Most of the time, coins are usually priced based on their face value which is not often a lot. There are times where rare South African coins appreciate so much that they become worthy investment tools. With that in mind, I decided to build my top ten list of the most valuable coins in South Africa.
Here are 10 of the most valuable South African coins:
- 1898 Single 9 Pond
- 1899 Kruger double nine ponds
- 1874 Burgers Pond Coarse Beard
- 1874 Burgers Pond Fine Beard
- 1898 Sammy Marks Tickey
- 1902 VeldPond
- 2008 Mandela 90th Birthday Coin
- 2018 Mandela’s 100th Birthday R5 coin
- 1994 Mandela Inauguration Coin
- 1893-1894 Kruger half ponds
Such coins are what drive most famous coin collections and grab attention for the prices they fetch at auctions. Several factors may drive a coin’s value to stratospheric values. The main ones are the rarity of the coin, the material it was made from, the purpose of the coins or what it is associated with and finally the condition of the coin at the point of its sale.
The rarity of a coin like any other item in the world makes it exclusive and drives up demand. Collectors seek to have it to complete their sets while investors want it for its appreciating value over time. The rarest coins tend to be the ones used years ago when they were not minted in mass, and a good number may have been lost or reminted over time leaving only a few ones in circulation.
1. 1898 Single 9 Pond
The 1898 Single 9 Pond is first on my list, as well as worth the most out of all the coins I found during my research. It is the only coin of its kind ever made which has valued it among the most expensive coins in the world. That’s quite a statement to make about the value of a coin, so without further ado, what is the 1898 Single 9 Pond worth today?
The 1898 Single 9 Pond is currently worth R15,000,000. There is only one of these coins in existence and it was last sold to a private buyer who wished to remain anonymous for the price of R20 million, that about $4 million.
The story behind it is pretty impressive too. The coin was produced amid the Anglo-Boer war with the country then seeking international legitimacy. The country lacked the dies to allow coinage at home and so contracted a mint in Germany to produce the dies.
Unfortunately, the German-made dies were intercepted and seized by British forces on their way to South Africa. Without the new dies, the Dutch were forced to use existing dies from 1898 and stamped a number “9” on the obverse to denote the coin to be 1899 coinage. On the very first coin, however, they made a mistake by stamping the “9” too large and it protruded into the silhouette of President Kruger. After realizing their mistake, they stopped using that punch, and the coin was set aside and because known as the “single 9”.
The Dutch then used two smaller 9’s, and 130 coins were struck, and were known as the “double 9’s”.
The single 9 was sent to the United States to establish the South African Dutch government as an independent state with it’s very own currency.
If you would like to learn more about the 1898 single 9 Pond, and find out why it’s at the top of our list as the most valuable South African coin, read: What is the 1898 Single 9 Pond Coin Worth?
2. 1899 Kruger double nine ponds
If the Kruger single Nine Pond is the king of South African coins, the double nine follows closely after. But what is considered valuable enough to make number two on my list? How much are the Kruger Double 9 Ponds worth today?
The 1899 Kruger Double Nine Ponds are currently valued at around R1,500,000 and more. Some 1899 Kruger Double 9 ponds are selling at R1,950,000, making this the second most valuable South African coin on this list.
When the decision to change the dies used for the single nine was agreed upon, a standard currency output was produced of 137,000 one-pound coins. 130 of these coins were then counter-stamped with the numerals 99 for the year of mint giving them their name of double 9 ponds. These 130 are very rare, and of course incredibly valuable.
3. 1874 Burgers Pond Coarse Beard
This batch of the Burgers ponds was significantly different from the first 695 coins known as the “1874 Burgers Pond Fine Beard”. The dies broke after the first batch had been made, and a new die was used resulting in the coins having a coarse beard and the number 8 also appearing to be double-struck.
After the president presented 50 of these coins to the People Council, who had a negative reaction to the coins, minting was halted.
The 1874 Burgers Pond Coarse Beard can fetch as much as R1,750,000, and there were only 142 pieces minted, making them very rare.
4. 1874 Burgers Pond Fine Beard
In 1874, the then president of the Republic of South Africa decided to have indigenous coins made for South Africa. He sent a portrait of himself and the government’s coat of arms to the Republic’s Consul General JJ Pratt in London along with gold for the purpose obtained at the famous Pilgrim’s Rest. Six hundred ninety-five pieces were dispatched as the first batch that was known as the Fine Beard Burgers Pond.
The 1874 Burgers Pond Fine Beard is extremely valuable, selling for as much as £93,600 (R1,842,664) at an auction in 2014 in London. Other 1874 Burgers Pond Fine Beard coins vary from R300,000 to R700,000 depending on the quality of the coin.
5. 1898 Sammy Marks Tickey
These rare coins have an interesting story behind them. They never served as official currency but rather as mementos as the then President Kruger allowed the mining businessman Sammy Marks the extremely rare privilege of using the state mint for one day in recognition of services rendered to the state.
The rarity and historical value of the 1898 Sammy Marks Tickey have seen them sell for as much as R750,000 in auctions. The mining magnate made 215 gold pieces that were given as gifts to friends, family, the president, and other members of the People’s Council.
6. 1902 VeldPond
The 1902 VeldPond coin is a legendary coin and with good reason too. There were only 986 pieces ever made, and they were made out of despair to create a mint that would allow the Boers to buy items from the African tribes in their war against the British who were almost overwhelming them.
1902 VeldPond coins are valued between R150,000 to upwards of R350,000 depending on the condition.
The coins are also known as Pilgrim’s Rest’ coins after the location where they were minted. Each coin is unique as they were made from a handmade press using just one pair of dies and two men.
7. 2008 Mandela 90th Birthday Coin
Highest Graded value: R150,000.00 (BidorBuy Listing)
Highest valuable for an ungraded, uncirculated coin: R1,000.00
As the name suggests, these coins were released to celebrate the 90th birthday of the first black South African President’s 90th birthday. Given his global icon status and the limited edition of the coins, they have both sentimental and exclusivity value. They go as high as R150,000.00 in auctions.
8. 2018 Mandela’s 100th Birthday R5 coin
The 2018 Mandela’s 100th Birthday R5 coin is another coin that was minted to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday.
Like the 2008 coins, they were for the R5 denomination, yet their rarity and sentimental value often make them worth more if they have high grading, and uncirculated coins sell for as much as R9,995.00 on auctions.
For the most part, though, a run of the mill 2018 R5 coin is only worth R5, and they were designed to be used as normal currency.
9. 1994 Mandela Inauguration Coin
Easily the one coin with much historical significance on this list. As with the other Mandela coins, they are in the R5 denomination value and were released for a limited period and quickly snatched up by collectors and investors they did not last much in general circulation.
Even though this coin was also designed to be used as normal currency and for the most part is only worth its face value, a graded and uncirculated 1994 R5 Mandela coin can be sold for around R1,000 as commonly sold on auctions.
10. 1893-1894 Kruger half ponds
These are the rarest of all the regular Kruger coins especially the ones bearing the year 1893 even though the first single shaft half ponds (named after the image of a single-shaft ox wagon on them) were made in 1894. This rarity sees them fetch high prices for such standard coins starting at R200, 000.
The above are some of the most valuable South African coins, and they can make up a significant investment. The critical thing when collecting rare South African coins is always to look out for the grading and try different but reputable sellers to find the best possible price and wait for the value to go high before selling.