First of the 2016s

Today’s coin post is about something more mundane – contemporary coinage.

A few days ago I received my first 2016-dated South African coin in change. It is a perfect 20 Cent coin which I saw being poured out of a bank bag, so it would count as “Uncirculated”.

southafrica_20cents_2016_obv southafrica_20cents_2016_rev

It is quite unusual to find 2016 coins in circulation in the Western Cape this early in the year. They usually start emerging in December.

The reverse of the 20 Cent coin depicts the King Protea (Protea cynaroides), and 20 Cent coins have depicted this flower since 1965. Before that it appeared on the 3 Pence (“tickey”) and 6 Pence coin from 1925 until 1960, and then on the 2 1/2 and 5 Cent coins from 1961 to 1964. It also appears on, and gives its name to, the Protea silver bullion coinage produced by the SA Mint since 1991.

This makes the King Protea, which is our national flower, the most depicted motif of all time on South African coinage. No King, Queen, Springbok, VOC employee, or coat of arms come close.

(Also published on Facebook.)