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The African continent, and in particular South Africa, are known throughout the world for their abundant wildlife. Animals that are native only to Africa are top attractions in zoos in other parts of the world. Countless travelers have an African safari at, or near, the top of their bucket lists. The South African Natura Series has been celebrating many of these animals in gold since 1994. Now, the series is making two big changes with the first ever addition of silver brilliant uncirculated coins, as well as the first ever expansion into South African archaeology, with this 2019 Silver Euparkeria. Each of the 50,000 pieces in this silver issue was struck at the South African Mint from one ounce of .999 fine silver.
The South African Gold Natura Series began in 1994 as a way for the Mint to celebrate some of the wildlife for which the country is so well known. The first five years of the series featured a coin for each of the “Big Five,” the animals that are the most dangerous to hunt on foot. The term has since been adopted by safari operators as a means of attracting sigh-seeing tourists, beyond just hunters. Those five coins, the Lion, the Rhino, the Elephant, the Buffalo, and the Leopard, established the series, and subsequent sets have continued to enamor collectors. "Wildcats of Africa," which ran from 2002-2004, and "Nature’s Families," which was issued from 2011-2013, were among the most popular issues. 2019 marks the first ever silver issues in the series to feature a brilliant uncirculated finish and the first time that the series turns to the continent's ancient, bygone animals, rather than its current ones. This is the first issue in the “Rise of the Dinosaurs” series.
All of the "Rise of the Dinosaur" Series coins will share a common obverse: the fossilized skull, neck, and shoulder of an Erythrosuchus africanus. The imposing design shows the creature’s sharp teeth. “RISE OF THE DINOSAURS” is inscribed just below it, with “SOUTH AFRICA” and “MMXIX” (2019) inscribed just below that. At the bottom is an inscription with a solid silver background. It reads, “ARCHOSAURIA.”
The reverse features the animal for which the coin is named, Archosaurs. The creature is depicted running at full stride, and leaping, to snatch up its next meal. Depicted in left-side profile against a backdrop of mountains, the animal has its mouth wide open. The face value of the coin, “25 RAND,” is inscribed to the right, while “NATURA EUPARKERIA” is inscribed below. Like the obverse, this face has a small solid silver background section at the bottom. On this face, that section has inscriptions of the coin’s weight, “1 OZ,” and face value, “AG999.”
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