Krugerrand – All You Need to Know

The Krugerrand is the oldest bullion gold coin. First produced in South Africa in 1967 with a weight of one ounce. aBesides 22-karat gold, it contains only copper, giving it a reddish shimmer. The Krugerrand is produced with weights from 1/50 ounce to 5 ounce (in one year also 50 ounce). It is one of the few bullion coins without face value, but still considered legal tender.


  • Oldest bullion coin, first produced in 1967 in South Africa, at a time when private gold ownership was banned in the United States.
  • Denomination was only 1 ounce in 1967. Now the sizes range from 1/50 to 50 ounce.
  • More than 50 million coins have been produced since its inception in 1967. In 1980, the coin accounted for 90% of the world coin market.

Part 1: The Krugerrand Defined

Krugerrand: Paul Kruger on the obverse, a springbok antelope on the reverse (SA Mint).
Krugerrand: Paul Kruger on the obverse, a springbok antelope on the reverse (SA Mint).

Overview of the Krugerrand

The Krugerrand is a gold coin that originates from South Africa, produced by the Rand Refinery and the South African Mint. It holds the distinction of being the first coin to contain one troy ounce of gold. This feature was not just a novelty but served a strategic purpose. The main function of the Krugerrand was to market South African gold on a global scale.

Topic Fact
Origin The Krugerrand 1oz was first minted in South Africa in 1967.
Composition The Krugerrand is made from a gold alloy that is 91.67% pure gold and 8.33% copper.
Design The obverse of the Krugerrand features a profile of Paul Kruger, while the reverse showcases a springbok antelope.
Impact The Krugerrand was instrumental in popularizing gold ownership among the general public.
Legacy Despite facing sanctions during the apartheid era, the Krugerrand has maintained its status as one of the most traded gold coins in the world.

Today, the Krugerrand has achieved its purpose and more. It’s not just a gold coin; it’s a staple in the gold market. Its popularity among investors and collectors has made it one of the most commonly traded gold coins in the world.

Purpose of the Krugerrand

The Krugerrand was not designed to be a simple currency. Its creation had a larger goal in mind – to enable private gold ownership. This was particularly significant during its inception, a time when the American market was closed to gold bullion trading. (The US ban on private gold ownership from 1961 was lifted only in 1976.) The Krugerrand offered an alternative for gold investment, which was highly attractive to Western markets.

The design of the Krugerrand also served its purpose. It was made to be durable, portable, and universally recognized. These features made it an ideal choice for investors, allowing them to hold, transport, and trade their investment without worry.

The Krugerrand’s Role in the Gold Coin Market

The Krugerrand stands out among gold coins. It’s minted from a gold alloy that is 91.67% pure (22 karats), with the remaining 8.33% being copper. This gives the Krugerrand a more orange appearance compared to purer gold coins. But this is not just about aesthetics. The copper component makes the Krugerrand more durable and scratch-resistant.

This unique composition has contributed to the Krugerrand’s success in the gold market. Its practicality and investment value have secured its position among investors and collectors. The Krugerrand is not just a gold coin; it’s a symbol of durability and value.

Read about the two US Gold Bullions:

Part 2: History of Krugerrand

The Inception and Original Purpose

The Krugerrand was first minted on July 3, 1967, by the South African Mint and Rand Refinery, with the primary aim of marketing South African gold. At that time, South Africa was the world’s leading gold producer, and the Krugerrand was a strategic initiative to capitalize on this abundant resource. By 1980, the Krugerrand accounted for over 90% of the global gold coin market, making it the top choice for investors buying gold.

However, the Krugerrand’s success was not without its challenges. During the 1980s and 1990s, the coin fell out of favor as some Western countries, including the United States, banned its import due to its association with the apartheid government of South Africa. This ban significantly impacted the Krugerrand’s market dominance. The answer to the question: “Is owning a Krugerrand Gold Coin legal?”, is no, it is not illigal to own a Krugerrand.

Since 1989 the Krugerrand is considered legal tender in South Africa, even though not bearing a face value.

Year Event Description
1967 The South African Mint introduces the Krugerrand as a one ounce coin.
1980 Krugerrand accounts for more than 90% of the global gold coin market.
1980 1/10, ¼ and ½ sizes were added
1985 Due to apartheid policies in South Africa, Western countries impose sanctions that include banning the import of Krugerrands.
1994 With the end of apartheid, sanctions are lifted and the Krugerrand regains its status in the international gold market.
2017 To commemorate the 50th anniverary of the Krugerrand, 1 oz silver krugerrand and platinum versions are minted
2017 1/50, 1/20, 5 and 50 ounce-coins were introduced.
2018 2 ounces were minted for the first time.

