COLLECTABLE METAL ART
The South African Mint commemorates
The South African Mint commemorates Nelson Mandela’s centenary.
Imagine a hobby that enhances your appreciation of topics as diverse as local heroes, legends, inventions, nature and the environment. One in whose pursuance you never stop learning. The South African Mint, a subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank, prides itself as one of the foremost champions of South African heritage and storytelling that covers all these topics. The Mint is proud of its diverse portfolio of commemorative and collectable coins, and its collaborations with local artists to bring these themes to life.
The South African Mint produces legal tender circulation coins, investment coins (the worldfamous Krugerrand), and also produces a range of limited edition collectable coins in premium precious metals as well as more affordable metal alloys.
This year, the Mint is paying tribute to Nelson Mandela’s legacy with a range of new coins. 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, and to commemorate this milestone, the Mint has introduced the perfect gift: beautifully designed collectable coins in bronze, silver, gold and a R5 circulation coin.
Led by Richard Stone, the product development team at the Mint is in constant pursuit of coin programmes that showcase South Africa’s rich culture and heritage and serve as odes to those who shaped the destiny and direction of the country. The team is responsible for seeing each coin through the rigorous theme conception, coin design and ultimately, Cabinet approval processes.
In the world of collectable coins, design, or ‘looks’, sells. The South African Mint’s splendidly designed coins boast themes such as South African Inventions which depict the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant and the CAT Scan, among some of the innovations it celebrates (in sterling-silver). The full-colour silver, laser printed coins featuring the birds and flowers of our various biosphere reserves are highly popular among new coin collectors and a definite show-stopper.
‘Our products are conversation starters. When you hold one of our coins, you cannot help but share the story,’ Stone says. The themes which inspire the coins’ designs allow for cross-disciplinary collaborations with different industries and artists. The coins are works of art that are increasingly positioned as gift options for a growing consumer base of old and new collectors.
The Celebrating South Africa series, which was introduced by the Mint in 2017 to commemorate South
Africa’s various symbols of freedom, democracy and culture, was one such opportunity that allowed for a collaboration with a local designer. Contemporary illustrator and multidisciplinary graphic artist, Sindiso Nyoni (aka R!OT), designed the portraits of Nelson Mandela, featured on the 2018 Mandela Centenary coins, as well as the portraits of OR Tambo, featured on the 2017 OR Tambo Centenary coins.
Nyoni’s art was first commissioned for the Mint in 2015, when three silver medallions were produced to celebrate 100 years of the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG).
The full 2018 Mandela Centenary coin range is comprised of a 1 oz (24ct) gold R500 coin, a 1 oz sterlingsilver R50 coin, and a bronze alloy R50 coin, which are all available for purchase at the South African Mint in Centurion, Elegance Jewellers in Melrose Arch as well as various weekend pop-up shops in malls across the country (visit www.samint.co.za for more information). To mark this significant anniversary and extend the commemoration of Mandela’s centenary to the general public, a R5 circulation coin will also be available in July.
The bronze alloy coin is priced at R127 and tells its own tale. Pricing the coin was a conscious tribute to Nelson Mandela’s legacy and our way of paying it forward. To celebrate 100 years since the birth of Mandela, and in remembrance of the 27 long and lonely years he spent in prison, the entry level bronze alloy coin is priced at R127. With every coin purchased, R27 (VAT-free) will be donated to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
The portrait designs of Mandela on the Centenary coins use a graphic illustration style previously used on the portraits of OR Tambo with the 2017 OR Tambo Centenary coins. These and other popular coins that have been produced by Stone’s team are beautiful collectors’ pieces that inspire pride in South Africa.
Nyoni’s artistry brings out Mandela’s youth and his statesman-like disposition with effortless skill applied with so much sincerity, it gives the designs a life-like appearance.
‘It has been a rare honour for me to be invited to celebrate our heroes. Immersing myself in the life and times of Mandela provided me with clarity of thought and sparked the inspiration and excitement that stayed with me throughout this collaboration,’ says Nyoni.
Over the years, minting technology has evolved from using a hammer and anvil to the most current technology where hydraulic presses are used to strike the coins. While the average South African is only concerned if the vending machine will accept the coin or not, coin collectors and numismatists are very interested in the minting process.
‘As part of the collaborative creative process, our own design team, which includes me, Lilian Guerra, our senior design artist and the die-development team, then translate drawings we receive as part of our coin programs into a base relief model. The team likes to present a fresh take, to keep things relevant and give it currency so it appeals to new collectors and old,’ Stone adds.
Coin collectors are in the game for pride and accomplishment more than a return on investment. So designs must not only meet their expectations as far as craftsmanship and quality are concerned but also stand up to durability and be relevant to the times.
‘Whether your interests are thematic, or piqued more by the metallurgy or denominational relationships of certain coin series, our offering appeals to any collector’s tastes. We also make coins in bronze, silver and circulation coins in proof quality so you really don’t have to be wealthy to start a coin collection,’ concludes Stone.
‘We view our coins as global ambassadors of South Africa and its heritage. In creating our coins, we tell stories about our country, our people and our legacy – these stories are always uniquely South African, yet they resonate universally around the world.’
Top: bronze and silver collectable coins Bottom: 24ct gold collectable coin and R5 circulation coin
R50 collectible bronze alloy coin (R127)
R50 collectible silver coin (R695)