THE RISE, FALL AND RISE OF KRUGERRANDS AND PROOF KRUGERRANDS
01
Jan 2019

In 1967 – some fifty years ago gold was trading at $35/oz, a price which was set at Bretton Woods at the end of WW2 in 1945. The SA Mint produced the 1st 1oz gold bullion Krugerrand coin in 22 carat gold as well as proof Krugerrands in 1967 and has been selling them ever since. The Rand price of Krugerrands was R27,50. The Rand bought you $1,30 - in those days compared to 7c today. It took many years before the Krugerrand started to gain traction internationally and more and more Krugerrands were minted each year. Proof Krugerrands, high quality limited-edition coins, with low mintages were also minted every year - which were bought by collectors.

1974 saw an increasing gold price. Krugerrands and Proof Krugerrands values were increasing at the same time. President Nixon allowed US citizens to start buying gold bullion coins, some 41 years after President Roosevelt banned Americans from holding gold in 1933. In 1974 OPEC started putting quotas on oil exports and this led to increased oil prices, which led to recession and a further rise in the gold price. By 1980 gold had reached $800 /0z the year in which Russia invaded Afghanistan.

The demand for Krugerrands had taken off and after thirteen years was the leading gold bullion coin in the world, with tons of millions sold. The price was so high that the South African mint started to make the first half, quarter and tenth coins as the 1 oz coins were expensive and unaffordable to the man in the street. Not only were proof Krugerrands gaining more traction as a collectable coin locally and internationally, but prices and the premium over the bullion coin was starting to widen as demand was increasing for these low mintage coins.

The South African Mint produced the first fractional proof Krugerrand with a mintage of 60 at an issue price of R1000 and is today worth R150,000 because of its rarity. The highpoint of gold in 1980 brought even more buyers into the market, but the gold price started to decline until it hit a low point of $225/oz in 1992. Another challenge for Krugerrands, which sold 6 million in 1986, was the sanctions on SA in that year by the US, the biggest buyer of Krugerrands. This had a huge impact on exports and this led to the decline of Krugerrand sales not only in the US, but worldwide.