Collectable metal art: The South African Mint commemorates Nelson Mandela’s centenary

Imagine a hobby that enhances your appreciation of topics as diverse as local heroes, legends, inventions, nature and the environment. One in whose pursuance you never stop learning. The South African Mint, a subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank, prides itself as one of the foremost champions of South African heritage and storytelling that covers all these topics. The Mint is proud of its diverse portfolio of commemorative and collectable coins, and its collaborations with local artists to bring these themes to life.

     The South African Mint produces legal tender circulation coins, investment coins (the world-famous Krugerrand), and also produces a range of limited edition collectable coins in premium precious metals as well as more affordable metal alloys.
     This year, the Mint is paying tribute to Nelson Mandela’s legacy with a range of new coins. 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela, and to commemorate this milestone, the Mint has introduced the perfect gift: beautifully designed collectable coins in bronze, silver, gold and a R5 circulation coin.
     Led by Richard Stone, the product development team at the Mint is in constant pursuit of coin programmes that showcase South Africa’s rich culture and heritage and serve as odes to those who shaped the destiny and direction of the country. The team is responsible for seeing each coin through the rigorous theme conception, coin design and ultimately, Cabinet approval processes.
     In the world of collectable coins, design, or ‘looks’, sells. The South African Mint’s splendidly designed coins boast themes such as South African Inventions which depict the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant and the CAT Scan, among some of the innovations it celebrates (in sterling-silver). The full-colour silver, laser printed coins featuring the birds and flowers of our various biosphere reserves are highly popular among new coin collectors and a definite show-stopper.

     ‘Our products are conversation starters. When you hold one of our coins, you cannot help but share the story,’ Stone says. The themes which inspire the coins’ designs allow for cross-disciplinary collaborations with different industries and artists. The coins are works of art that are increasingly positioned as gift options for a growing consumer base of old and new collectors.
     The Celebrating South Africa series, which was introduced by the Mint in 2017 to commemorate South Africa’s various symbols of freedom, democracy and culture, was one such opportunity that allowed for a collaboration with a local designer. Contemporary illustrator and multi-disciplinary graphic artist, Sindiso Nyoni (aka R!OT), designed the portraits of Nelson Mandela, featured on the 2018 Mandela Centenary coins, as well as the portraits of OR Tambo, featured on the 2017 OR Tambo Centenary coins.
     To read more about how Nyoni’s art was first commissioned for the Mint in 2015 and the 2018 Mandela Centenary coin range, purchase our July 2018 issue, or continue supporting the arts and culture sector by subscribing to our monthly Creative Feel magazine.