In recent months much has been said about the low value of the Rand. With all the talk about a possible downgrade by ratings agencies, to the ripple effects caused by the firing of the finance minister in 2015, the Rand has become a depressing subject.
There’s an extensive behind the currency, which most South Africans aren’t very aware of.
The launch of the new R5 coin has changed this however.
The fourth commemorative R5 coin was issued by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) earlier in 2016. The coin represents the first South African decimal coinage and the first South African currency. It also commemorates the world’s first Christian Missionary coinage.
The coin commemorates Griqua Town, in the Northern Cape Province and its contribution to coinage in South Africa. Only five million of the new R5 coins were distributed in commemoration of 200 years of coinage in South Africa.
Griqua Town, 168 kilometres north of Kimberley, was the first town to be established north of the Orange River. The town was an important point for commerce throughout the history of the country.
The Griqua currency became the first South African currency in 1815, according to the SARB.
The new R5 coin has a bronze-coloured centre and a silver-coloured border.
Currently in normal circulation, no new security features have been added. On the face of the coin an image of the 1815 Griqua Town coin can be seen, along with the words “Coinage of Griqua Town 200”. On the reverse side, “1815-2015” can be seen.
For coin collectors, the South African Mint, which is a subsidiary of the SARB, has issued special Griqua Town Coin Sets which include non-circulation coins. The sets include R2 silver crowns, R2 gold coins and R5 regular circulation coins.
The sets are available at the mint in Centurion, Gauteng.