It can easily be said that one of the most popular gold coins in the world is the South African Krugerand. Anywhere you go in the world, these coins hold their value, often by reputation alone. The amount of gold in a Krugerrand is exactly one ounce. There is about 2.8 grams of copper in the gold coin as well to increase its durability and strength. The total weight of at South African Krugerrand is 1.0909 troy ounces, the weight of the other metal not being calculated in the measurement. Don’t worry about the extra weight costing you more, or devaluing the coin, the bullion sells for exactly the same as other completely pure gold coins like the Canadian Maple Leaf. In the past, other coins contained only the amount of gold in them to correspond to the face value, the Krugerrand was the first coin to contain exactly one ounce of gold.
Where did this coin get its name? Paul Kruger is the namesake for the Krugerrand. Paul Kruger was the 5th president of the South African Republic and the Boer resistance leader. His face is imprinted on one side of the coin while the other side shows a springbok antelope. Both of these symbols are widely recognized in South Africa, thus they are on their gold bullion as well.
The Krugerrand gold coin was first minted as a way to market the massive gold reserves of South Africa to the world. Starting in 1967 these coins have been made as a way to let Americans and others buy gold. See, at the time it was illegal for an American to buy or own gold bullion. The US government was trying to build up their own gold reserves, (which they later abandoned for fiat money) so the average citizen could not have gold in their investment portfolio. However, the loophole was that it was totally legal for them to own collectible coins. The Krugerand was made for just that purpose, and was put to good use on the American markets. Eventually, the ugly Apartheid made it illegal to own even these collectible coins, so other countries began to mint their own legal tender gold bullion to fill the growing gap.
In the 80’s the Krugerrand began to be released in different weights, from one tenth of an ounce, one quarter of an ounce, and one half an ounce. This made it more accessible to some who could not afford to buy whole troy ounce gold coins. There is also a lot of mystery surrounding the fabled Silver Krugerrand, which was released during this time to get around the ban, but from where and by whom is a closely guarded secret to this day. Nevertheless, it’s fun to own one of these as there is a whole mythos built up around thee Silver Krugerrand coins.