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The Krugerrand – South Africa's most famous export

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The Krugerrand is perhaps South Africa's most famous export. South Africa's gold built the only modern industrial complex in Africa, which to this day accounts for 25% of Africa's economic output. The South African economy has been built on the gold exported from the mines, and the symbol of the gold industry is the Krugerrand, a coin originally minted in 'pure gold' and weighing 1oz. The obverse of the coin features the coin's namesake – President Kruger.

The Krugerrand is legal tender in South Africa, and as a result, doesn't need to be assayed or melted down on resale (unlike gold bars). The Krugerrand is the most widely held gold bullion coin in the world: there are more Krugerrand in circulation than all the other gold bullion coins combined. Unlike collector coins, where value is determined by their rarity and condition, Krugerrands are valued for their gold content: at any time, the value of a Krugerrand can easily be determined based on the gold price.

Commonly thought to be made of 'pure gold', the Krugerrand is actually 22 carat gold -- 11-parts 24-carat-gold and 1-part copper (91.67% gold). Copper is added in the minting process to increase the durability of the coins, as pure gold coins and bars are easily damaged, bent and scratched, and therefore require protective packaging.

The original 1oz Krugerrand weighs 34.93g (1.123 troy ounces), and contains 31.103g (1.000oz) of gold (91.67% gold), with the remainder being copper. Since 1980, Krugerrand have also been available in 1/2oz, 1/4oz and 1/10oz denominations.

President Kruger

Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger, known as Paul Kruger or Oom Paul ("Uncle Paul" in Afrikaans) was born on 10 October 1825 in the Cape Colony. Kruger was a lifelong campaigner for Afrikaner interests. His life was shaped by the events which shaped the Afrikaner nation itself — his parents made the Great Trek into the north of South Africa, and Kruger himself dedicated his life to the Boer (Afrikaners), eventually becoming president of the South African Republic, an independent Afrikaner republic (also known as the Transvaal Republic, not to be confused with the Republic of South Africa). Kruger was the republic's president from 1883 until his exile in 1900, during the Boer War.

The Boer War (1899-1902) saw the end of the independence of the Transvaal and of the Orange Free State (the other independent Afrikaner republic), and President Kruger was forced into exile in The Netherlands. He campaigned tirelessly for European nations to support the Afrikaners, but died on 14 July, 1904 in Clarens, Switzerland. He was buried in The Hague, Netherlands, but was reburied in Pretoria on 6 December, 1904. President Kruger is widely regarded as the father of Afrikaner nationalism.

The first Krugerrand were minted in 1967. The reverse of the coin features a springbok and the description (in Afrikaans and English) - "Fyngoud 1oz Fine Gold".

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