South Africa pioneered modern bullion coinage when it first issued the Krugerrand on 3 July 1967 to help market South African gold; it is the first modern bullion coin and is still issued today.
Gradually, the South African Mint started diversifying the range, first by issuing fractional Krugerrands, then by introducing different designs. The gold twentieth-ounce (1/20th oz) format is a mini-coin introduced in 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary of the range. The format has been subsequently used for other coins, such as the Natura series. The twentieth-Krugerrands retain their specifications (22-carat gold) while the other coins are 99.99% gold; just as the 1/20 Krugerrand though, they contain exactly one twentieth of an ounce of pure gold or 1/20 oz Absolute Gold Weight (0.050 oz AGW).
This coin features an Euparkeria capensis and is part of the Natura coin series by the South African Mint, which celebrates Africa’s unique natural heritage.
The South African Mint says about it:
"A new chapter in the award-winning Natura series begins with the introduction of palaeontology, in recognition of South Africa’s significance to this field and study of plant and animal fossils. In this first instalment of the palaeontology-themed coins, the focus is Rise of the dinosaurs - Archosauria over the five 24ct gold coins.
The Karoo supergroup of South Africa is one of the geological wonders of the world. This 12 km thick layer of sedimentary rock was set down over a period of almost 120 million years when South Africa was still part of southern Gondwanaland.
The Archosauria - crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and birds - or the ruling reptiles, were magnificent beasts which ruled over the land and sky for 180 million years, from the Triassic to the Cretacecous periods. The Archosauriforms evolved at the end of the Triassic, finally taking over the last enclaves of synapsid domination. The next step of evolution, which saw the rise of the dinosaurs, crocodiles and pterosaurs, was imminent."
Each coin in this series depicts a different Archosauriform together with its scientific name, the word "Natura", the denomination, mass and metal value of the coin.
Euparkerids are Archosauriforms from the Middle Triassic of South Africa, Namibia, Poland and China, and is pictured on the R5, introduced to the range in 2018. Euparkeria capensis, a small active predator, which could at speed run bipedally, had a protective double row of osteoderms along the length of its body like many other Archosauriforms. The size, agility, speed and small sharp teeth of Euparkeria would have made it ideally suited to be an insectivore. Euparkeria was one of the first bipedal vertebrates with their legs longer than their arms, which suggest that they could move around quadropedally, but at times, such as when they were running, they could become facultative bipeds and run on their hind legs. Bipedalism became a very important evolutionary adaptation inherited by the archosaurs, including dinosaurs and birds.
For the creation of the coin, the mint credits: MJ Scheepers (die sinker), F Durand (artist) and RC Stone (designer).