|Coin Type||Half Cent, Brass|
The South African Half Cent coin (abbreviated as ½c) was the smallest circulating coin of the Rand currency, which was introduced in the then Union of South Africa on 14 February 1961, shortly before the establishment of the Republic on 31 May 1961. The half cent approximately replaced the earlier half penny coin, which was the second-smallest denomination of the South African Pound.
This first type of Half Cent coins was made of brass and is part of the First Decimal Coinage of South Africa; it was only issued between 1961 and 1964. A smaller bronze type replaced it in 1970, but it was only issued until 1973 for circulation and 1983 for collectors, after which time the denomination was discontinued.
The obverse of the coin, designed by Willie Myburg, 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.
Around right, the motto UNITY IS STRENGTH in English; separated from that by two decorative rosettes, around left the same in Afrikaans: EENDRAG MAAK MAG.
||UNITY IS STRENGTH * EENDRAG MAAK MAG *
The reverse shows at its centre two Cape sparrows (Passer melanurus) on a branch. At the base of the branch, in small letters the initials of the reverse designer KG (for [George] Kruger Gray).
Around right, the name of the country in English: SOUTH AFRICA; around left, the name in Afrikaans: SUID-AFRIKA. Above that, the date · [year] ·.
Below, flanked by two rosettes, the value and denomination * ½ c. * (half cent).
||SUID-AFRIKA · [year] · SOUTH AFRICA * ½ c. *
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.