Reserve Bank launches new banknotes and coins for South Africa

 ·3 May 2023

The South African Reserve Bank has officially launched the country’s latest print and mint of banknotes and coins.

The SARB has upgraded the country’s banknotes and coins with enhanced security features and new designs celebrating the country’s heritage.

“We have added the South African flag, the preamble to our Constitution in micro-lettering and the Big Five depicted as a family. The deep ecology theme of the 4th decimal coin series celebrates our interconnectedness with other living organisms,” the central bank said.

The new coin designs and specifications have been known since they were gazetted at the start of the year – however, the new notes have been displayed for the first time.

The biggest changes to the notes are that the individual Big Five are now represented with their families. The note colouring is also slightly deeper – particularly the R50 notes, which lean more towards purple than the pink colouration before.

These are the new notes:

R10 Front

R10 Back

R20 Front

R20 Back

R50 Front

R50 Back

R100 Front

R100 Back

R200 Front

R200 Back

The coins have gone through more significant changes.

The new R5 coin will replace the iconic wildebeest as its featured animal and replace it with the southern right whale. It will retain the bi-meta alloy from before, weighing 9.5g with a 26mm diameter.

The R2 coin has replaced the kudu with the springbuck and shifts the borders around for a more diamond shape. The 2023 circulation will be a nickel-plated steel (from nickel-plated copper before) which will make it slightly heavier (6.5g vs 5.5g).

The R1 coin replaces the springbuck with South Africa’s official flower, the protea, and has a new pentagonal border. As with the R2 coin, the R1 coin will be nickel-plated steel, and slightly heavier than the older coins at 5g.

The 50 cent coin is dropping the strelitzia – the bird of paradise – for an actual bird, with the loerie (turaco) making its debut in circulation. The coin has also adopted a hexagonal border, cutting down from the nonagonal (9-sided) shape before. The coin remains bronze-plated steel, though it will be 0.5g lighter than the older coins.

The protea’s promotion to the R1 has left space in the 20-cent coin for another plant, with the coin now playing host to aloe. Its border has also dropped from a nonagon and is now a heptagon (7-sided). As with the 50c, the coin remains bronze-plated steel, also slightly lighter.

South Africa’s smallest coin denomination – the 10-cent – is bidding farewell to the arum lily and making way for the honeybee. Its border is dropping one side to become an octagon. The size, make-up and weight remains unchanged.

The new coins can be seen below:

Read: New R5 and R2 coins for South Africa

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