25 January 2018

South Africa: Mandela Centenary Coin Unveiled

Photo: South African Mint
The design of the new R5 coin, commemorating the centenary of Nelson Mandela. The coin was issued as legal tender in South Africa in January 2018.

South Africa celebrates the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela throughout 2018; the commemoration begins this month with the announcement of a new design for the R5 coin that celebrates the life and work of Madiba.

The design of the new R5 coin, commemorating the centenary of Nelson Mandela. The coin was issued as legal tender in South Africa in January 2018. (Image: South African Mint)

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba authorised the new coin for national circulation on 19 January 2018.

The coin features a portrait of Mandela, with the years 1918 and 2018 engraved alongside new decorative security features. The flip side features the South African coat of arms, replacing the usual wildebeest design on the original R5 coin. This side also features the words "South Africa" in English and isiXhosa.

Since 1996, all South African coins have borne one of the country's 11 official languages on a rotational basis.

The original R5 coin was introduced as legal tender in 1994, commemorating Mandela's inauguration as South Africa's first democratically elected president.

Another dedicatory coin was minted in 2008 in celebration of Mandela's 90th birthday.

The design of the new R5 coin, commemorating the centenary of Nelson Mandela. The coin was issued as legal tender in South Africa in January 2018. (Image: South African Mint)

In a statement announcing the minting of the 2018 coin, the Reserve Bank of South Africa advised that it was national legal tender and, while it may hold a special personal value to all South Africans, it would not increase in value if stockpiled by collectors.

The Bank encouraged South Africans to use the coin: "If you receive one of these coins as change, please do not hold on to it. Use it to make a purchase so that the next person can also experience [its] beauty." It added: "[While] there could be a buyer willing to pay a higher price to collect [the] commemorative circulation coin, the Reserve Bank does not attach a value higher than the face value to such coins."

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