Royal Canadian Mint

What Is a Gold Krugerrand?

You’ve probably heard of a gold Krugerrand. But what is it? The Krugerrand is a 22-karat gold coin composed of 91.67% gold and 8.33% copper, produced by the South African Mint and Rand Refinery. 

Krugerrand gold coins are popular among numismatists interested in collecting coins for their historical and aesthetic value. They are also a favorite among gold stackers primarily interested in the value of the coin’s physical gold content. 

Popularity has fluctuated since South Africa minted the coin in 1967, seeing a downturn during the 1980s and 90s until apartheid ended in 1994. The gold Krugerrand and its silver and platinum variations remain as popular as ever. Coin collectors and people who prefer to safeguard their wealth through buying gold and other precious metals still share enthusiasm for Krugerrands of all kinds. 

However, it is important to note that the gold Krugerrand is not a gold IRA-eligible bullion coin. We’ll discuss why a little later. But, for diligent coin collectors and precious metals stackers, it’s important to understand the history of this special South African gold coin.

A Brief History of the South African Gold Krugerrand Coin

1967 South Africa gold Krugerrand coin
1967 South Africa gold Krugerrand coin, PCGS MS67

On July 3, 1967, the South African Mint collaborated with Rand Refinery to mint the first 1-ounce gold Krugerrand coins. The name “Krugerrand” combines the last name of Paul Kruger, former president of the South African Republic, and rand, a unit of South African currency. 

The original Krugerrand was minted according to the following specifications:

  • Weight/mass: 1 Troy ounce
  • Metal composition: 91.67% gold (Au), 8.33% copper (Cu)
  • Size: 32.77 mm diameter, 2.84 mm thick
  • Obverse (front/heads): Features a side-profile portrait of Paul Kruger, based on the Otto Schultz portrait of Kruger, with the words “SUID-AFRIKA – SOUTH AFRICA” in Afrikaans and English, respectively.
  • Reverse (back/tails): Features a pronking springbok antelope in the center, mint date on either side, “KRUGERRAND” at the top and “FYNGOUD 1 OZ FINE GOLD” at the bottom.
  • Additional details: Each side of the bullion coin features 160 serrations around the circumference of the coin face. Later proof coin versions have 220 serrations.

Why Did the South African Mint Make the Gold Krugerrand?

Minting the Krugerrand achieved a few major goals by:

  • Enabling private individuals to own gold. For most people, buying a bar of gold bullion wasn’t practical. Striking 1-ounce gold coins shaped South African gold into a size both portable and affordable.
  • Expanding the market and demand for South African gold. In 1974, President Gerald Ford repealed President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1933 Executive Order 6102, once again allowing American citizens to buy gold bullion in the form of coins and bars. People in the US were ready to buy gold, and Krugerrands were convenient to trade and carry, and they were attractive to collectors, too.

This strategy worked brilliantly. The South African gold Krugerrand had captured 90% of the gold bullion coin market worldwide by 1980. 

However, the world grew more aware of South Africa’s apartheid government policy of segregation, and by the mid-1980s many western countries had imposed economic sanctions on the birthplace of the Krugerrand. 

In 1985, the United States, which had been the largest market for the gold Krugerrand at its peak popularity, outlawed the purchase and importation of the popular gold coin. As the South African government began to dismantle its apartheid laws and practices, sanctions eased. In 1994, the US ended the ban on importing Krugerrand coins. Although the market for Krugerrand coins took a substantial hit from the economic sanctions, the coin remains popular today in its many forms. In 2017, the South African Mint marked the 50-year anniversary of its most famous gold coin.

Why Is This Gold Coin So Popular?

Despite political setbacks, the South African Krugerrand remains popular with coin collectors and bullion seekers alike. Many coins are valued as either numismatic coins or bullion coins

Numismatic coins derive their value from their history, scarcity, condition as a graded coin according to the Sheldon coin grading scale, and demand on the coin market. Examples of numismatic coins include Mercury dimes, circulation coins with minting errors, and uncirculated proof coins that remain in pristine “mint” condition

A bullion coin, on the other hand, derives its value primarily from its precious metal content. This means that the bullion coin’s value changes based on the current market value of the precious metal from which it is minted, such as gold, silver, platinum, or palladium.

