South Africa expands its bullion offerings with a superb prehistoric-themed silver semi-numismatic coin

When you think of bullion coins, it’s fair to say a large number of people will look to the iconic Krugerrand as the definitive example. Launched back in 1967 in gold form, it took half a century before the iconic Otto Schultz and Coert Steynberg penned original made the jump to silver. Not a producer that has played around with its bullion coins much, it’s good to see the South African Mint draw on its extensive experience to finally bring out something new.

One of the mints most famous series is its Natura wildlife-themed proof coins, that have been issued since 1994. Only ever available in gold, the 2018 set headed into prehistory for the first time with a very nice five-coin Archosaurs set. It’s from this that the inspiration for the this new 2019 silver bullion coin has been drawn – specifically the small 1/20 oz gold coin. Depicting a small archosaur called Euparkeria, it has immediately jumped to being one of our very favourite bullion coins of the year.

The obverse is common to the whole series and quite outstanding. It depicts the fossilised skull, neck and shoulder of an Erythrosuchus africanus – at around 5 metres, the largest predator of its time. Inscribed here is the series title ‘RISE OF THE DINOSAURS’. the issuer ‘SOUTH AFRICA’, the date in Roman numerals ‘MMXIX’ and the sub-title, ‘ARCHOSAURIA’.  The reverse face is even better. Euparkeria leaping for an insect and in full motion is hugely dynamic and far removed from the usual lumbering depiction of prehistoric life that we’re used to. It’s simple and different – a fine change from the usual wildlife bullion coin we’re all used to. The program name ‘NATURA’, the denomination ’25 RAND’, the specific coin title ‘EUPARKERIA’ and the composition ‘1oz Ag999’ are inscribed here and don’t infringe too much on the main image.

While the mintage is a reasonable size at 50,000 pieces, this is more of a semi-numismatic bullion coin than one for the hardcore stacker. Each coin comes packaged in a cardboard blisterpack that’s packed with information and carries a certificate of authenticity. Selling for around €29.50 at the time of writing, it’s clearly a little pricier than the mass market silver bullion coins, but certainly not excessively so. The upside of course, is that it makes a fine value buy/gift for the collector. Only available as a one-ounce 0.999 silver coin, we love this one a lot and it’s great to round out the year with a bullion coin like this. Available to order now, we’ve seen it at EMK, Aurinum and APMEX, as well as site sponsors LPM HK, so you should have no trouble picking one up.

EUPARKERIA

The unique fossil heritage of South Africa includes some of the earliest life forms discovered on Earth, some of the first multi-cellular organisms as well as the remains of a wide variety of plants and animals. Some of the most important South African fossils include the archosaurs (dinosaurs and their kin), synapsids (mammal-like reptiles) and hominins.

Euparkeria is an extinct genus of archisauriform from the Middle Triassic of South Africa. It was a small reptile that lived between 245-230 million years ago, which was related to the ancestors of the Archosauria, the group that includes dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and modern birds and crocodilians.

The hind limbs of Euparkeria are somewhat longer than its forelimbs, which has led to the theory that it could have been able to walk on its hind legs as a facultative biped. Other adaptations which would have supported bipedalism in Euparkeria include rows of osteoderms that stabilised the back and a long tail that counterbalanced the rest of the body. Although Euparkeria is close to the ancestry of fully bipedal archosaurs such as early dinosaurs, it probably developed bipedalism independently.

Euparkeria was not as well adapted to bipedal locomotion as dinosaurs and its normal quadrupedal gait would have been similar to the crocodilian high walk. Bony or sclerotic rings have been found in the eye sockets of some Euparkeria specimens. These bony rings, also known as sclerotic rings, are similar to those found supporting the internal eye structure of some modern nocturnal birds and reptiles. This suggests that Euparkeria may have had a similar lifestyle adapted for low light conditions – such as those that one would expect in crepuscular or nocturnal animals and in animals that have to function in the long winters at high sub-polar latitudes such as those that existed in southern Gondwanaland during the Triassic.

Bold Precious Metals
AD - Minted-UK.com
SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION 25 Rand (South Africa)
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 31.106 grams
DIMENSIONS 38.725 mm
FINISH Bullion
MODIFICATIONS None
MINTAGE 50,000
BOX / COA Blister Card / Yes
European Mint ad
Pobjoy Mint ad