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 quarter-ounce (1/4 oz) format. The coins are made of Sterling silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper) and are slightly heavier than a quarter ounce, so as to have exactly 0.250 oz ASW (Absolute Silver Weight). They are denominated with a face value of 5 cents.
This coin featuring a Rock Lobster is part of the 2016 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 2016 collection celebrates the beauty and diversity of the MPA within the South-Western Cape Bioregion (West Coast Bioregion) by showcasing its most iconic species.
The West Coast rock lobster is featured on the 5c (quarter-ounce) coin. Rock lobsters cannot be bred in captivity due to their long and complex life cycle. After 80 days, tiny transparent spider-like larvae hatch from the eggs; these moult and become phyllosoma larvae with long hairy legs which drift on the ocean currents for over seven months. They moult 11 times; the final stage is a 20 mm colourless lobster that swims inshore and finds refuge under a rock or a crevice where it continues to grow to maturity.
The 50c (2 oz) coin portrays the eight-tentacled master of camouflage: the common octopus. The iconic great white shark propels itself out of the water on the 20c (1 oz) coin, and the endangered African penguin is portrayed on the 10c (half-ounce) coin.