Is it legal to sell this coin?
There has been much debate around the legality of the trading of the 2008 Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday bi-metallic 5 Rand Coin. To clarify, there is no law that exists in South Africa that permits citizens to sell coins or currency for more than their face value.
Where some sellers have encountered problems is that they have used images of Nelson Mandela to market the coin. The unauthorised use of images to market the coin can be interpreted as an endorsement – and this is where the problem lies – not in the sale of the coin. The Nelson Mandela Foundation has made it clear that they do not condone the unauthorised use of Nelson Mandela image.
If the coin is not made of gold or silver, why is it worth so much?
Many people have questioned the logic of paying up to R7000 ($697) for a coin with a mere face value of R5 ($0.50).
An obvious factor is that the market is dominated by supply and demand. The coin was only supplied in limited amount to local banks in South Africa. The SA Mint did not include the coin in any coin set.
If five million coins were minted – surely an individual coin should be worth less?
Technically, this does seem logical. A coins value is based on it’s condition – but due to the actual minting process – not all the coins minted are created equal.
By examining a selection of the 2008 Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday bi-metallic 5 Rand coins, these errors are quite obvious.
These errors include weak strike, cracked and misaligned dies as well as common errors associated with the manufacture of bi-mettallic coins – such as planchet and kernel faults.
Therefore, the inconsistent minting coupled with the fact that the coin is a circulation coin, results in a lower percentage of coins that are able to achieve a higher grade and therefore a higher price. The minting inconsistencies are revealed when you examine the amounts of coins that have been submitted for grading.
Why was the coin not marketed by the SA Mint?
When you take into consideration the popularity of circulation coins featuring Mandela, it does pose the question of why the SA Mint did not adopt any marketing strategy.
At the launch of the coin in July, the Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni, was quoted as saying, “Do use it to buy goods and services”.
Surely, it was very naïve for the South African Reserve Bank and the SA Mint to think that everyone would sit back and gleefully spend this coin in everyday transactions.
It could of course be part of Tito Mboweni’s economic policy to decrease inflation as mass hoarding of currency could technically cause deflation.
As the SA Mint receives direct instruction from the Reserve Bank to mint coins, another (more plausible) reason for the lack of marketing could be simply that the SA Mint did not receive much advance warning from the Reserve Bank.
How much is my Nelson Mandela 90th Birthday bi-metallic 5 Rand coin worth?
This depends entirely on the condition/grade of the coin. An uncirculated coin direct from a bank could probably be worth anything from R5 to R90. ($0.50 – $9)
A graded coin can be worth anything from R80 – R7000 ($7.69 – $697.12)
What is a graded coin? Why do they sell for more?
When assessing the condition of a coin, the seller could exaggerate. One way to overcome this impartiality is to have the coin graded by a coin grading company, such as NGC, PCGS and ANACS. These companies are considered to be consistent, trustworthy and safe.
A grading company will asses the coin’s condition and assign a grade to it. The coin will then be encapsulated in a tamper proof plastic slab to protect its condition – provided that it is stored properly – e.g. away from heat and moisture.
Graded versions of the coin can achieve much higher prices – as a NGC, PCGS or ANACS grade is considered to be a guarantee of the coins’ condition. With most coins, higher grades are considered to be more rare that those with lower grades. It is also possible to view the amount of coins that have been submitted for grading.
Based on a survey of NGC graded coins that have been sold on bidorbuy, as well as the current NGC coin population, the following values can be used as guideline amounts for graded 90th Birthday 5 Rand coins:
Grade Price (USD)
MS62 $ 7.69
MS63 $ 18.27
MS64 $ 22.55
MS65 $ 36.22
MS66 $ 68.93
MS67 $ 282.85
MS68 $ 697.12
Note: Out of 8000+ coins that have been submitted for grading at NGC, only 2 have achieved a MS68 grade. This can be contributed to the fact that the coin was only issued as a circulation coin and not as part of any official set and as such a large percentage of the coins are therefore damaged from being processed.
Where can I “cash in” my Mandela coins?
You can’t “cash in” a Mandela coin… as it’s a circulation coin, so it’s technically worth it’s face value – 5 Rand.
As previously discussed in the sections above, the value of the coin is determined by its scarcity. Since a large percentage of these coins are bought and sold by collectors, the price is also determined by how much these collectors are prepared to pay.
Where can I sell or buy coins?
There is a thriving market in South Africa as well as internationally. A large amount of Mandela coins are bought and sold by collectors on bidorbuy, a South African auction site.