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 one-ounce (1 oz) format. These include silver 1 oz Krugerrands, the Protea series, the Natura series, as well as one-year types that do not fall into a particular series. Initially they were made of Sterling silver (92.5%), but this later changed to 99.9% silver; the Sterling versions are overall heavier though, so they also contain exactly one ounce of pure silver or 1oz Absolute Silver Weight (1.000 oz ASW).
This coin featuring a pair of Cape gannets 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 50c (2 oz) coin portrays a pair of Cape gannets (Morus capensis) greeting each other, with a group of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) in the background. The Betty’s Bay MPA and the Bird Island MPA offer protection to many seabirds and the endemic species living in the subtidal habitat.