The Impact of Apartheid-Era Sanctions

The apartheid-era sanctions against South Africa had a profound impact on the Krugerrand. The United States, which had been the largest market for the coin, banned imports in 1985. The year before the ban, over US$600 million worth of Krugerrands had been marketed in the country.

Despite these challenges, the South African government found creative ways to circumvent the sanctions. For instance, the Hungarian state mint reportedly received and melted down at least one shipment of Krugerrands in the 1980s, then produced half-products and jewelry from the gold.

The Krugerrand’s Evolution Over Time

Most of the sanctions were lifted in 1991 after the South African government took steps to end its apartheid policies. Since then, the Krugerrand has regained its position in the global gold market. Over 50 million ounces of gold Krugerrand coins have been sold since production started in 1967.

In 2017, the Rand Refinery began minting silver (and platinum) versions of the Krugerrand, which have the same overall design as the gold coin. This expansion into silver coins demonstrates the Krugerrand’s continued evolution and its enduring significance in the global gold market.

Part 3: Design and Specifications

Paul Kruger and the springbok antelope, motives of the Krugerrand.
Paul Kruger and the springbok antelope, motives of the Krugerrand.

Description of the Obverse and Reverse Designs

The Krugerrand is renowned for its distinctive design. The obverse of the coin features a profile of Paul Kruger, the former President of the South African Republic, from whom the coin gets its name. The design was created by Otto Schultz in 1892 and is accompanied by the legend “SUID-AFRIKA·SOUTH AFRICA”.

The reverse side of the Krugerrand showcases a springbok antelope, South Africa’s national animal. This design was created by Coert Steynberg in 1947 and includes the mint date in the field. The legend on this side is inscribed with “KRUGERRAND” and the gold weight.

Technical Details: Weight, Diameter, and Gold Content

Krugerrand - Comparison of Size from 1/50 to 50 ounce and $1 and 1€.
Krugerrand – Comparison of size from 50 to 1/50 ounce and $1 and 1€.

The Krugerrand is minted from a gold alloy that is 91.67% pure (22 karats), with the remaining 8.33% being copper. This gives the coin a slightly more orange appearance compared to gold coins with higher purity levels. The copper component also makes the Krugerrand more durable and resistant to scratches and dents.

The 1oz gold krugerrand has a diameter of 32.77 mm and a thickness of 2.84 mm. It weighs 33.93 grams, which is equivalent to 1.09 troy ounces. This weight includes one troy ounce of pure gold, with the remaining weight accounted for by the copper alloy.

Are Krugerrands 100% gold? Even thought a Krugerrand is not 100% gold, no gold coin contains 100% of gold, it coints the mass of gold as stated on the coin. As an example: the one counce coin consists of one ounce of gold (plus some amount of copper).

The following list shows the most common sizes:

Denomination 1 oz 1/2 oz 1/4 oz 1/10 oz
Diameter (mm) 32.63 27.07 22.06 16.50
Thickness (mm) 2.67 2.215 1.888 1.35
Weight (gram) 33.930 16.965 8.482 3.393
Gold Content (gram) 31.103 15552 7.776 3.110
Gold content (troy ounce) 1.000 0.500 0.250 0.100

Apart from 1oz to 1/10 ounce, also 1/50, 1/20, 2, 5 and 50 ounce coins are produced. The 50 ounce version was produced only 50 times. It weights 1,68kg.

Proof Version of the Krugerrand

The “common” Krugerrand is a bullion coin, whose price is determined by its gold content (spot gold price plus a premium of a few percentage). Besides the bullion coin, the Rand Refinery also produces a proof version with a shinier finishing. The bullion and proof Krugerrands also differ by their serrations (160 vs. 220). Whereas the krugerrand gold coins value of the bullion corresponds to the spot value, the proof version is priced well above its gold content and meant to be bought by collectors, not investors.

Part 4: Krugerrand vs Maple Leaf

Krugerrand vs the Gold Maple Leaf.
Krugerrand vs the Gold Maple Leaf.

Purity: The Canadian Maple Leaf is one of the purest gold coins available, with a gold content of .9999 (24 karats). On the other hand, the Krugerrand is made from a gold alloy that is 91.67% gold and 8.33% copper (22 karats). The copper gives the Krugerrand added durability but also gives it a slightly different color compared to the Maple Leaf.

