By Ashleigh Brown, journalist, Justmoney
The South African Mint announced the launch of its latest addition to the multi-award winning Natura Series. Its latest collection entitled ‘Nocturnal Hunters’ debuts with The Leopard Coin Collection.
The Natura Series theme began in 1994 and ran with the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and buffalo until 1998. A collectable coin set of the Big Five can sell for R60 000. The series was relaunched in 2011 featuring the Meerkat family. The 2012 coins featured the endangered African painted wolf, also commonly called the “African wild dog”. The zebra was the animal featured on the 2013 coin.
These coins have become some of the most sought after coins, after Krugerrands and Mandela Coins. However, as they are collectable items, their resale value can depreciate due to what is ‘fashionable’ on the market at the time.
“A gold medallion is anything excluding a Krugerrand or a gold bar. Something like an old bullion coin, or Mandela medallion. When you invest in something like that you invest in two things: you invest in the bullion value and you invest in the coin or the medallion’s value – the collector’s value,” said Etienne van Wyk, part of the metals and energy trading group at Rand Merchant Bank.
“People’s tastes and fashions when it comes to coins is so difficult to call, that really when you get into the collectable coin field, unless you really know what you are doing, rather stay out,” said van Wyk.
SA Mint is the only place where the Natura Series coins can be bought. Krugerrands, or Mandela coins can be bought both through the mint and the Scoin shop.
Over the past twenty years, SA Mint has made a significant contribution to the conservation of endangered species by donating a portion of the proceeds raised by the buying of the coins to selected projects.
For the launch of the Leopard Coin Collection, SA Mint partnered with the Cape Leopard Trust, a leading conservation organisation using research and education to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the Western Cape, where the Cape Mountain Leopard is endemic.
SA Mint will donate 3.5% from the sale of the 600 mint marked coins to the Cape Leopard Trust as well as the full amount earned through the online auction sale of coin ‘001/300'.
The donation will be used to expand the trust’s educational outreach programme. Furthermore, this will also allow hundreds more children from poor neighbouring communities to participate in wilderness camps.
The SA Mint is a wholly owned subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb), and operates under the Sarb act which “can coin coins or causes coins to be coined.” Furthermore, Sarb will also buy Natura Series coins off of collectors.
The SA Mint is made up of two divisions: circulation coins (CC) and Numismatics (Nums). “The CC division manufactures the legal tender coins that we use in our everyday transactions, as well as coin blanks, which are sold to customers for minting,” explained the SA Mint website.
The Nums makes coins mainly for the collectors market. These include the world famous Krugerrand, as well as the Natura and Protea Series’ (dedicated to the South African author J.M Coetzee), amongst others.