2015 marks the 200th anniversary of the first coinage in South African history. And interestingly, these coins were created as a currency for the residents of Griqua Town (more commonly known as Griquastad). At an event held at the South African Reserve Bank, South African Mint launched the range of new numismatic and circulation coins, two R2 pieces and a R5, to commemorate the 2nd centenary. The coins were unveiled by Governor of the Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago. A brief history of the South African coinage was also presented alongside the coins themselves, which was followed by pre-orders for the numismatic range.
COINS COMMEMORATE THE CREATION OF THE COUNTRY’S FIRST COINAGE
The South African Mint (SA Mint), a wholly owned subsidiary of The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has launched a new range of coins to commemorate 200 hundred years of the Griqua Town coin. The coin was originally created as currency for the people of Griqua Town in 1815 – the first local currency of a South African people.
The numismatic coin range follows the announcement of the upcoming R5 commemorative currency coin which will be issued by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) in 2016. The new Griqua Town R5 will be a regular legal tender coin, holding the same value and equal to the existing R5 coins that are currently in circulation throughout the country. The new R5 coin will therefore not hold any special or superior value to existing R5 coins.
For the coin collector, the numismatic coin range, available immediately from the South African Mint, comprises of a proof quality R5 coin, two R2 sterling silver, crown-sized coins, and a R2 ¼ oz 24 ct gold coin. The proof-quality R5 coin bears on the reverse, a rendition of the two sides of the original five ‘pence’ 1815 Griqua coin, slightly overlapped. The obverse of the new coin features the national coat of arms, the year ‘2015’, and the words.
The two R2 sterling silver crown-size coins are uniquely designed, featuring part (half) of the obverse design of original Griqua Town coin, each capturing part of the words Griqua Town, numeral five and beading of the 1815 coin. When the two coins are overlapped, one complete image of the original Griqua Town coin is formed.
The third product in this range is a R2 ¼ ounce 24 carat gold coin which bears on the reverse, the partial image of the obverse 1815 coin which bears the image of a dove with an olive branch in its beak, the words “1815 bicentennial 2015” and “Coinage of Griqua Town” along the perimeter of the coin. The obverse of the gold coin has the South African coat of arms, the words “2015 and “South Africa”.
Each coin combination is sold with a magnifying glass, symbolising and reinforcing the theme of going back into history, and looking deeper into the history of coinage in South Africa.
The Griqua numismatic coins will be available in the following limited combinations:
- 2000 R5 proof-quality coins packaged with a magnifying glass in a PVC box;
- 1815 sets comprising of a proof R5 coin and two R2 sterling silver crowns, also packaged with a magnifying glass in a hand-crafted wooden box; and lastly,
- 200 sets consisting of a R5 proof coin, two R2 sterling silver crown coins, and a special R2 ¼ oz pure-gold coin in a hand-crafted wooden box, with a magnifying glass.
Introduced in 1815, the Griqua Town coin series consisted of a five and ten ‘pence’ made of silver as well as a half and quarter ‘pence’ made of copper. The common obverse of the four coins featured the emblem of the London Missionary Society, a flying dove with an olive branch in its beak. The reverse of each coin featured the words ‘Griqua Town’ and the denomination of the coin.
The 2015 Griqua Town numismatic range depicts these various elements from the original coin designs: a replica dove with olive brand in its beak, the words ‘Griqua Town’ and the numeral five portrayed as five single lines. The idea of taking a closer look at the history of our coinage and magnifying the intricate detail that numismatists seek out in coins, is symbolised by the magnifying glass that one receives with each coin purchase. According to Tumi Tsehlo, the Managing Director of the South African Mint, “we are proud to bring to life the country’s coinage history with this range that is essentially tells the story of other coins. The 2015 Griqua Town coins are “coins about coins””.
The coins will be available at the South African Mint’s retail outlet, Coin World, which is open on weekdays from 9:00 until 16:00 and weekends from 10:00 until 14:00, or by special order by contacting (012) 677-2482 or sending an e-mail to [email protected].