What Is The Value Of A 1979 South African 1 Rand Coin?

I have discovered that there are many search queries online from people who are looking for the value of the 1979 South African 1 Rand coin. Some would like to know if the coin is worth keeping, or if they should sell it. Some wonder if it is worth buying or adding to an already existing collection.

The value of a 1979 South African 1 Rand coin is R81,82 as of April 2020. (US$ 4,31 – date of currency conversion rate 06/04/2020) Between May 2018, and April 2020 the value of this commemorative coin has fluctuated. With the highest value achieved in May 2018 of R91,69 and dropping to its lowest value since as of April 6th 2020 of R81,82.

Perhaps you have inherited or stumbled upon a few old coins. If you are in possession of a 1979 South African 1 Rand coin you may be wondering what to do with it, especially if it is just laying around gathering dust. You might wonder if it’s worth selling, and if so, how you would go about selling it. On the other hand, you might be looking to buy one. Here is some useful information on what you should know about buying, selling, collecting this particular coin.

How to find a buyer/seller for a 1979 South African 1 Rand coin?

  • Approach a reputable coin dealer. Coin dealers buy low – medium value coins so they would be a good start in helping you sell your coin. They may also have stock of or be able to source the coin you are looking to buy. 
  • Visit a coin show in your area. These events take place every year all around the country, you will be able to find dates and venues online. At coin shows you will find many buyers and sellers and even if you don’t end up selling or buying at the show, you will meet reputable dealers and experts in the field who will be able to guide you in the right direction. Here is an example of a South African coin fair – https://en.numista.com/outings/durban-coin-fair-durban-946.html
  • Search for online coin dealers. These sites are a fast way to sell coins from your own home. You can find sites willing to buy both common and rare coins, as well as dealers selling coins. You can also look on BidorBuy or Gumtree. Search out dealers that focus on the type of coin you’re selling/buying. For example a dealer of rare gold coins probably isn’t going to be interested in a 1979 South African 1 Rand coin. 
  • Read some coin collector magazines. Magazines like Numismatic News and Coin World may help you find your perfect buyer. You can find one in your local coin shop or by looking online.
  • Submit your coin to a coin auction. Coin auctions happen both online and in person. Try looking for an auction that features a lot of coins similar to yours.

A Note On Auction Sites

Auctions can be very unpredictable and you are not guaranteed to get as much as you’d hoped for. You might earn less than what a dealer would pay or you could unexpectedly get more than you thought.

Keep in mind that auctions charge both sellers and buyers a fee which will affect the final amount you pay for the coin or sell it at.
Auction sites like eBay are also good options, but be careful of scams

1979 South African Commemorative R1 Coin, End of Nicholaas Johannes Diederichs Presidency


Diameter31 mm
Thickness2,2 mm

What material is the coin made of?

The coin’s composition (the metal that it is made of) is Nickel. It is silvery-white in color, with a slight gold tinge. The coin is very light, weighing only 12 grams.

Will you get more for your coin if you try to clean it?

A shiny, clean coin, does not necessarily mean that the coin is more valuable than a dirty coin. As a matter of fact, trying to clean a coin might end up damaging it!

Keep these hints in mind when cleaning your coin:

  • Never clean a coin with an acidic or abrasive cleaning product as this could damage  your coin by scratching or removing part of the surface layer and negatively affect the value of your coin.If you are not sure about how valuable your coin is, before cleaning it, take the coin to an expert for inspection and guidance. It would be very sad to learn that by cleaning your coin you cut its value and its no longer worth as much as it was. 
  • Never attempt to clean your coin by using wire brushes or steel wool to scrape dirt off.
  • The only way to clean your coins without causing damage is to use plain water or a weak soap solution

Some more helpful cleaning tips:

  • To clean COPPER coins – use Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)
  • To clean SILVER coins – use Baking Soda
  • To clean OLD/TARNISHED coins – use white vinegar

Design Details of the 1979 South African R1 Coin

ObverseHead of President Nicholaas Johannes “Nico” Diederichs “South Africa” along the right side of the coin and Suid Afrika along the left side.
ReverseSpringbok; Value; “Soli Deo gloria”  
Edge DescriptionReeded (Milled)

Whose face is on the front (obverse) of the coin, and why?

The side of the coin that shows the main design, or head of the coin, (obverse) , has an engraved side profile image of the face of President Nicholaas Johannes “Nico” Diederichs, born in 1903.

He served as the third State President of South Africa, a position that he held from 1975 until his death in August 1978. This coin was minted in his honor.

What does the Springbok on the back (reverse) of the coin represent?

  • The Springbok is a medium-sized antelope found mainly in southern and southwestern Africa and is our National Animal. It has famously lent its name to the South African national rugby team, fondly known as “the Boks” or “die Bokke” 
  • The first Springbok appeared as long ago as 1947 as a true South African symbol on the silver crown size coins.
  • The Springbok emblem has been used on various other South African coins, including the Gold one-pound and ½ pound coins as well as the Gold R1 and R2 coins.
  • From 1960 to 1964, the Springbok reappeared on the reverse of the 50c.
  • The Springbok was also the chosen symbol on the South African Krugerrand from 1967 to date. 
  • The Springbok was also depicted on the R1 nickel coins from 1977 – 1990

What is the meaning of the words “Soli Deo Gloria” that are engraved on the back of the coin?

The Latin term depicted on the reverse side of the coin, is one of the five Reformers’ basic beliefs during the Protestant Reformation. It means “Glory to God alone”.

Detailed information about the 1979 South African 1 Rand coin

Krause Number/Category CodeKM# 104
CountrySouth Africa
DenominationR1 (one rand)
Face ValueR1 
Year 1979
SubjectEnd of Nicholaas Johannes Diederichs Presidency
Coin TypeCommemorative Coins
Mintage 13 466
MintPretoria, South Africa

The 1979 South African Commemorative R1 Coin that was made in honor of the end of Nicholaas Johannes Diederichs Presidency was produced in Pretoria, South Africa. A total of 13 466 copies of the coin were produced.

What is a Krause number?

Each coin has its own KM number, a number that identifies and categorises each coin.

“If you ever tried to trade coins with someone with more collecting experience, they probably asked for, or gave, a KM number when describing a coin”



Even though the 1979 South African Commemorative R1 Coin is not one of the most valuable coins out there it certainly is an interesting part of South African history.

Whether you are looking to buy one, or have one to sell, explore your options by talking to experts and searching online to get the best deal.

To avoid devaluing your coin, keep it stored in a safe place and avoid harsh cleaning methods.

Thank you for reading my article, I hope you have found it interesting and informative!

Penny for your thoughts? Please leave us a comment below…

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2 Responses

  1. Pretty says:

    Thanks, I need the selling price for old 50 cent 1966, selling price for 2cent, 5 cent and 20 cent 1965. As well as 1994 5 rand Mandela coins

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