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What South Africa’s most valuable coins are worth

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What South Africa’s most valuable coins are worth

South Africa’s rich history is reflected in its most valuable collectable coins, which can be worth a lot of money at auction.

There are a few different things that collectors look for when they are establishing which rare treasures to add to their prized collections, and factors like quality, rarity, and significance all have a part to play in determining how valuable any given collectable is.

When posed with the question of how valuable a South African coin is, most people on the street would simply answer with the value that is printed on the coin. However, avid coin collectors know that there is often much more to determining a coin’s value than meets the eye.

What makes these valuable coins so valuable?

While it is true that most of the South African currency rattling around in your pocket right now (also known as “circulation coins”, as in coins that are still currently in circulation), is probably only worth a few Rand, there are a few, very special South African collectors’ coins that are worth millions.

In these cases, it is not so much the monetary value of the coin (or even the material that the coin is made of) that determines its market value, but rather the historical significance and rarity of the coin that makes it worth so much money.

A rundown of South Africa’s most valuable coins

These days, most of our South African coins in circulation are minted by the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. But, this was not the case many years ago and many historical coins are now considered to be especially valuable, because there are only a limited number of these coins in existence.

Ultimately, the value of any collectible will only be determined by what the demand is when it finally goes up for auction, but based on the auctions that we have seen over the course of the last few decades, some of the most valuable South African coins can be summarized as follows:

Coin Year Estimated value
5. VeldPond 1902 Between R30 000 and up to R300 000 or more
4. Burgers Pond Coarse Beard 1874 Between R100 000 and up to R600 000 or more
3. Sammy Marks Tickey 1898 Between R400 000 and up to R1.4 million or more
2. Kruger Double Nine Pond 1899 About R1.5 million
1. Single 9 Pond 1989 About $4 million (or more than R75 million, as of 25 March 2024)

What South Africa’s most valuable coins are worth

How valuable are South African commemorative coins?

While historic coins tend to always be at the top of the list when it comes to South Africa’s most valuable coins, there are a few more recently minted coins that are also bound to fetch a pretty penny at auction.

This includes special commemorative coins, like the Mandela 90th Birthday coin (2018), the Presidential Inauguration coin (1994), the 20 Years of Democracy coin (2014) and many more.

These coins are not quite as rare as the extremely valuable coins listed above, but because they are so closely associated with these once-in-a-lifetime events, they have been listed for as much as R30 000, R49 000 and even R150 000 over the years (not to say the necessarily sold a those amounts, just listed).

Collecting other coins in South Africa

Most of the ultra-valuable, super-rare coins listed above form part of what avid South African coin collectors call the ‘ZAR period’, which usually describes rare coins produced by the government of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, between 1892 and 1902.

However, this is not the only popular collector’s coin series in South Africa. Both new and avid collectors who want to expand their South African coin collections can also look into coins from the Union of South Africa period or ‘Sterling South Africa’ coins (which were typically minted between 1923 and 1961) or more modern series like Krugerrands or the Natura Paleontology coins, which can often be worth thousands.

Why the 1898 Single 9-Pond Coin is the “King of South African Coins”

The 1898 Single 9-Pond Coin is arguably the most valuable South African coin in existence and is quite literally the stuff of legend.

As the story goes, this coin was minted in 1899 around the start of the second Anglo-Boer War, when the old government were forced to resort to simply stamping a number nine over the existing “1898” moulds, after their new minting dies were confiscated.

However, once the first stamp-over was complete, they realized that the nine was much too large and no further coins were produced using this method.

As a result, the Single 9-Pond Coin is truly one-of-a-kind. It is this incredible rarity that has given the Single 9-Pond Coin its very high value. This coins has only ever changed hands five times, the most recent of which was a private sale that reportedly fetched over R20 million.