South African Krugerrands can be valued both ways — as a numismatic coin or as a bullion coin. The design of the coin enables this dual valuation. Each Krugerrand includes the mint year, but does not have a face value, somewhat unusual for coins minted and considered government-backed legal tender. The absence of a face value led to gold prices determining the value of the coin. Beginning in 1989, the South African government officially declared the gold Krugerrand legal tender. That’s no problem in a stable gold market, but you can imagine the difficulty if the purchasing power of your currency fluctuates several rands or dollars from one day to the next. However, the appeal to coin collectors and bullion buyers remains strong. It’s no surprise that this coin has earned such widespread popularity by appealing to related yet different coin markets.

Different Kinds of Krugerrands: Size and Precious Metals Variations

From 1967 until 1980, the South African Mint offered only 1-ounce gold Krugerrands. The Mint introduced smaller sizes in 1980 — 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10 ounce gold coins — increasing accessibility to yet wider markets. 

Krugerrand coins minted from silver and platinum arrived in 2017, the fiftieth anniversary of the original gold version. The SA Mint struck the silver Krugerrand from .999 fine silver and the platinum Krugerrand using .999 fine platinum. While Krugerrand coins are popular, it’s important to understand that they are not eligible for gold IRAs and other precious metals IRAs, according to IRS rules. Whether you’re thinking of buying Krugerrands as numismatic coins or as gold, silver, or platinum bullion, make sure you know why you’re buying and what that may mean for you before laying down your hard-earned money.

Bullion Coins Inspired by the Krugerrand

As happens when most products gain popularity, they inspire other similar versions, imitations, and alternatives. 

In this case, the 1967 gold Krugerrand inspired some of the most popular precious metals mints to create special gold bullion coins: 

How Much Is a Gold Krugerrand Worth?

Maybe you bought or inherited a gold Krugerrand coin and you’re wondering how much it’s worth. It’s important to understand that the value of a Krugerrand can vary greatly depending on weight, gold spot price, and whether you want to determine its numismatic value or the value of its gold content.

As I will always do, I encourage you to conduct thorough research before making any decisions to buy gold or any other precious metals, in any form. Different people choose different options for different reasons. To get you started, make sure you’re aware of how to research spot prices. Also, check out these basic tips for buying gold

Find out more about gold Krugerrands and other gold coins available from Rosland Capital.

What’s the Difference Between Mint State Coins and Proof Coins?

New coin collectors and beginning numismatists often ask questions like: 

  • Are mint state coins or proof coins better? 
  • Are proof coins worth more than mint coins? 
  • What are uncirculated coins?

Answers to some of these questions will vary depending on context. One of the most important contexts is yours. As I have mentioned before, the best choice for you depends on your financial goals. The first step to determining which may be better for your portfolio or collection is understanding the difference between mint state coins and proof coins. This knowledge can help you decide which kind of coin you like better and what makes sense for you. 

So let’s find out: What’s the difference between mint coins and proof coins?

What are Mint State Coins?

A coin does not come into the world as a “Mint State” coin. Mint state is a description applied to certain coins graded according to the Sheldon Scale, where the coin is considered to be in the same state or condition as when the mint struck the coin. 

The Sheldon Scale, according to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), is a numeric grading scale ranging from 1 through 70. Based on the theory developed by Dr. William Sheldon, the famous numismatist, in 1948, a coin assigned the highest “Mint State” (MS) grade of MS-70 would be worth 70 times more than a coin graded as a 1. A coin graded MS-70 shows no post-production flaws or imperfections even at 5x magnification.

2014 50-dollar gold eagle mint state coin graded MS-69 by PCGS
2014 50-dollar gold eagle mint state coin graded MS-69 by PCGS

The Sheldon coin grading scale uses the letters MS, for “Mint State” for coins judged to score 60 or more on the 70-point scale. This system, used by some of the most respected authorities in the numismatic grading world – including the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) and PCGS – allows for some flaws and imperfections on coins still graded as mint state. Sometimes these marks and imperfections occur during the striking and post-production handling process. However, coins officially graded as “mint state” are still at the top of the scale, ranging from MS-60 to MS-70.

The grading scales used by PCGS and NGC break down the criteria for each numeric grade as well as strike type.

Another question also comes up frequently: 

What’s the difference between mint state coins, circulated coins, and uncirculated coins? 

