One Cent, Steel, Coin Type from South Africa - detailed information

One Cent, Steel, Coin Type from South Africa (issued 1990 - 2001)
Coin TypeOne Cent, Steel

The South African One Cent coin (abbreviated as 1c) was the second 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 one cent approximately replaced the earlier penny coin, which was the most popular denomination of the South African Pound.

The first type of One Cent coins was made of brass; it was replaced by a smaller bronze type in 1965 which was issued until 1989. After that, an even smaller copper-plated steel version was introduced in 1990 and issued until 2001.

The steel coins have a revised reverse with the same theme (two sparrows on a branch) and a revised obverse showing a re-engraved Coat of Arms of South Africa; the legend was bilingual (English and Afrikaans) from 1990 to 1995, then one language only - Zulu in 1996, Ndebele 1997 to 2001. The obverse was updated to the new Coat of Arms of the country in 2001, which was the last year of issue. On 28th March 2002 the South African Reserve Bank announced that it will cease the distribution for circulation of one and two cent coins as of 31st March 2002, citing high production costs - saying that it costs approximately 9 cents to produce a 1 cent South African coin and approximately 11 cents to produce a 2 cent South African coin.

The coins have not been formally demonetised though and are still legal tender throughout the Common Monetary Area, although in practice they do not circulate due to their low value.

South Africa / One Cent, Steel - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin displays the Coat of Arms of South Africa at its centre. Below the Coat of Arms, on the left-hand side, the initials of the engraver: ALS (for Arthur Sutherland).

Around left, the name of the country in English: SOUTH AFRICA; around right, the name in Afrikaans: SUID-AFRIKA.

Below, the date of issue: [year].

Obverse Inscription SOUTH AFRICA * SUID-AFRIKA [year]
South Africa / One Cent, Steel - reverse photo

The reverse shows at its centre two Cape sparrows (Passer melanurus) on a branch. Below the bird on the left, in small letters the initials of the designer WL (for William Lumley).

At centre, the value and denomination 1c (one cent).

Reverse Inscription 1c
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Royal Mint
Royal Mint
One Cent, Steel: Details
CountrySouth Africa
Sub-type ofOne Cent
Face Value1 (x Cent)
CurrentNo; withdrawn 2002
MaterialCopper-plated Steel
DesignerWilliam Lumley, Arthur Sutherland
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size15.0000 mm
Thickness1.3000 mm
Mass1.5000 g