Along with the Sovereign and the American Eagle, the Krugerrand has attained an iconic status amongst coin collectors greater than just about anything else in the modern coin world. Released in 1967 and just now celebrating half a century on sale with a hugely popular silver variant and new tooling, it’s easy to forget that the design wasn’t an original one.
In 1947, artist Coert Steynberg produced the Springbok design for use on a 5 Shilling coin with an effigy of British king, George VI on the obverse so it was already twenty years old before it appeared on the Krugerrand. Of more interest are the variety of alternative designs produced from which the famous Springbok work was chosen and the South African Mint has dipped into the archives to produce a quite beautiful new set of gold coins in its long-running Natura programme.
Five 0.9999 gold coins make up this new set, running from one-ounce down to a first ever 1/20 oz variant and encompassing the regular 1/2, 1/4 and 1/10 oz fractional sizes. Each of the five coins depicts one of Steynbergs rejected designs for the 5 shilling coin. It’s easy to imagine that a ‘rejected’ design is inferior, but that’s far from the case here. Each of the five alternative designs present here are clearly from the same family as that employed on the Krugerrand, and each of them is a superb depiction of this beautiful animal. The common obverse shows a close-up of the Springbok from the one-ounce variant.
The coins can be purchased individually, each in a box with a certificate of authenticity and a mintage of 500 each, or as a presentation set for which the mintage is limited to just 800 pieces. Given how popular the Krugerrand has been over the years, that isn’t a lot of coins to satisfy hard-core collectors and we can’t imagine a Krugerrand fan not wanting this set. One of the finest gold sets we’ve seen so far this year.