‘Investors’ in R5 Mandela coins ripped off.

If you have paid thousands of rands for a R5 Mandela coin, which you bought as an investment, you are neither an investor nor a collector. You are a “victim”, Glenn Schoeman, the president of the South African Association of Numismatic Dealers says.

  

A R5 circulation coin commemorating Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday is worth R5. It contains no precious metal and it is not rare. But cunning dealers, exploiting Mandela’s iconic brand, have talked up a market around these coins, which are on sale for anything from a couple of hundred rand to R1 million.

  

“The biggest problem in numismatics [coin collecting] at the moment is the Mandela R5 coin. That’s where the bulk of the rip-off is occurring,” Peter Wilson, the chairman of the National Association of Numismatic Societies, says.

  

“We have been warning the market for some time: there is little that’s rare about the Mandela R5 coin. And, no, it is not an investment,” he says. People have been hoarding the coins since they came into circulation, Wilson says.  

About 22 million R5 Mandela coins were minted in 2008, according to Hlengani Mathebula, the head of group strategy and communications at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). The coins are manufactured by the South African Mint, which is a subsidiary of the SARB. The mintage is confirmed by Hern’s Handbook of SA Coins.

  

“The commemorative Mandela circulation R5 coin that was issued in 2008 to commemorate former president Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday is worth R5, or whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it,” Mathebula says.

Schoeman says the market for Mandela coins has been “created by clever marketing”. 

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