This month we want to introduce you to the old and the new. If you have ever wondered what South Africa’s most unusual and rarest coin is, this issue will answer your question. And if you are curious about what is new in circulation, continue reading to satisfy that curiosity as well.

South Africa’s rarest and most unusual coin

The popularity of the ‘veld pond’, which literally means ‘field pound’ in Dutch, stems from its interesting historical origins. This history dates back to the Anglo-Boer war between 1899 and 1902, when the two Boer republics were at war with the British Empire that wanted to take control of the recently discovered gold fields of the Transvaal. The Boer troops ran out of resources and money to replenish them, and this at a time when the British had gained possession of the National Mint in Pretoria.

The Boer forces then set up headquarters in the ‘veld’ (long grass) in the little mining village deep in the mountains called Pilgrims’ Rest. A Boer soldier discovered gold in one of the abandoned mines, and after scraping the mine for more, a sufficient quantity of the yellow metal was found to warrant the establishment of a mint. The commanding officer then requested permission from the President of the Transvaal to mint gold coins. This permission was granted, bringing into existence the Field Mint (‘Veld Munt’ in Dutch).

A hand press was improvised and discs of practically 24-carat gold manufactured, from which the famous veld ponde were struck from a single pair of hand-cut dies. The steel dies were engraved with the monogram ZAR (Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek) and the date 1902 beneath, and on the reverse the words ‘Een Pond’ meaning ‘one pound’.

It is unfortunately not clear how many of these rare gold coins where produced, as different sources cite a number between 530 and 968, and no one knows what happened to the dies after the war ended in May 1902. The South African Mint is fortunate to have one of these very rare coins as part of the display in its museum, and we hope to open our doors soon for you to visit and see this special coin in person.

SA25 R2 coin competition: winning coin

Following the success of the 2019 SA25 campaign where we launched a range of five R2 and one R5 commemorative circulation coins as well as three astounding collectible coins in gold, silver and bronze-alloy, we invited the public to enter designs for the reverse side of a new R2 coin, depicting one of the remaining rights from the Bill of Rights, not already commemorated on the previous SA25 coins issued in 2019.

The national competition reached many layman and professionals alike, and we received over 300 entries. The winning design focuses on section 12 of the Bill of Rights, and depicts the ‘right to freedom and security of the person.’It was submitted by Esta Quirk, a senior graphic designer from Pretoria who put her decades of experience in the medal and badge industry to interpret this right, sketching from her own experiences.

The reverse of the coin depicts a mother and daughter, walking freely in nature. The daughter is holding a sunflower, which is magical in its ability to move its head towards the sun and resonant of the resilience, optimism and hopefulness of the youth. The obverse design remains standard and was not part of the competition as, by law, the obverses of all South African legal tender circulation coins feature the national coat of arms.

This beautiful final coin under the SA25 campaign was meant for issue in 2020. However, COVID-19 restrictions and precautionary measures led to its delay. We are, however, extremely proud to announce that the new R2 ‘right to freedom and security of the person’ coin has been released into circulation and you should receive it in your change soon.

A limited edition collectable version of the coin is also available for purchase through our electronic sales order process. Visit our website at for more information on this coin or to place an order.

A little hunting for the kids

Mix something old with something new – take the little ones on an adventure to collect all six commemorative coins in the SA25 circulation coin range. Show them your coins when you return from the shops and see if they can find the SA25 commemorative coins.
Click here for a reminder of what the coins look like.