Design: The Krugerrand features a profile of Paul Kruger on the obverse and a springbok antelope on the reverse. The Canadian Maple Leaf features a profile of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse and a maple leaf on the reverse.

Recognition: Both coins are highly recognized and traded worldwide. However, the Krugerrand, being older, may have a slight edge in terms of global recognition.

Availability: Both coins are readily available in various sizes. The Krugerrand is available in 2 oz, 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz sizes. The Canadian Maple Leaf is available in 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz, and 1/20 oz sizes.

History: The Krugerrand has a more controversial history due to its association with the apartheid regime in South Africa. The Canadian Maple Leaf does not have this historical baggage.

Price: Both coins are typically priced based on the spot price of gold, but premiums can vary based on factors like coin condition, rarity, and market demand. Generally, the Maple Leaf might carry a slightly higher premium due to its higher purity.

Part 5: The Krugerrand’s Impact on the Gold Market

The Krugerrand’s Influence on the International Gold Trade

The 1 oz south african gold krugerrand coin has been a major player in the global gold market since its launch in 1967. It was a game-changer in making gold ownership accessible to the public. Prior to the Krugerrand, gold was predominantly owned by governments and large institutions. The coin’s durability and ease of trade made it an appealing choice for individual investors.

The success of the Krugerrand also set a precedent for other nations to issue their own bullion coins. It showcased the substantial demand for gold coins among private investors, leading to many global mints following suit. Today, the Krugerrand competes with a variety of other gold coins, but it remains one of the most recognized and widely traded.

The Krugerrand’s Economic Contribution to South Africa

The Krugerrand has also made a significant economic contribution to South Africa. The coin was initially introduced to market South African gold to the world. At that time, South Africa was the world’s leading gold producer, and the Krugerrand became a symbol of the country’s rich natural resources.

The Krugerrand’s success resulted in foreign exchange earnings and boosted the development of the South African mining sector. Today, the mining sector continues to be a vital part of the South African economy, and the Krugerrand remains an important product for the country.

The Krugerrand as an Investment and Hedge

For investors, the Krugerrand serves dual purposes: it’s an investment and a hedging tool. As an investment, it offers the potential for capital appreciation with the fluctuation of gold prices. Many investors also view gold as a safe-haven asset, and the Krugerrand provides a convenient way to invest in physical gold.

As a hedge, the Krugerrand can be used to protect against inflation and currency devaluation. During economic uncertainty, gold often performs well as investors seek safe assets. The Krugerrand, with its long history and widespread recognition, is often a preferred choice for investors looking to hedge against economic risks.

In conclusion, the Krugerrand has a unique place in the gold market. Its introduction revolutionized gold investing, and it continues to be a popular choice for investors globally. Its significance goes beyond being a gold coin; it’s a symbol of South Africa’s abundant natural resources and a testament to the enduring appeal of gold.

Read about the two US Gold Bullions:


What is a Krugerrand?

The Krugerrand is a South African gold coin, first minted in 1967 to help market South African gold. It is named after Paul Kruger, a significant political and military figure in South African history, and the rand, the official South African currency.

What is the composition of a Krugerrand?

The Krugerrand is made from a gold alloy that is 91.67% pure gold and 8.33% copper. This alloy, known as crown gold, is more durable than pure gold and gives the Krugerrand its distinctive orange hue.

What sizes are available for the Krugerrand?

The original Krugerrand is a 1-ounce coin. Common fractional sizes are 1/10, ¼, ½. But there are also 1/50, 1/20, 2, 5 and a rare 50 ounce coin.

How can I authenticate a Krugerrand?

Authentic Krugerrands have specific dimensions, weight, and design features. They also have a reeded edge. If you're unsure about a coin's authenticity, it's best to have it appraised by a reputable coin dealer or grading service.

Where can I buy a Krugerrand?

Krugerrands can be bought or sold at coin dealers, online marketplaces, and sometimes at banks or brokerage firms. It's important to deal with reputable sources to ensure the authenticity of the coin and to get a fair price. As the Krugerrand is one of the most popular gold coins, probably every gold coin dealer sells and buys this type of coin.

How is the value of a Krugerrand determined?

The value of a Krugerrand is primarily determined by its gold content and the current market price of gold. Other factors, such as the coin's condition and rarity, can also influence its value.