Opinion

The new collectable R25 coin is not a belated April fools joke

This might sound like the makings of an April fools joke, and amusing comments have already begun circulating since finance minister Tito Mboweni finalised the designs for the 2020 silver Kruger Rand and the R25 Natura Series collectible coin on Friday.

A new R25 coin featuring a dinosaur will begin circulation in 2020.

For those who were unaware, The South African Mint launched its five-coin Natura Palaeontology Collection in September last year, made from 24 carat gold and bearing the Archosauria (or rise of the dinosaurs) which consists of crocodiles, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and birds which are said to have roamed Southern African around 200-million years ago.

The SA Mint, which is a subsidiary of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), announced that their first ever Natura coin in fine silver will follow the same theme , recognising the country’s significance in the study of plant and animal fossils.

The collectable coin will feature the Coelophysis rhodensiensis which is a two-legged carnivorous vertibrate who grew to only three metres tall, weighted around 32kg and preyed on small animals.  It is thought to have inhabited South African and Zimbabwe toward the early part of the Jurassic period.

Mboweni declared the 1 ounce fine silver coin will be considered legal tender from January 1, 2020 and worth R25.  The coin will be limited with 50,000 prints.

SA Mints MD, Tumi Tsehlo said that silver is affordable and the finish and sheen that can be achieved makes it appealing, which means they can bring more hobbyists into the fold.

While it is unclear to palaeontologists as to which ancestor of the dinosaurs is archosaurs, it is well known that the Karoo basin in South Africa has provided much historical record of the end-Permian (252-million years ago) and the end-Triassic (200-million years ago).

The obverse of the coin will bear the fossilised skull, neck and shoulder of an Erythrosuchus Africanus