Fifty Cents, Silver, Coin Type from South Africa - detailed information

Fifty Cents, Silver, Coin Type from South Africa (issued 1961 - 1964)
Coin TypeFifty Cents, Silver

The South African Fifty Cents coin (abbreviated as 50c) is a small circulating coin of the Rand currency. It was introduced when the currency was decimalised in 1961 and replaced the earlier pre-decimal five shillings coin, retaining its design, dimensions and metal content; the coin is thus directly descended from (and initially compatible with) the British silver Crown denomination.

This silver version of the Fifty Cents was only issued for four years though; in 1965, the Second Decimal Series was introduced, in which the Fifty Cents denomination was made of nickel. This was changed to a smaller bronze-plated steel version with the Third Decimal Series in 1990.

South Africa / Fifty Cents, Silver - obverse photo

The obverse features the portrait of Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, known as Jan van Riebeeck (1619-1677), Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town and considered by many people to be the founding father of the South African nation. The designer's initials WM (for Willie Myburg) are incuse on the shoulder truncation.

Around left, the motto EENDRAG MAAK MAG in Afrikaans; separated from that by two decorative rosettes, around right the same in English: UNITY IS STRENGTH.

South Africa / Fifty Cents, Silver - reverse photo

The reverse shows at its centre a Springbok antelope, the national animal symbol of South Africa.

The designer's initials CLS (for Coert Laurens Steynberg) are in the right field between the letters IC of AFRICA and the ground under the Springbok.

Above, the date of issue: + [year] +.

Around left and around right, respectively the legend SUID-AFRIKA in Afrikaans and SOUTH AFRICA in English.

Around below, flanked by two rosettes, the value and denomination * 50 c. * (Fifty Cents).

This design was initially used on the pre-decimal five shillings, half pound and one pound coins; it is now displayed on the iconic Krugerrand bullion coin series.

Reverse Inscription SUID-AFRIKA + [year] + SOUTH AFRICA * 50 c. *
EdgeMilledEdge InscriptionNone

The likeness on the obverse of the coin is based on a portrait painted by Dirck Craey which is now in the possession of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum; it is now thought that the painting was actually of another Dutchman named Bartholomeus Vermuyden, and not of Jan van Riebeeck.

Note that there are also some two-ounce silver bullion coins denominated as 50 cents in face value.

Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Fifty Cents, Silver: Details
CountrySouth Africa
Sub-type ofFifty Cents
Face Value50 (x Cent)
CurrentNo; withdrawn 1965
Material0.500 Silver
DesignerCoert Laurens Steynberg, Willie Myburg
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size38.8000 mm
Thickness3.0400 mm
Mass28.2800 g