It’s probably not difficult to tell the difference between circulated coins and uncirculated coins, as coins minted for circulation are meant to be handled and exchanged by the public as legal tender for any number of economic transactions. In other words, circulated coins are, or have been used as, everyday money.

According to the US Mint, uncirculated coins share some similarities to proof coins, as we will see, in that they are hand-loaded into the press and struck on special blanks, or planchets. Uncirculated coins are struck to have a matte finish, though still somewhat shiny. But they are not intended for circulation in the general economy as everyday money. 

The uncirculated coins produced by the United States Mint also come with a certificate of authenticity. These coins may be graded as mint state coins because they were not subject to the wear and tear of circulation. 

Ultimately, all of these kinds of coins are of interest to coin collectors and numismatists. The kind and level of interest varies depending on the unique features each individual seeks in a coin. Uncirculated coins and mint state coins are more aesthetically appealing due to the pristine condition, and it is often the case that the higher the grade of the coin, the higher the value. 

However, many collectors seek circulation coins that are rare because of errors made during the minting process. The scarcity of the coin creates the excitement of a kind of pocket-change treasure hunt.

What are Proof Coins?

The determination of a proof coin has more to do with its method of manufacture than its graded condition, although proof coins may still be graded from PF-60 to PF-70 on the Sheldon Scale. Proof coins are the highest quality coins produced by any mint, and typically meet the following criteria:

  • Made from highly polished planchets or blanks
  • Hand-loaded into the coin-striking machines
  • Struck at least twice, often up to five times, with a highly polished die to ensure a frosted-looking image, or “relief,” on a gleaming mirror background, or “field” (as opposed to the matte finish of mint state coins)

The US Mint produces proof coin sets that include an example of each denomination struck for circulation. These sets usually include one:

  • Native American $1 coin
  • Kennedy half dollar
  • Roosevelt dime
  • Jefferson nickel 
  • Lincoln penny
  • Proof versions of each year’s special program coin releases such as the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program 

Before 1933, these sets were given to members of Congress, presented as gifts to other VIPs, and put on display in various exhibits. Now, however, proof coin sets are available to all collectors.

The US Mint, the Royal Canadian Mint, PAMP, Perth Mint, and most other popular mints and precious metal companies produce premium specialty proof coins struck from highly polished bullion planchets, most often precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. For example, Rosland Capital recently donated a gold proof coin featuring the Formula 1 driving legend, Michael Schumacher, to benefit the Caudwell Children charity.

1-kilogram gold proof coin featuring Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, encased in acrylic
1-kilogram gold proof coin featuring Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, encased in acrylic

These proof coins are produced for collectors who also wish to purchase a quantity of highly refined precious metal, such as a .999 (three nines) fineness for silver bullion, a .9999 (four nines) fineness for gold bullion, and .9995 (three nines five) fineness for platinum or palladium. These buyers seek the value of the physical metals from which the proof coins are minted, with the aesthetic appeal and collectibility an added bonus.

How to Buy Mint Coins and Proof Coins

Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between mint coins and proof coins, you’re ready to continue your research. Only you can decide which coins are best for you. People buy different types of coins for different reasons, and it’s important for each person to do their research and determine which products they want. 

What should you look for when buying mint coins or proof coins? Any reputable precious metals and coin dealer such as Rosland Capital sells coins – numismatic, semi-numismatic, mint state, proof, or bullion – and can help you find coins graded by a respected third-party authority such as NGC or PCGS, or certified by an assayer at a well-known mint, with proper documentation and certification of authenticity.

Get more information from the precious metals experts at Rosland Capital.

5 Popular Precious Metal Mints and Brands

Choosing the right precious metals company when you’re buying bullion bars and coins is an important and sometimes difficult task. The stakes are high. You want to ensure that the precious metals products you buy are authentic and high quality. This is your hard-earned money we’re talking about. 

You’ve probably noticed that the number of mints and brands offering precious metal bullion, whether as bars or coins, is vast and sometimes confusing. Did you know that some mints are government-operated, and some are privately owned and operated? And did you know that both types of mints are among the most popular and reliable? 

Let’s start with the basic definition of a mint, and then we’ll move on to the most popular precious metals mints or brands. 

What does mint mean when referring to coins, money, and precious metals? 

Most of us think of the refreshing green leaves used to flavor chewing gum, breath fresheners, and drinks like mojitos and mint juleps. Of course, we mean a very different kind of mint.

