Thursday, December 15, 2005

What are Krugerrands?

The Krugerrand gold coin is named after Stephanus Johannes Paul Kruger. Known as Uncle Paul, Kruger was a former South African President and famous figure in the formation of the South African Republic. His head is on the obverse, or “heads” side of the coin. The reverse or “tails” side shows a Springbok Antelope, one of the national symbols of South Africa.

The Krugerrand was first minted in 1967 and was the first gold coin to contain exactly one ounce (31.1.55 grams) of fine gold. The Krugerrand was produced to provide a way for individuals to own gold. By bestowing legal tender status upon the coin, Krugerrands could be owned by citizens of the United States where, at that time, private ownership of bullion was prohibited but ownership of foreign coins allowed.

In 1980 smaller sized coins were produced including a half, quarter and one tenth ounce coins. All sizes have continued to be minted every year since. As a result of this the original kruger, as it is often called, is referred to as a “full” or “one ounce” kruger and people in the coin trade understand the kruger or krugerrand to be the full size original coin.

Krugerrands are available through the usual coin dealers and coin auction houses. When purchasing krugerrands or ‘krugers’, ensure that the size is mentioned clearly. Also ensure the date of mint, price and condition are clearly stated.

Although a matter of taste, the krugerrand is not generally considered aesthetically pretty but it was never really designed to be. It was designed to be just a lump of gold an individual could own. More tastefully design coins are available if looks matter, such as the British Sovereign or the Canadian Maple for example.

If you are interested in a solid gold coin that clunks satisfactorily in your hand and the gold content is guaranteed, you would be hard put to go past the pioneer of modern gold bullion coins - the now famous krugerrand gold coin.

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