The multi international award-winning series, the Natura, has become one of the South African Mint Company’s (SA Mint) most sought-after coin series. The themes of the Natura coins are dedicated to South Africa’s wildlife. Over the years, a part of the financial proceeds from the sales of special coin sets have been ploughed back into conservation to preserve endangered species. In 2013 the SA Mint celebrated the 20-year history of the unique Natura coin series.
The “Nature’s Families” theme began in 2011 and featured the meerkat (Suricata suricatta) family. The 2012 coins featured the endangered African painted wolf (Lycaon pictus), also commonly called the “African wild dog”. The zebra (Equidae) concludes the “Nature’s Families” theme. The obverse of all the coins in all three themes features seven animals which visually links the families.
Today there are three live zebra species with several subspecies: Grévy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), the largest specimen; plains zebra (Equus quagga), the most common zebra; and the mountain zebra (Equus zebra), the smallest. Zebras are members of the horse family but, unlike donkeys and horses, they have not been truly domesticated. Both the Grévy’s zebra and the mountain zebra are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species due to shrinking grazing lands and environmental hazards.
The zebra’s distinctive black-and-white stripes come in different patterns, which is unique to each individual. When the animals stand together, their stripes form a camouflage that breaks up the outline of the body, making it difficult for predators to single them out.
Zebras live in family groups, or harems, of between 5 and 20 individuals that consist of one stallion, a few mares and their young. The mares have their own hierarchy within the group. However, when migrating, family groups congregate with other families and bachelor groups to form large herds. During migration, the stallion will take charge of his own family, protecting his mares and young from predators or other stallions.
Zebras communicate with each other via sounds and facial expressions, and social grooming produces bonds between the mares. Although nervous and jumpy, zebras are very sociable animals and graze with other herbivores such as antelopes, wildebeest, giraffes and buffalo. Zebras have excellent hearing and eyesight and are capable of running at speeds of up to 65 kilometres per hour. They are courageous and not afraid to confront predators.
Natura Coin Specifications - Limited 1500
| ||R50 (1/2 oz) |
| ||24 Carat Gold |
|Mass: ||15.553 gram |
|Metal Content: ||Au 999.9 |
|Reverse Die-Sinker: ||VL Chipa |
|Reverse Artist: ||N van Niekerk |
|Obverse Die-Sinker : ||MJ Scheepers |
|Obverse Artist: ||N van Niekerk|
Front: Two plains zebras (left, Equus quagga) in a love ritual above (value) R50 (rand) and (series name) NATURA on a grassy field
designer: (lower-left) VLC ( , artist)
legend: (bottom-left, composition details) 1/2 oz Au 999.9
Back: Seven plains zebras (Equus quagga) grazing between (above, state name in English) SOUTH AFRICA on cloudy air (below, incuse year) 2013 on waving field
legend: none, (bottom, designer) MJS (Marthinus J. Scheepers, artist)
Edge: G - grained, type: bars