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

Twenty Cents, Silver, Coin Type from South Africa (issued 1961 - 1964)
Coin TypeTwenty Cents, Silver

The South African Twenty Cents coin (abbreviated as 20c) 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 two shillings coin, retaining its design, dimensions and metal content.

This silver version of the Twenty Cents was only issued for four years though. In 1965, the Second Decimal Series was introduced, in which the Twenty 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 / Twenty 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 UNITY IS STRENGTH in English; separated from that by two decorative rosettes, around right the same in Afrikaans: EENDRAG MAAK MAG.

South Africa / Twenty Cents, Silver - reverse photo

The reverse design of the coin continues the original reverse of the pre-decimal two shillings and shows at its centre the shield of the Coat of Arms of South Africa, without the crest and supporters. The shield is quartered, and each quarter is a symbol of one of the four provinces of South Africa at the time the shield was granted by King George V in 1910. An ox wagon represents Transvaal Province, a woman with an anchor represents Cape Province, two wildebeests represent Natal Province and an orange tree represents the Orange Free State Province.

Below the shield, divided by its tip, the designer's initials KG (for George Kruger Gray).

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

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

Around below, flanked by two rosettes, the value and denomination * 20 c. * (Twenty Cents).

Reverse Inscription SOUTH AFRICA + [year] + SUID-AFRIKA * 20 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 one-ounce silver bullion coins denominated as 20 cents in face value.

Royal Mint
Royal Mint
Twenty Cents, Silver: Details
CountrySouth Africa
Sub-type ofTwenty Cents
Face Value20 (x Cent)
CurrentNo; withdrawn 1965
Material0.500 Silver
DesignerGeorge Kruger Gray, Willie Myburg
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
OrientationMedal Alignment (Axis 0)
Size28.7000 mm
Thickness2.4000 mm
Mass11.3100 g