December 6, 2018 – The South African Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has reopened the doors of its museum and retail store following almost 4 months of extensive renovations. The SA Mint had recently embarked on a major revamp of its museum and retail store at the Old Johannesburg Road, Centurion site. The revamped visual impression is sleek and modern with the interiors rich in artefacts and information about the world of numismatics.
Visitors of the Coin World Museum will discover fascinating historic artifacts of the world of numismatics.
The museum’s two distinct themes, circulation coins and collectables recreate South African history from the perspective of coins. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to become familiar with the history of circulations coins from the earliest times up to the present day and at the same time take the visitors on the journey from metallurgy to money.
You are greeted at the entrance by a large metal coil, rolled sheets from which blanks are actually produced for the circulation coins. Through this new display to the old pantograph, a device used in the manufacture of dies – the museum showcases via illustrations the meticulous and creative process behind minting circulation coins.
Today, South Africa has over 26 billion coins in circulation. SA Mint is also one of the world’s top exporting mints and one of the proud displays is a map that showcases the countries the Mint either supplied or is suppling coins to.
The museum also features historical artefacts that tell the story of the humble beginnings of African currency and coins – from Katanga crosses, beads to spear points to Spanish silver reales, copper doits, silver ducatoons, Japanese koban, Russian roubles and several other coins accepted as legal tender.
A veritable treasure trove, the exhibits at the museum also include ancient coins dating back to the 1200s & 1600s which were discovered along the coast of Eastern Cape. The find is rare as there is no recorded history of coin usage in South Africa up until the 1650s.
The museum offers exhibits of interest for children and adults alike.
“The museum is a wonderful educational opportunity and I would like to encourage everyone – from parents and children to institutions and tourists to explore the museum’s collection to learn about our fascinating tryst with money, one that started with bartering,” says Tumi Tsehlo, Managing Director, South African Mint.
“The exhibits can’t be seen anywhere in the country but at the coin museum. The interior is more than likely to pique the interests of children, slow them down so that they can learn about the many fun facts of coins, something even Google might not be able to answer.”
One of the permanent displays includes the “Oom Paul” Minting Press, named after the then President Paul Kruger, leader of the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR). One of the oldest presses in the world, it was built in 1891 and ordered by Kruger for use in the first mint established in Pretoria in 1892. “Oom Paul” was originally steam operated though modifications over the years have enabled it to work off electricity, and visitors can still see it in action to date.
“Coins shine a light on history so it’s our vision to use them to tell the story of South Africa and the South African Mint. From the discovery of gold in the 1800s to the county’s first black President, the mint’s coins have documented the ages like a true historian,” adds Tsehlo.
“The collection will increase your knowledge of coins that were used in South Africa and in addition provide unique insights into the influences on the present day monetary system.”
The refurbished museum also features the design pieces commissioned for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Krugerrand.
Visitors can buy coins from the on-site store which carries all the collectible coins produced by the Mint in 2017 and 2018. These include the centenary coins launched to commemorate the anniversaries of struggle veterans OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela as well as the world famous Krugerrands, which are also on display.
You can contact the museum’s sales office by phone: +27 12 677 2482, or e-mail for more information about the tours and to book a free guided tour.
Additional information is also available on the South African Mint website.