All South African coins are minted on combinations of base metals and alloys and can be differentiated from one another by their size, dominant colour, theme on the reverse, and the ridges, rims and serrations on their edges.
The 10c coin features the Cape honey bee, which is indigenous to Southern Africa. The bee plays a vital role in South Africa's agriculture and agricultural economy by pollinating crops and producing honey.
The Arum Lily is a distinguished southern African flower. It originally appeared on the 50c coins from 1965-1989. From 1990 onwards it was featured on the 10c coins as part of the country’s 3rd decimal series. In 2012 the plating on the 10c coin was changed from bronze to copper, giving it a reddish appearance.
The King Protea, South Africa’s national flower, first appeared on the tickey and sixpence from 1925 to 1960 and again in the 1st decimal series (1961-1964) on the 2½c and 5c. The Protea was chosen for the reverse of the 20c in the 2nd series (1965-1989) and 3rd coin series.
The Strelitzia (Crane Flower or Bird-Of-Paradise Flower) first appeared together with the Arum Lily and Blue Agapanthus on the 50c coin (1965-1990) as part of the 2nd decimal series, and alone on the 50c in the 3rd series.
The R1 features the king protea, the national flower of South Africa. It is a distinctive member of the protea family, known for its large flower head. The king protea is not only a symbol of South Africa's natural beauty, but it is also used as an emblem by our national sports teams, including cricket and netball.
The Springbok, South Africa’s national animal, was first depicted on the silver crown coins from 1947-1951 and 1953-1959. The Springbok was once again chosen for the reverse of the silver 50c (1961-1964), the gold £1 and gold £½ (1952-1960) and the gold R1 and R2 (1961-1964). It was again depicted on the 50c from 1960-1964. From 1977 to 1990, the Springbok appeared on the R1 nickel coins and from 1990 to date, on the smaller R1 in the 3rd series. The Springbok is also depicted on the reverse of our world-renowned Krugerrand.
The R2 denomination features the springbok, which is the national animal of South Africa and is predominantly found in southern and southwestern Africa. It is also the nickname of our national rugby team.
The R5 denomination features the southern right whale, which can be found throughout the southern part of the southern hemisphere. During the winter months in the southern hemisphere, these whales migrate to the coastal waters of South Africa, with more than 100 of them known to be in the Hermanus area. They are considered endangered.
Click here to learn more about The history of banknotes and coin in South Africa.