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. It had a two-and-a-half-cent denomination, replacing the earlier threepence coin which had the same mass and dimensions. The new coins were 50% silver and retained the reverse design of the threepence created in 1925 by George Kruger Gray, featuring a Protea flower.
The 2 1/2 cents circulating denomination was short-lived though, and was discontinued after 1964 in favour of a new 2 cents coin.
In 1997, the South African Mint started issuing Non-Circulating Legal Tender (NCLT) 2 1/2 cents coins in a new series known - from the flower featuring on the coin - as the Protea coin series; the flower is now on the obverse, and the reverse designs celebrate various aspects of South African heritage and nature. The coins are usually issued in a "Crown and tickey" set (tickey being the nickname of the coin), together with a Crown piece (one ounce silver), with new themes every year.
The composition is Sterling Silver - 92.% silver alloyed with 7.5% copper.
This coin is part of the 2019 Crown and Tickey series of coins featuring the history, invention and development of polymer putty as well as its journey to the moon. Invented by South African George Montague (Monty) Pratley, the world famous Pratley Putty was developed in the 1960’s as an insulator and an adhesive agent for fixing brass terminals which were located inside cast iron cable junction boxes.
This putty was used on the Ranger spacecraft produced and flown to study the moon. This American spacecraft was the first to land on the moon and thus helped lay the groundwork for the successful moon landing and safe return of a human during the NASA Apollo XI mission.
The South African Mint celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with the South African inventions series, focusing on the only South African product to ever go to the moon, Pratley Putty.