After the discovery of gold in the Transvaal and Orange Free State regions of South Africa during the 1880s, many prospectors and miners flooded to the areas seeking fortune. Due to the influx of wealth, President Paul Kruger saw a need for the establishment of a central banking system. In 1891 De Nationale Bank der Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek was opened, and the Mint Act of the same year was passed.
Not long after, two gold coins were minted for circulation. From 1892-1900 the one pound and half pound gold pieces were minted as legal tender. These coins were modeled after the English sovereign and half sovereign, but were unlike most other currency throughout the world, in that their values were determined by actual gold content rather than a face value. This meant that the coins' trading value would vary based on the current global price of gold.
These gold coins commemorated South African history, symbolized economic structural systems and featured indigenous plants and animals. They had some of the most notable designs of South African coinage, but were made inaccessible to international collectors by the Aparthide of 1948-1994. Since its resolution South African gold coinage has become some of the most commonly traded worldwide.