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 One Rand coin was initially a gold bullion coin equal to the earlier gold half pound, which was itself equal to a British half sovereign (minted, among others, at the Pretoria branch of the Royal Mint - now the South African Mint, until 1932).
Silver One Rand coins started to be issued for regular circulation in 1965 - including some 0.800 silver commemoratives. This was then changed to nickel in 1977, with silver only used for commemorative and collector issues. The commemorative coinage was continued by the sterling silver Protea One Rand series. These coins are made of Sterling Silver (92.5% silver alloyed with 7.5% copper) and are slightly smaller than a half ounce (0.4461 oz ASW, or Absolute Silver Weight).
The coins of the range celebrate various aspects of South Africa's history, culture and nature.
This coin was issued as part of the 2016 Protea - Life of a Legend (Justice) coin series, which continues a series of commemorative coins, "The life of a legend: Nelson Mandela". Introduced in 2013, a different chapter of Mr Mandela’s life is portrayed annually (his childhood in 2013, his education years in 2014 and his arrival and early years in Johannesburg in 2015). In 2016, the series focuses on Nelson Mandela as a young attorney and the concept of justice.
The Freedom Charter, adopted at the Congress of the People held in Kliptown on 26 June 1955, was a statement of core principles which called for democracy and human rights, land reform, labour rights, nationalisation and a non-racial South Africa. Many of the demands listed in the Freedom Charter were included in the 1996 Constitution of South Africa (the charter was commemorated on a silver R1 coin in 2017). The year 2016 also marks the 20th anniversary of the approval of the Constitution.
Nelson Mandela achieved his goal of becoming an independent practising attorney when, in August 1952, he and Oliver Tambo became business partners and opened "Mandela & Tambo Attorneys" in Chancellor House. This was the first African law firm in South Africa and represented clients from all over the country. It was during this time that Mr Mandela became increasingly active within the African National Congress (ANC), fighting segregationist and discriminatory laws. The sterling-silver R1 Protea coin represents the seven fundamental values of the Constitution of South Africa.
The coin was issued in Brilliant Uncirculated and in Proof grade.