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 and metals, such as a silver half-ounce (1/2 oz) format. The coins are made of Sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper) and are slightly heavier than half ounce, so as to have exactly 0.500 oz ASW (Absolute Silver Weight). They are denominated with a face value of 10 cents.
This coin featuring a Cape Fur Seal is part of the 2015 Marine Protected Areas coin series by the South African Mint, consisting of four sterling-silver bullion coins of different sizes, with composition of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
South Africa has an intricate network of marine protected areas (MPAs), designed to conserve the country’s offshore biodiversity. To this end, the South African Mint created the Marine Protected Areas collectable coin series in 2013.
The 2015 collection celebrates the beauty and diversity of the MPA within the Agulhas bioregion by showcasing its most iconic species.
The 10c (1/2 oz) coin portrays a Cape or South African fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus). Unlike the mother’s golden-brown colouring, the pup has a black velvety coat. Its distinctive call and scent enable the mother to find it when she returns to the breeding colony after a foraging trip. The pup is dependent on its mother for about 10 months while it learns to forage and hunt on its own.