South African Mint issues tribute to Nelson Mandela

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August 16, 2018 – The South African Mint pays a glittering tribute to the formidable legacy of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first democratically elected President in form of a coin struck of 1 oz, 24ct pure gold. 

South Africa / 500 Rand / gold .999 / 31.1 g / 32.69 mm.

The collectable gold coin completes the coin series announced earlier in 2018 to mark Mandela’s birth centenary year. The Mint has also launched collectable coins in silver and bronze alloy to kick off the global centenary celebrations. The 2018 Mandela Centenary issue is part of the ‘Celebrating South Africa’ thematic series, focusing on symbols of freedom, democracy and culture. The inaugural coin in the series commemorated a century of Oliver Reginald Tambo, anti-apartheid crusader and freedom stalwart, in 2017. 

Featured on the 2018 range is the centenary of the birth of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Born on 18 July 1918, Mandela was a key figure in the talks to end apartheid in South Africa. A decade after the end of his Presidency, the United Nations declared July 18 as ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ in recognition of his contribution to the culture of peace, freedom and social justice which he continued to champion after serving one term as President. 

Nelson Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. Image: South Africa The Good News / CC BY 2.0.

Tumi Tsehlo, MD, South African Mint says, “Mandela’s grit, grace and patience have been faithfully recreated on the commemorative series. As a young lawyer to a spirited revolutionary and later as the father of the nation, his accomplishments have global significance and richly deserved a coin tribute that can be handed down from generation to generation.”

Each coin in the range is designed to illustrate the seasons in Mandela’s life, portraying him at different ages. The new 1oz gold coin depicts Mandela as an elderly global icon of liberation. The reverse features the words “The Nelson Mandela Centenary” and the dates ‘18 July 1918 to 18 July 2018’ with the denomination and hallmark. The obverse of the R500 gold coin features the words ‘South Africa’ with the South African coat of arms and the year of issue.

South Africa / Five Rand / Bimetallic / 9.5 g / 26 mm.

In addition to these collectable coins, the SARB will issue a commemorative R5 circulation coin which depicts the image of a smiling Nelson specially chosen to compliment the last two R5 circulation coins issued in 2000 after Nelson Mandela’s presidential term and in 2008 following his 90th birthday. The reverse also depicts the denomination ‘5 RAND’, the words ‘Nelson Mandela Centenary’, the years ‘1918’ and ‘2018’, together with the image. The abbreviation ‘SARB’ is also micro lettered on the lower side. The obverse of the proof R5 circulation coin features the national coat of arms, the year ‘2018’, and the words ‘South Africa’ (English) and ‘Aforika Borwa’ (Setswana). 

“Despite being faced with isolation, Mandela remained resolute in his faith and against discrimination. He fought hard for a democratic South Africa where everyone was treated equally and given equal opportunities. It is a privilege to honour Mandela’s extraordinary life and this tribute is befitting the milestone,” adds Tsehlo. 

“The Mandela series is a beautiful addition for any collector or for anyone intrigued by South African history. No gift is more valuable than freedom, and this coin will remind us all of the compassion and generosity with which Mandela lived his life.”

The commemorative coins can be bought individually and are also available in three different set variations: a four-coin set, a three-coin set and a one-coin launch set. The four-coin set is comprised of all the collectable coins in the range: the R500 gold, R50 silver, R50 bronze and R5 commemorative circulation coins. Only 200 four-coin sets will be made available. The three-coin set consists of the sterling-silver R50 proof coin, the base-metal R50 coin and the proof version of the circulation R5 coin. Only 500 of the three-coin sets will be produced. The proof version of the R5 coin is a collectable coin featuring the same design as the circulation coin launched today by the SARB. 

Details about where to buy the commemorative coins of South Africa can be found on the official website.

To find out how Nelson Mandela saved the South African springbok’s honor – and why it therefore still adorns the reverse of the Krugerrand to this day, check out this CoinsWeekly article.