Cape Town - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has had to step in and calm the fears of concerned South Africans after R5 commemorative circulation coins caused a stir.
"If you receive one of these coins as change, please do not hold on to it. Use it to make a purchase so that the next person can also experience the beauty of the coin," SARB said in a statement on Monday.
"The SARB would like to reiterate that commemorative circulation coins, such as the R5 Griqua Town coin, are ‘normal’ circulation coins that form part of all the other coins already in circulation. These circulation coins, whether ‘normal’ or commemorative, are all worth their face value, which is R5 in the case of the R5 Griqua Town circulation coin."
SARB explained that it issues commemorative circulation coins as part of its currency production function. These coins are issued to commemorate a person or an event that has had a significant impact on society.
"Such coins are always produced in large quantities and are made available and accessible to the public at face value," explained SARB.
For example, the commemorative R5 Nelson Mandela circulation coin that was issued in 2008 to celebrate the former president’s 90th birthday, was and is still worth R5. There could be a buyer willing to pay a higher price to collect such a commemorative circulation coin, but the SARB does not attach a value higher than the face value to such coins.
On the other hand, the SA Mint, a wholly owned subsidiary of the SARB, produces numismatic collector coins covering a wide range of themes, including the Natura coin series and the Krugerrand series.
According to SARB, these are sought after by both domestic and international collectors.
The SA Mint also issues special-edition commemorative coins in limited quantities. These are accessible to collectors who can afford to pay higher prices. Such limited-edition collectors’ coins are usually packaged in capsules and are accompanied by relevant certificates to prove their authenticity.
The value of these coins is set by the collectors’ market and the SARB cannot and does not speculate on this value.
"Interested consumers and collectors alike are encouraged to do their research and shop around to compare prices between dealers before deciding to invest in a coin. Familiarise yourselves with the differences between ‘normal’ circulation coins, commemorative circulation coins and collectors’ coins," advised SARB.
Basic guide to commemorative circulation and collector coins