As a country with abundant deposits of precious metals, South Africa provides more mines than most other countries in this world. In 1920, the resolution was made to form the Rand Refinery by joining together the operators of the mines. One year later the first buildings of the refinery were built. Until today it is globally the largest refinery and mint established in only one place.
A chequered history
Today the Rand Refinery is one of the most important mints and processing facilities for precious metals worldwide. But the path to this position has not always been easy. In 1921, the London Bullion Market Association certified the good minting quality of the Rand Refinery for their 400 oz bars. This was an important step for a refinery to be able to place its products in the market. In 1967, the South African Government commissioned the refinery with the production and the management of the worldwide sales of the Krugerrand. Twelve years later, in 1988, the USA and the European Community put an import ban in place on the Krugerrand due to the apartheid policy in South Africa, which was kept in place until 1999. The trade and ownership of the coins was still permitted. After the end of the apartheid in 1990 and the embargo nine years later, the Rand Refinery developed again to being one of the most important mints and refineries around the world, and still has this role today. For more information about the history of the Rand Refinery please click here (English language).
The Krugerrand – The first modern bullion coin
The most important task of the Rand Refinery - apart from the production of bars from the copious deposits in South Africa - is the production of the Krugerrand, probably the most popular gold coin worldwide. The characteristic design with the springbok and the portrait of Paul Kruger is a symbol for modern bullions.
Since its introduction in 1967 the Krugerrand has been the first modern bullion coin. Apart from this characteristic, other special features also set the South African coin apart from other gold bullions. The nominal value is, for example, not stamped on the Krugerrand, although the coin is a recognised means of payment. The value of the coins always correlates with the current gold price. This means that no specific amount has been defined, which is normally the case for regular means of payment. The Krugerrand is also the first bullion coin to be minted with the weight of one ounce or denominations. It is after all the composition and the colour which make the Krugerrand such a special coin. The colour is explained by the relatively high amount of copper which is mixed into the gold alloy and serves to improve the scratch resistance of the coin. Due to the alloy distribution the high content of alloy of the Krugerrand is 91.67%, which corresponds to a value of 22 carat gold.
Today, the Krugerrand is the most widely traded bullion coin in the world. Investors use the Krugerrand to diversify their portfolio, and for many aficionados the different years and sizes are an incentive to include the Krugerrand in the collection. The high level of distribution makes it easier for investors to find traders and investors who buy the coins.