had mintages of between 10,000 and 20,000 coins. However, some editions had a more limited production of below 5,000 coins.

The 2 rand gold coin is also available in proof quality.


The motif side of the coin depicts the portrait of Jan van Riebeeck, who was the Dutch navigator and colonial leader who founded Cape Town. Under Van Riebeeck, Cape Town became the Dutch Cape Colony of the Dutch East India Company. Surrounding the outer edge are the inscriptions “UNITY IS STRENGTH” and “EENDRAG MAAK MAG”. The two phrases have the same meaning with one in english and the other in South African dialect.

The value side of the coin depicts the familiar image of the South African springbok antelope running through a field. Coert Steynberg was the artist who designed the image of the springbok antelope, which also appears on the world famous Krugerrand gold coin. The engravings around the outer edge read “SUID-AFRIKA” and “SOUTH AFRICA”. The date of issue is stamped above the springbok antelope and the nominal value of “2R” is embossed below.

There is a ornamental circle that surrounds the outer edge of both sides of the coin. The edge bar is reeded and slightly raised which serves to protect the coins surface.

Product Specifications

Weight: .2354 ounces

Diameter: 22 mm

Thickness: 1.83 mm

Purity: 9167/1000

Nominal Value: 2 Rand

1 Rand Gold Coin (1961-1983)

The 1 rand gold coin was also minted from 1961 to 1983. The 1 rand and 2 rand gold coins were the first gold coins issued by the Independent Republic of South Africa. Similar to the 2 rand gold coin, the 1 rand gold coin had many yearly minages that were between 10,000 and 20,000 coins. The highest mintage edition was 27,000 coins for the 1977 issue. The 1 rand gold coin is also available in proof quality.


The design of the 1 rand gold coin depicts Jan van Riebeeck as the main motif. The inscriptions around the outer coin edge are the same as the 2 rand gold coin and read “UNITY IS STRENGTH” and “EENDRAG MAAK MAG”.

The value side depicts the springbok antelope running across a grass field. The engravings around the outer edge read the country of origin “SUID-AFRIKA” and SOUTH AFRICA”, the nominal value of “1R” and the date of issue. There is also an ornamental circle that surrounds the outer edge.

Product Specifications

Weight: .1177 gold ounces

Diameter: 22 mm

Thickness:  1 mm

Purity: 91.67% gold

Nominal Value: 1 Rand

Advantages of Rand Gold Coins

  • South African gold coins are some of the most recognizable bullion products in the world.

  • The depiction of Jan van Riebeeck commemorates hundreds of years of South African history.

  • Some editions of the rand gold coin may have collector value because of the limited mintage.

  • Minted by the South African Mint.

  • Very few gold coins were minted in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which adds more appeal to the series.

Jan van Riebeeck

Jan van Riebeeck is a significant figure in the history of South Africa. His portrait was used on stamps, circulation coins and on the rand gold coins from about 1940 until the 1990’s when the South African Reserve Bank changed the image on the currency.

Van Riebeeck and Cape Town

In 1652, Van Riebeeck commanded a Dutch settlement that landed three naval ships in what is now known as Cape Town. From 1652-1662 he was the commander of the Cape with the mission of building a fort that would be made of clay. In the Cape peninsula, he oversaw an effort to produce sustainable agricultural products that included grapes, cereals, nuts, potatoes and other fruits. His efforts had a huge influence on the economy and towns in the region.

Many people in South Africa view him as a founding father, and there was even an April 6th holiday that was called Van Riebeecks day. After 1994, the holiday that bears his name was abolished and he also no longer appeared on any stamps or currency. However, there is still a statue of him on Adderley street in Cape Town.

The Cape Town coat of Arms is also the coat of arms of the Van Riebeeck family. To this day many towns in South Africa have streets that bear his name. One of the oldest towns in South Africa is Riebeek-Kasteel, located near Cape Town.

History of South Africa

The Dutch Cape peninsula that was built by Jan van Riebeeck would continue to expand after his death. However, in the early 1700’s many native people had been driven from the colony and some would die of disease.

Between 1795 and 1814 the Cape colony of South Africa would switch back and forth from British control and Dutch control. In 1814, a treaty gave ownership of Cape Colony to the British. When the British gained control of the region, the Dutch settlers, known as “Boers”, became frustrated with British rule. The Boers would  create two Republics away from the British at the Orange Free State and Transvaal.

In the mid 1800’s diamonds were found in the region in Kimberly and the Northern Cape. Gold was also discovered in Gauteng. The rich natural resources of South Africa motivated the British to gain control of the entire region, including the Boer Republics.

War would eventually break out between the British and the Boers. While the Boers were initially successful, they would be forced to surrender to the superior forces of the British in 1902. South Africa was given a constitution in 1910 and became known as the Union of South Africa.

Other key dates in South Africa’s history include:

  • In 1914 South Africa entered the first World War against Germany. In the same year the Boer rebellion was defeated.

  • In 1939 South Africa entered the second World War against Germany, despite opposition from the Afrikaners (Descendants of Dutch settlers).

  • In 1948, South Africa’s National Party introduced the policy of Apartheid, which created strict rules segregating whites and blacks.

  • In 1961, South Africa became an independent Republic and completely separated from the Commonwealth.

  • In 1963 Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment.

  • In 1994 the first democratic elections were held and Nelson Mandela was elected President. He would retire in 1999.

Tips on Buying the Rand Gold Coin

The price of rand gold coins consists of the gold price and the premium. Gold is traded on the stock exchanges of the world and the price constantly fluctuates. The gold “spot price” is the listed price for 1 ounce of gold. The factors that influence the gold price include supply and demand, geopolitics and central bank policy just to name a few.  

The premium includes the cost and margin of the mint and bullion dealer. Premiums can vary widely, because each dealer has a different cost structure. When purchasing numismatic or semi-numismatic coins there are additional factors that can influence the premium. These include:

  • The grading or condition of the coin. Proof (PR) and mint state (MS) coins will usually carry a higher premium.

  • Coins with a limited mintage will also carry a higher premium. These coins have a fixed and limited supply.

  • Coins with special historical dates will typically have higher premium.

  • Supply and demand. During periods of high demand, gold coins will usually trade a higher premium.

Rand gold coins should be kept in their protective packaging to preserve the coins surface. Scratches and imperfections could affect the resale value.

Product Details

Manufacturer: South African Mint
Country of origin: South Africa
Series Name: Rand Gold Coins
Purity: 91.67% Gold
Alloy: Gold/Copper
Denomination: 1 Rand and 2 Rand
Scratch resistance: Good


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