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South African Gold Krugerrands

Jon R. Warren
One Ounce of Gold
The South African Chamber of Mines had an inspired idea to help market South African gold. It was to issue a one ounce bullion coin, to be sold at a very low premium over the intrinsic gold value.

Back in 1967
Krugerrands were first minted and issued in 1967, and have been produced every year since. They have legal tender status in South Africa, which allowed them to be imported into many, but not all, countries without import taxes, duty or VAT.

The Krugerrand Family
Originally only one size was issued, which contained one full troy ounce (31.1035 grams) of fine gold. This was originally known as a Krugerrand, or Kruger, for short. From 1980, three other sizes were introduced, namely a half, quarter, and tenth ounce size. Because of these, the original Krugerrand is sometimes referred to as a "full" or "one ounce" Kruger or Krugerrand, although within the trade, the word Kruger or Krugerrand is understood to be the full sized original one ounce version.

British Investors Missed Out
At the time of the kruger's introduction, it was not legally possible for British residents to acquire bullion gold coins, so that the Krugerrand was almost unknown in Britain until 1971.

Low Premium Over Gold Content
According to the publicity at the time, the Kruger was to be made available to world bullion dealers at a 3% premium over the current gold fix, so that after distribution costs, the coins would be available to investors in quantity at about 4% to 5% over intrinsic gold values, and possibly 10% premium for single pieces.

Higher Premium on Smaller Sizes
The fractional sizes were issued at higher premiums to bullion dealers of 5%, 7%, and 9% respectively. The fractional coins have never been as popular as the full one ounce coins, usually only being purchased as singles, so that in practice, it would usually cost 10% to 15% premium for the half and quarter ounce, and from 20% to 50% premium for the tenth ounce, most of which seem to have been used in jewelry. Most bullion houses do not want the bother of handling small quantities of low value coins

Technical Specifications
The following tables summarize the specifications of all the sizes.
SizeFace ValueWeightFinenessGold Content Gold Content
 RandsGrams/1.000GramsTroy Ounces
SizeRemedy (Grams)Min Diameter (mm)Max Diameter (mm)Min Thick (mm)Max Thick (mm)Edge
1 oz+ 0.0732.6132.772.742.84180
1/2 oz+ 0.03526.9327.072.1152.215150
1/4 oz+ 0.0221.9422.061.7881.888140
1/10 oz+ 0.0116.4516.551.251.35115
Table Notes
We understand "remedy" to mean the excess weight which the coins are designed to have to allow for any manufacturing tolerances.
The 1/12th of the alloy which is not gold, is copper.
Min. = minimum.
Max. = maximum.
Diameter. = diameter.
Thick. = thickness.
Edge = number of edge serrations