South African Coins Buying Guide

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South African Coins Buying Guide

South African coins are considered to be tremendously collectable in the wider scope of the coin-collecting domain. Coins of a collectable nature from South Africa come in a number forms. Lesser collectable coins can be purchased to form an extensive collection that can be of value due its volume. There are also limited edition coins, proof sets of coins and gold and silver bullion coins available to purchase.

eBay is home to both circulated coins used as legal tender that can be acquired for souvenir purposes. It is also a place where uncirculated South African coins in mint condition can be purchased. It is worth noting that a specialist gold bullion coin from South Africa once accounted for 90% of the world’s gold bullion coin market. This should give an indication as to the popularity and collectability of South African coins.

This guide is written with the intention of taking potential buyers through the ins and outs of the spectrum of South African coins that are available on auction sites like eBay.

Proof Sets of South African Coins

Proof sets are one of the many ways that South African coins can be purchased. By definition, proof coins are those released by governments as premature tasters of coins that are going to be released as legal tender throughout the next year.

  • They are of a special condition as their minting process is performed in an entirely different manner to regular, circulated coins.
  • A dye is created by the coin minter that is unique to the specific minting process of proof coins. This finish can be recognised by its shiny and glazed exterior.
  • Furthermore, during the minting process a special coin stamper is used. This stamper hits the coin more than once, usually two or three times. This makes the detail on the coin unique and exclusive in its intricacy.


Proof sets of coins come in a number of specific metals. Generally it is just silver and gold coins that are made but platinum and palladium coins do make a rare appearance on the likes of eBay. But these tend to be of a high price.

Here are the metal groupings for South African proof sets of coins:



The most commonly purchased proof set of gold South African coins is those that comprise of the 1 Rand coin and the 2 Rand coin. These proof sets of coins can be of high value, depending on the year of their minting.


Exclusively silver coin proof sets can also be found at reasonable prices. Whilst they are not as valuable and investment worthy as those that contain solely gold proof coins, they are still considered to be collectable and appreciate in value as time goes on.


There are also proof sets of South African coins that contain differing combinations of silver, gold and bronze-plated steel, such as the 50-cent coin. These do not fetch as high prices as proof sets that contain wholly silver or gold coins but are still have a collectable and sentimental value.

Proof coins can also be purchased individually. These can be bought as one-offs or as a means of completing a proof set without purchasing all the coins in one sitting. The majority of South African proof coins can be purchased in isolation and can be found on eBay for affordable and sensible prices that can occasionally undercut the coins worth if it was purchased as part of a set.

South African Bullion Coins

  • Bullion is a form of storing silver and gold in bulk form. It is widely available in the form of coins. These coins can serve as investments against economic turmoil.
  • This is because the prices of silver and gold, whilst changing slightly everyday, remain pretty much constant in comparison to the worth of currency used as legal tender.
  • Whilst the value of the dollar or the pound may fluctuate enormously in reaction to economic disturbances, gold and silver bullion coins maintain their value. This is because they are made with close to a 100% fineness of silver or gold.

South African Gold Bullion Coins

  • There is one type of gold bullion coin from South Africa that is considered to be one of the most collectable coins in the world. It is known as the Krugerrand. Being a South African coin, the Krugerrand features the national animal of the country, the Springbok on one side.
  • A portrayal of Paul Kruger, the South African President at the time of the Krugerrand’s minting, is on the other. This is also whom the coin was named after. Krugerrand’s are 24 carat gold.
  • As mentioned earlier in the guide, it was this South African coin that took up 90% of gold bullion coins available for purchase around the world. Krugerrands are readily available from eBay and can be purchased in fantastic condition. 1 and 2 Rand coins are also available in the form of gold bullion but feature a lot less prominently in the South African bullion coin market.

South African Silver Bullion Coins

Silver bullion coins from South Africa are nowhere near as popularly collected or purchased as those made from gold. However, there are some that can be found.

South African Currency Coins

There is also a popular market for the collection and purchase of standardised and circulated South African currency.

The South African Pound

Before 1961, South Africa used the Pound as its national currency. Coins of this denomination are very collectable and popular amongst collectors of colonial souvenirs. The reason South Africa used the Pound was due to the fact that it was owned by Britain at the time.

Therefore, other denominations of sterling were used and therefore are available for purchase to enhance collections. Shilling, Penny, and Sovereign coins (as well as their various denominations) can all be found on eBay at a varying degree of condition and age.

The South African Rand

From 1961 onwards, South Africa changed its currency to the Rand. The Rand is split up between the Rand coin and the Cent coin. Here is a breakdown of the various changes that have occurred amongst denominations of the Rand to help buyers to understand what coins from this era may be worth buying:




In this year the half cent coin was discontinued. They are rare to find online but can be found.


In 1989 a 5 Rand coin was added to the South African currency. 5 Rand coins from this era can be highly collectable.


2002 saw the ceasing in minting of 1 cent and 2 cent coin. They are still legal tender but are very rarely used.


New 5 Rand coin added. In 2004 a new 5 Rand coin was put into circulation. Limited edition versions of this coin can be investment worthy.


2012 saw the discontinuation of the 5-cent coin. However, the collection of these is rare.

Buying South African Coins Online

  • There are a lot of options and things to consider for buyers who wish to purchase South African coins online. One of the most prominent is the problem of coin condition.
  • A good way round being short-changed when buying South African coins is by reading up on the different grading systems that apply to certain coins. Specialist coin collecting forums and blogs often provide thorough information on what to look out for in terms of coin condition when purchasing coins online. The collectors and experts who run these sites are usually open to questions so if any questions arise then enquiring may be a wise idea.
  • Also use these sites, as well as specialist South African coin seller retailers, to assess the prices available on the market in order to be able to spot an opportunity for a bargain elsewhere.

Buying South African Coins on eBay

The bargains mentioned above can be found on auction sites such as eBay. These opportunities to purchase South African coins at more rational prices than elsewhere can come in the form of a Bid that can be placed. However, it is a wise idea to set a bidding limit so as to ensure that the transaction does not turn from a bargain to paying over the odds for an item.

  • If bidding is not a preferred option or a quick sale is desired, one can always make use of the Buy It Now option if it made available buy the seller. This or putting in a Best Offer are great ways of buying products off eBay efficiently without getting into a bidding war.
  • To get to this stage of the buying process, find the Coins section on eBay. Whilst in this category, use the filter tabs on the left hand side of the site to narrow the search down to World Coins and then choose the South Africa tab. The listings from here on should purely be coins from South Africa. Make use of the keyword search bar, also to specify the search even further to requirement.
  • Make sure that the seller one is buying from is reputable by thoroughly dissecting their previous sales history. Also check their description of the coin or coins. If it appears knowledgeable and the seller has sold products of the same nature before then using them is recommended. If anything is unclear either in the product description or with the images that should be provided by the seller, then more often that not they can be contacted directly. Visit the Buying Tips page on eBay if the buying process becomes complicated.
  • Be aware of eBay and PayPal’s Terms and Conditions before finalising a transaction.


When buying South African coins, whether they are proof, bullion or circulated tender, their condition is the deciding factor in their overall value. Being well read on the conditioning of coins is the most preeminent system of either getting South African coins inexpensively and sensibly or paying too much for them. Just as much as the likes of gold bullion and proof South African coins are collected, buyers also like to purchase lesser-valued coins for nostalgic, sentimental reasons or as souvenirs. Either way, auction sites akin to eBay provide ample opportunity for buyers of all tastes and requirements.

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