According to the Rosland Capital glossary, a mint is an establishment in which coins are produced. Mint is also used as a grading term.

As mentioned earlier, governments operate some mints and private companies own and operate some. Because trust and integrity are essential to creating and maintaining the value of minted precious metals products, each mint places its own mint mark on its offerings. Let’s look again at the Rosland Capital glossary, which says that a mint mark is the “mark on a coin identifying the mint at which it was struck.” This functions as both accountability and a promise of high quality for each mint’s brand reputation.

In the early days of the US Mint, mint marks were unnecessary because the first Mint in Philadelphia was the only one. Mint marks first appeared on US coins when other Mint branches opened in Charlotte, Dahlonega, and New Orleans in 1838. Even after that, the Mint in Philadelphia was not required to mark its coins until 1942. 

A brief history of minted coins

Human beings have used currency since we started exchanging goods and services. Historians say that the Lydians, from a kingdom located in what is Turkey today, first minted coins around 600 B.C., using an alloy of silver and gold called electrum

This new coinage made exchange easier for merchants traveling through diverse societies in varying climates, cultures, and values, opening greater possibilities for exchange beyond the barter system. A modern comparison might be giving someone a gift card they can use anywhere and for almost anything, rather than guessing what kind of specific gift they might like, want, or need — and getting it wrong.

Early modern coin minting grew more sophisticated. Some coins were pressed by rolling blanks through a machine. Other coins were ingots, meaning molten metal was poured into molds and allowed to cool and solidify.  

Today, all kinds of coins and bars are minted for a variety of uses, from authorized circulated currency to uncirculated currency such as bullion coins to coins or tokens used for arcade games or bus fare. Mints produce coins, bars, and other products from a variety of precious metals such as silver, gold, platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular precious metals brands or mints.

5 of the Most Popular Precious Metal Companies

PAMP

PAMP logo with 1-ounce gold bar

Founded: 1977

Mint type: Private

Perhaps one of the most well-known and popular mints, PAMP is a private mint that was established in 1977, and is based in Ticino, Switzerland. PAMP operates a precious metals refinery and fabrication facility, where it produces a wide range of products, including bullion coins and bars minted from gold, silver, and Platinum Group Metals (PGM), in a variety of sizes, shapes, purities, and weights. PAMP products are accredited as Good Delivery by all major precious metals authorities, including the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). 

PAMP also supplies a diverse range of metal products to consumers, industries, governments, banks, and other institutions. The most popular product among consumers is the 1-ounce Lady Fortuna rectangular pure gold bar ingot at .9999 (four nines) gold fineness. PAMP offers bars ranging in weight from 1 ounce to 1 kilogram in precious metals including silver, gold, platinum, palladium, rhodium, and ruthenium. 


United States (US) Mint

Logo of the United States Mint

Founded: 1792

Mint type: Government

Perhaps the United States Mint is the kind of minting operation you had in mind: one operated by the government to issue the country’s coinage for circulation. The US Mint was founded in 1792, and currently has minting locations in  Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and West Point. According to the Mint, it is the “sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the nation to conduct its trade and commerce.”

In addition to authorized coinage for circulation, the US Mint produces many other coin-related products such as proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins, as well as Congressional Gold Medals. The most popular offerings from the US Mint include silver and gold bullion coins and the American Eagle gold. Many taxpayers will be happy to learn that the Mint is self-sustaining through its programs and operates at no cost to taxpayers. Legend has it that George Washington contributed some of his own silver to get the Mint started.


Royal Canadian Mint

Logo of the Royal Canadian Mint

Founded: 1908

Mint type: Government

Founded in Ottawa, Canada, the Royal Canadian Mint produces over one billion coins annually. The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin is the RCM’s most popular bullion offering. The Royal Canadian Mint has developed various technologies to protect the integrity of its bullion offerings. 

Bullion DNA™ Anti-Counterfeiting Technology uses a digital authentication process for Gold and Silver Maple Leaf coins. Mintshield™ Surface Protection is said to reduce white spots on Silver Maple Leaf bullion coins. 

The circulation presses in Winnipeg can produce 20 million coins each day, or 750 coins per second. In 2007, the Mint created the largest coin in the world, a 100 kilogram, 99.999% pure, $1 million gold bullion coin. 

