|Coin Type||Two and a Half Cents|
The Rand currency 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 First Decimal Coinage had a two-and-a-half-cent denomination replacing the pre-decimal threepence coin which had the same mass and dimensions. The new coins were 50% silver and retained the dimensions and reverse design of the threepence created in 1925 by George Kruger Gray, featuring a Protea flower.
The 2 1/2 cents were short-lived as a circulating denomination though; the coin was discontinued after 1964 when the second decimal coinage was introduced, in favour of a new 2 cents coin.
In 1997, the South African Mint started issuing Non-Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT) 2 1/2 cents coins in a new series known - from the flower featuring on the coin - as the Protea coin series, issued in a "Crown and Tickey" set (tickey being the nickname of the coin), together with a Crown piece (one ounce silver), with new themes every year.
The obverse of the coin 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.
||EENDRAG MAAK MAG * UNITY IS STRENGTH *
At centre, a king protea flower in bloom. To the right of the base of it's stem, the designer's initials KG (for George Kruger Gray).
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 * 2½ c. * (Two and a Half Cents).
||SUID-AFRIKA · [year] · SOUTH AFRICA * 2½ 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.