South African Mint celebrates the 50th anniversary of NASA’s ground-breaking Apollo program.

Centurion, South Africa – 19 July 2019: The South African Mint celebrates the 50th anniversary of NASA’s ground-breaking Apollo program with the addition of a limited-edition coin set made up of the R1 Krugerrand bearing a Ranger 9 privy mark, and a R2 sterling-silver crown. Only 500 units of this special set will be minted, adding to the existing 2019 South African Inventions Crown and Tickey coin range.
The world famous polymer putty, known as Pratley Putty, was invented by George Montague (Monty) Pratley who was assisted by chemist Frank Robinson. The polymer putty was developed in the 1960’s as an insulator and an adhesive agent for fixing brass terminals which were located inside cast iron cable junction boxes, but was subsequently introduced to the South African market as Pratley Plastic Putty.

This putty was used on the Ranger 9 spacecraft, the last of a series of unmanned spacecraft developed to probe the moon, in preparation for manned missions to the moon. This American spacecraft was the first to land and capture photographs of the moon, thus helping to lay the groundwork for the successful moon landing and safe return of the NASA Apollo XI mission.
The ‘South African Inventions’ theme was introduced on the Crown and Tickey coin series in 2016, to highlight globally relevant inventions and firsts by South Africans. The dolos was the first invention to be featured, followed by the first successful human-to-human heart transplant in 2017, and the Computed Tomography or CT scan in 2018.

The series consists of a R2 1oz crown which depicts the earth as seen from a vantage point above the moon, from an angle that clearly displays the continent of Africa, with South Africa prominently in the foreground. The Apollo 11 module and the lunar lander are also both depicted on the reverse (tails) of the coin, along with the dates 1964 and 1965 (the years of the Ranger missions), 1969 (the year of the first moon landing) and 2019 (the year in which the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing will be commemorated).

Also part of the set is the 2½ cent tickey, which also depicts the Ranger spacecraft (which crashed on the moon) along with the initials ‘GMP’ in acknowledgement of the inventor of polymer putty, George Montague Pratley. A circular recess is seen on the Crown which is included to facilitate the integration of the Tickey.

The collectable coins are available from the South African Mint’s retail store in Centurion, at Elegance Jewellers in Melrose Arch as well as the True Story stores located at the Sandton City Mall, at the OR Tambo International Airport and at the Cape Town International Airport. They are also available from our authorised dealers, or South African Mint hosted pop up stores in malls across the country. Authorised dealer details can be found on, and on the following social media platforms:

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