According to the RCM, “The Mint’s high-tech plant in Winnipeg produces over 1 billion circulation coins each year. The Mint produces limited-mintage numismatic coins honouring major national achievements and themes. Crafted of gold, silver or platinum, the Mint’s collector coins are individually handled as they enter the presses. A single coin may be struck up to three times to achieve a crisp, flawless impression. Certain coins feature the Mint’s proprietary technologies: double holograms, selective plating, colouring or laser enhancement.”


Perth Mint

Logo of The Perth Mint, Australia

Founded: 1899

Mint type: Government

The Perth Mint, founded in 1899 in Perth, Australia, was originally built to refine metal from the gold rushes in Western Australia, as well as distribute sovereigns and half-sovereigns for the British Empire. 

Accredited by five of the major gold exchanges and serving customers ranging from individuals to sovereign wealth funds, the Perth Mint offers “an array of bullion and collectable legal tender coins, bars and medallions each year. We are proud to showcase Australia’s icons to the world and celebrate a variety of popular universal themes, through the original artistry of our coin designs and creative concepts.”

Some of the Perth Mint’s signature products include the Australian Kookaburra, Koala, and Kangaroo bullion coins. Some recent offerings pay homage to pop culture, such as the Star Wars™ Clone Trooper™ Helmet-Shaped 2021 2oz Silver Proof, the Jurassic World 2021 2oz T.Rex-Shaped Silver Antiqued Coin, the SUPERMAN™ Shield 2021 1oz Silver Proof Coin, and the James Bond GoldenEye 25th Anniversary 2020 1oz Silver Proof Coin. Other coins celebrate the unique Australian ecosystem and wildlife such as the Great Barrier Reef and the famous marsupials from down under: kangaroos, quokkas, and koalas. 

Check out this 2 kilo .9999 silver Australian Koala coin:


Sunshine Minting

Logo for Sunshine Minting, Inc.

Founded: 1979

Mint type: Private

Sunshine Minting, Inc., founded in Idaho in 1979, mints over 70 million ounces of bullion each year. Among them, SMI offers its version of the popular Silver Buffalo Round. In addition to striking its own collector bullion coins, Sunshine Minting serves as the primary supplier of 1-ounce silver planchets — the round metal blanks ready to be struck as coins — to the United States Mint for the .9995 American Silver Eagle bullion coin. SMI also supplies precious metal blanks to private mints. 

However, SMI sells to a varied and diverse range of customers, including governments, financial institutions, corporations, marketing companies, other businesses, and private groups. According to SMI, its “minting operation is geared to manufacture products to industry standards in brilliant uncirculated (BU), proof-like or proof quality.” 

Although it can provide platinum blanks, SMI specializes in the fine gold and fine silver varieties, ranging in size from 1 gram to large 100-ounce bars. SMI also offers services for designing and producing custom creations from any silver, gold, platinum, or non-precious metal minted product.

Finding a Precious Metals Mint to Anchor Your Asset Portfolio

How do you decide which mint and which precious metal products are right for you? That depends on your unique situation. Vital first steps include understanding your goals and doing thorough research. You may end up with more questions than answers at first. But we’re here to help you make an informed decision, whether you want to know how to buy gold or any other precious metal.

Get more information from the precious metals representatives at Rosland Capital.

Coin World: Rosland Capital, RCM issue privy mark Maple Leaf $5 for charity

Coin World’s Jeff Starck published a new Insight yesterday, discussing Rosland Capital’s new Maple Leaf $5 coin benefiting Fisher House Foundation and Valour Place. The coin was designed by the Royal Canadian Mint and will support wounded warriors and their families. Rosland Capital is donating $1 for the sale of each coin. Rosland Capital has also made an additional $25,000 donation to Fisher House.

“Officials of Rosland Capital and the Royal Canadian Mint announced Oct. 13 a limited edition coin to benefit the American organization Fisher House Foundation, and Canada’s Valour Place. Both agencies provide free accommodation for American and Canadian military and veterans’ families while their loved ones are receiving hospital treatment. ”

“The 2015 .9999 fine silver 1-ounce coin features a heart-shaped privy mark, representing the heart at the center of the Fisher House logo.”

Read more about the coin from Jeff Starck:

Rosland Capital, RCM issue privy mark Maple Leaf $5 for charity