South African Mint Launches Leopard Coins in Second Big 5 Series

The Leopard II coin is available in various denominations, weights and metals. Photo: South African Mint.
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The South African Mint Company Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank, introduces the penultimate collection in the second series of the popular Big 5 collectable range of coins, featuring the Leopard. The Big 5 coin range celebrates Africa’s pride – the iconic five animals that represent Southern Africa’s rich wildlife.

“According to the demand trends we have observed over the years, the Big 5 collection is now firmly entrenched among the world’s coveted numismatic offerings. It is a coin range we are immensely proud of, that we will continue to innovate in order to maintain its relevance for years to come. We have, of course, set very high standards for product longevity with the Krugerrand, and can only hope to emulate this success with newer products such as the Big 5” says Honey Mamabolo, Managing Director of the South African Mint.

Series II of the Big 5 succeeds the award-winning Series I, originally launched in 2019. The latest series offers collectors a subtle but telling design change with the portrait of the animal on the obverse side of the coins. The reverse design remains the same throughout the two series: two halves of the animal’s face, which complete and form a full face when two or more coins are placed side-by-side.

In addition to the full face of the leopard on the obverse of the Leopard coins, are the words “Big Five 2023” and the South African coat of arms, signifying their status as legal tender. The new collection maintains the high standard of design and technical excellence that collectors have come to associate with the South African Mint.

The obverse design shows a Leopard facing right. The reverse of the Leopard II series features a close-up image of two Leopard facing frontal, revealing the complete portrait of a rhino only when two coins are placed side by side. Photo: South African Mint.

Big 5 Series II: Leopard

The Leopard coins are available in gold, silver and platinum. The platinum offering consists of a single 1oz coin, while the silver range comprises a 1oz Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coin, a 1oz double capsule set, containing two silver proof coins, and a special Big 5 and Krugerrand leopard privy mark combination set.

The gold range includes a 1oz gold proof, a 1/4oz gold proof, and a 1/4oz gold proof double capsule set, containing two identical gold proof coins. The gold coins too, are complimented by a Big 5 and Krugerrand leopard privy mark combination set consisting of a 1oz gold proof Big 5 coin and a 1oz gold proof Krugerrand coin.

Leopards are listed on the IUCN Red List because populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation as illegal hunting continues. Image: Martina Blersch via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Each of the Big 5 animals is remarkable in its own way, but none more so than the leopard. The leopard’s exceptionally acute vision and genius for camouflage make it a cunning hunter. “This far-sightedness and skill are the very characteristics we need to rebuild in a post-pandemic economy. We will conclude series II with the Buffalo coin collection later in the year, and our design team is already hard at work conceptualizing series III.” Concludes Mamabolo.

For further information on how to place orders for the Leopard coins or any other South African Mint coin products, visit their website.

Check out coins from South Africa in our Cosmos of Collectibles archive.

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In these articles you can read more in detail about the different issues of the first and second Big Five series so far issued.