Proof ZAR Coins


An except from the much acclaimed publication THE COINAGE AND COUNTERFEITS OF THE ZUID AFRIKAANSCHE REPUBLIEK by Elias Levine.

These are exceptionally beautiful pieces.

The true skill of the engraver, Otto Schultz can be seen by looking at the enlargement of the Crown ( see Gallery ), where even the eye detail is so well done that it looks lifelike. Also the reverse design of the Proof two shillings shows his work to advantage.

There are no known records  of how many of these Proof coins were produced, but intelligent guesses estimate that between 40 and 100 of the silver sets were produced.

The Proof penny is excessively rare. Even J.T. Becklake did not believe that it existed. So rare is the coin in fact, that many complete collections, both private and public, do not have this penny in proof condition.

In order to identify a proof penny it must have the following characteristics :


  • Sharpness of the lettering. The letters on the proof coin, like on most other Kruger proofs, are extremely sharp. In fact, a cross-section of the letter would look like the bottom of an ice skate, viz. two sharp edges on either side of the letter with a very slightly concave indentation between the edges.
  • Sharpness of the rim.
  • The full stop on the proof coin appears to be smaller than the uncirculated coin.



  • Again the first test is the sharpness and shape of the letters.
  • The stars of the proof coin are absolutely perfect, with no wavering of the metal at the points, as with nearly all the uncirculated coins.
  • The sharpness of the edge of the edge of the coin is the next test.
  • The ribs of the wagon are more pronounced.
  • The scrolls on the shield look clearer on the proof coin.


Note that uncirculated 1892 pennies are generally so well struck as to sometimes be taken for proof coins. Certainly their standard is as good as many proof coins in the South African or other proof sets.

Another test, but not a conclusive one, is the colour, which shows up as a mauve sheen on the proof coin.

In most cases it is quite easy to distinguish between the proof and uncirculated coins, in that the letters are crisp, and the fields are mirrorlike in the former.

Some of the 2/-, 2/6 and particularly the 5/- coins were particularly well struct on proof and prooflike blanks, so it is not quite so easy to distinguish these from true proof coins. The test is the crispness or otherwise of the letters. ( Crispness means the sharpness on either side of each letter similar to the blade of an ice-skate, as described previously.)

The lettering and figures on the reverse of the 1/- proof coins is not as sharp as on the other proof coins generally.

The proof 3d and 6d are quite unmistakable, and the fields are mirrorlike, even compared with the brilliant uncirculated coins often found in this range.

The proof 10/- and £1 are amongst the most beautiful proof gold coins in the world. They are like liquid gold.

There is absolutely no mistaking the proof 10/- coin, but there are some particularly good strikings of the Pond on semi-proof blanks, and the lettering on these uncirculated or even EF coins is also prooflike.

The test here is that the fields, although much brighter than the ordinary uncirculated coins, are not as mirrorlike as on the proof coin.

The complete range of proof coins is listed below, in the order of relative scarcity, with the writer’s estimate of the maximum number of unimpaired pieces in existence.


1d 8
£1 12
10/- 20
5/- 25
3d 35
6d 40
1/- 45
2/- 50
2/6 50