A Brief Look at Union Coins

Also known as the Sterling South African series, Union coins are highly sought after and represent those minted between 1923 and 1964.

Perhaps more commonly known as the Sterling South African series, Union coins represent those minted between 1923 and 1964. What many new coin collectors/investors don’t realize is that fine specimen coins from this period have become exceptionally rare.

Most South African rare coins are considered rare because they generally fall into one of two categories. The first is that they are part of a series with a low mintage figure. This was common right up to the early 1900’s, when coins were struck for individual colonies (as opposed to the entire country) that later became provinces of South Africa. Once this happened, their rarity factor automatically increased. Add to this the relatively few specimens that remain in good to fine condition and the rarity factor increases further.

The second category that rare coins might fall into is that of Union coins, which traditionally had very high mintage figures because by that time coins were being produced for the entire country, not only individual colonies. Here is the interesting part. According to some sources, more than 75% of all silver coins (excluding the three pence and 2½ cents) minted between 1923 and 1964 were smelted around half a century ago. Unfortunately, only the figures of the total number of coins smelted from this time are available, and we don’t know (and may never find out) the precise number of coins smelted for each year and/or denomination.  However, if the above statistics are anything to go by, and knowing that an estimated 75% of all Union coins have been smelted, you would be wise to keep your eyes open for any particularly fine, graded specimens that come up for private sale or auction.

Did you know that South Africa’s second rarest coin (next to the Single 9) is a Union coin? It is the 1928 ¼ Penny proof which has an official mintage of only 4 pieces.

If you own any Union coins that you would like to have officially graded or would like to find out more about, contact South Cape Coins
Are you thinking of a particular Union coin that you would like to add to your collection? Why not have a look and see what rare Union coins South Cape coins currently have for sale?

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