The One-Fiftieth Krugerrand, or fiftieth-ounce (1/50 oz) Krugerrand gold coin, is part of the extensive range of Krugerrand coins which has its beginning in 1967 and is produced by Rand Refinery together with the South African Mint. The original (one ounce gold) Krugerrand is the first modern bullion coin.
By 1980, the Krugerrand accounted for 90% of the global gold coin market. The name is a compound of Paul Kruger, the former President of the South African Republic (depicted on the obverse), and rand, the South African unit of currency. During the 1970s and 1980s, some western countries forbade import of the Krugerrand because of its association with the apartheid government of South Africa, most notably the United States, which was the coin's largest market in 1985.
Although gold Krugerrand coins have no face value, they are considered legal tender in South Africa by the South African Reserve Bank Act (SARBA) of 1989. However, unlike bullion coins issued by other countries, their legal tender denomination - also known as face value - is not fixed and varies depending on the current price of gold, so is not inscribed on the coin.
Initially, the coin was only issued in one format: one ounce of gold; since September 1980, Krugerrands have also become available in three additional smaller sizes containing half ounce of gold, quarter ounce of gold and one tenth of an ounce of gold. In 2017, the Rand Refinery began minting silver versions, which have the same overall design as the gold coin; these are in two ounces silver and one ounce silver.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the coin range in 2017, it was expanded to also include a platinum ounce, a massive fifty ounces (50 oz) gold coin, five ounces (5 oz) gold, two ounces (2 oz) gold, and two fractional mini-coins, twentieth-ounce (1/20th oz) gold and fiftieth ounce (1/50th oz) gold.
The composition of the gold versions is the same as the British Gold Sovereign coin, being 22-carat gold alloyed with copper (91.67% gold, 8.33% copper), making the coins redder in colour compared to other coins alloyed with silver, as well as harder and more resistant to scratches. The coin is heavier than a fiftieth-ounce, so as to have exactly one fiftieth of an ounce actual gold weight (0.020 oz AGW).
Paul Kruger - depicted on the obverse - was affectionately known as "Oom Paul" (uncle Paul), one of the highest designations anyone can be given in South Africa. His portrait was designed long before the Krugerrand was first minted, and was originally used on Boer coins. When the gold finds in Transvaal gave them the opportunity to start minting their own coins, president Kruger requested a law to found a national bank, which also stated that South African money should be modelled after British money. Since the country did not have a mint, they assigned the task of minting the first Zuidafrikaanse Ponde (South African Pond, or Pound) to the Berlin Mint. Thus Berlin medallist Otto Schultz designed them in 1892 and his effigy of Kruger (adapted by by Tommy Sasseen) is still used today.
The reverse of the Krugerrand, designed by Coert Laurens Steynberg in 1967, shows a Springbok antelope, South Africa's national animal.