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 is part of the Protea coin series by the South African Mint, which celebrates South Africa’s history and culture.
This coin is part of the Life of a Legend - Nelson Mandela series of Protea coinage which was introduced in 2013, representing a different chapter of Nelson Mandela’s life on each year’s coin issue. The 2018 edition features his 27-year incarceration and eventual release.
This R1 sterling-silver coin depicts Nelson Mandela looking through the barred window of his Robben Island prison cell during a visit to the island in 1994, together with an image taken shortly after his release from Victor Verster Prison on 11 February 1990, after 27 years imprisonment. The quotation on the coin reads: "Prison is itself a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all, a test of one’s commitment."
The coin was issued in Brilliant Uncirculated (issue price R 445) and in Proof grade (issue price 545).