One Cent (1c)
The design of two sparrows on a mimosa branch was drawn by Kruger Gray and was depicted on the farthing from 1923 to 1960 and on the ½ cent between 1961 and 1964. A new design appeared on the 1 cent from 1965 to 1990. With the launch of the new coin series in 1991, a design by William Lumley, based on the Kruger Gray original, was approved for the 1 cent. The Cape Sparrow (Passer Melaniurus) is found throughout South Africa - except in the extreme east - in grasslands, cultivated land and near human habitation. Sparrows breed throughout the year, the incubation period being 12 - 14 days. Their characteristic call is a clear, piercing "chirrup-chirrup" and "chissk". Sparrows on coins During the Anglo-Boer War (1899 -1902) a group of women in the Bethulie concentration camp adopted the following Bible text as their motto for survival:"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father knowing it?" - Matthew 10:29These women vowed that if South Africa ever issued a farthing (1/4 penny), Ha'penny or cent, they would endeavour to have the sparrow - a symbol of faith and hope - depicted on the coin. The women succeeded and since 1923, the sparrow has been portrayed on South Africa's lowest denomination. Note: Production of the 1c coin was stopped in 2002 but it remains legal tender.