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How to drive with Uber in Johannesburg & Pretoria

Uber Johannesburg and Pretoria is currently not onboarding any vehicle

Minimum driver-partner requirements

Most people can drive with Uber, even if you don’t have a car. Requirements vary by city, but there are a few minimum requirements:

  • A valid South African Professional driving permit (PrDP)
  • Complete a safety screening
  • Pass a driving evaluation

You only need to complete these steps if you would like to drive on the Uber platform.

Minimum vehicle requirements

All vehicles need to be in excellent working and physical condition. All vehicles must have:

  • A working radio
  • Air conditioning
  • Four doors

No hatchbacks accepted. All vehicles must be 2013 or Newer.

Required vehicle documentation

Before hitting the road, you will need to upload the documentation below.

  • Commercial vehicle insurance with passenger liability
  • Operator’s card (double disc)
  • Certificate of registration

It’s easy to get started


Sign up online

You’ll need a valid email address and cell phone number to sign up. Requirements vary by region, so we’ll show you what’s needed for your city.


Upload your documents

Upload a valid South African driver’s license with professional driving permit (PrDP) and complete

10 Flexible Jobs For Students

University is expensive: tuition, room and board, meal plans, books, supplies, the list goes on. Add in “fun money” and you can expect your bank account to dwindle down, and fast. Many don’t realize just how much cash you need to get through schooling, especially when you want to, I don’t know, LIVE. Let’s face it. When you go to school you are going to want to treat yourself to meals out with your friends, you’re going to want to get decorations for your dorm room, you’re going to want to want to go to that party down the street that has a cover charge to get in, and you’re going to want to do things other than your homework. You are NOT going to want to have to say no to an opportunity just because you don’t have enough money to say yes. You need to have a bit of a slush fund. You need to earn some extra cash.

Some students fear that getting a job will take time away from their studies. This may be true, if their employer isn’t flexible. There are many ways to earn extra cash as a student without having to commit to a grueling work schedule that interferes with the most important part of university: your grades.

Here are 10 flexible sources of income for any university student:

1 Become a tutor

Is there a class or subject that you are particularly strong in? Offer tutoring services, whether to your peers, to underclassmen or even at a local middle or high school. Chances are that your university offers programs that will help pair you with students in need. You get to trade your knowledge for money!

2 Share your opinion

Who doesn’t like giving their opinion, especially when you can get some money for it? Online survey and opinion companies are constantly looking for participants to answer their questions, watch their videos and even do online shopping! Yes, you read that right. You can get paid to shop online. The more information you give, the easier it is for them to determine your demographic – which helps them know which surveys are best suited for you. The best part is that you can take these surveys from the comfort of your dorm room!

3 Become an Uber driver

With Uber, you get to create your own schedule, so you can work a lot or you can work a little, depending on your availability. When midterms roll around, you may decide to take an entire week off to focus on your studies. When school isn’t very busy, you may choose to work after class each night for a few hours. The beauty is that you don’t report to anyone but yourself; your schedule is 100% in your control. The only caveat is that you need to be at least 21 years old with 3+ years of driving experience to be an Uber driver, so this money-making opportunity may be more geared toward upperclassmen.

4 Sell your textbooks

University books are so expensive. Those books that you spent $100, $200, even $300 on are going to sit on your bookshelf untouched for years to come once your classes end, especially the ones that were for general electives that had nothing to do with your major. Hundreds of students will be in need of those very books next semester, so why not unload them? Sell them for less than they are worth at the bookstore and you can guarantee that you will get some happy buyers. You may even find that some local bookstores buy and resell textbooks.

5 Babysit/Nanny

Babysitting is one of the first jobs that young money makers ever have. Search local listings for openings and have a chat with your professors to see if they know of anyone looking for some extra help with their kids. Your best bet may be working for someone who works at your school; college towns are filled with families because the professors need to live close by in order to work at the school each day. If you’ve already got experience babysitting, you’ll likely stand a greater chance of getting hired! The best part? You can work on your homework while the kids sleep!

6 Be a campus rep

Have you ever noticed students hanging out in the university commons handing out free samples of energy drinks or selling products for cheap? These students are brand ambassadors and they are getting paid to promote products to their peers! Search your favorite brands and find out how you can be a campus representative in your spare time.

7 Sell your notes

If you’re an excellent note-taker, consider typing out study guides to sell to students who have either missed classes or who simply didn’t follow the lesson. Just be sure to keep it on the down-low if your university isn’t crazy about this type of activity.

8 Be a virtual assistant

If you are having an easy semester and find yourself with more time on your hands, apply to be a virtual assistant through outsourcing websites like Upwork or Freelancer. Most students have the skill set needed to be a virtual assistant, given that they are forced to become organized, deadline driven and communicative at university. You may have a slight learning curb, as you would with any new job, but these types of roles typically require that someone do website maintenance, field emails, data entry, social media management and more computer-based tasks.

9 Join a Focus/Research group

Focus and research groups are pretty regular on university campuses, as students tend to be preferable for companies looking to get opinions about their products or services. You can usually find opportunities for these groups on bulletin boards around campus. The nice part about this type of work is that they are often one-off tests requiring that you be available for one day or just a few hours.

10 Walk dogs

 This is another odd-job that doesn’t require a lot of time and can be quite entertaining, especially if you are a dog lover. Browse local listings to find dog walking opportunities in your area. Like babysitting, it should be fairly easy to find a job since many families tend to live around universities for the professors’ sake

twenty forex trading tips

forex is the best way of making money

as it relates to retail traders (like you and I) is the speculation on the price of one currency against another. For example, if you think the euro is going to rise against the U.S. dollar, you can buy the EURUSD currency pair low and then (hopefully) sell it at a higher price to make a profit. Of course, if you buy the euro against the dollar (EURUSD), and the U.S. dollar strengthens, you will then be in a losing position. So, it’s important to be aware of the risk involved in trading Forex, and not only the reward.

• Why is the Forex market so popular?

Being a Forex trader offers the most amazing potential lifestyle of any profession in the world. It’s not easy to get there, but if you are determined and disciplined, you can make it happen. Here’s a quick list of skills you will need to reach your goals in the Forex market:

Ability – to take a loss without becoming emotional

Confidence – to believe in yourself and your trading strategy, and to have no fear

Dedication – to becoming the best Forex trader you can be

Discipline – to remain calm and unemotional in a realm of constant temptation (the market)

Flexibility – to trade changing market conditions successfully

Focus – to stay concentrated on your trading plan and to not stray off course

Logic – to look at the market from an objective and straight forward perspective

Organization – to forge and reinforce positive trading habits

Patience – to wait for only the highest-probability trading strategies according to your plan

Realism – to not think you are going to get rich quick and understand the reality of the market and trading

Savvy – to take advantage of your trading edge when it arises and be aware of what is happening in the market at all times

Self-control – to not over-trade and over-leverage your trading account

As traders, we can take advantage of the high leverage and volatility of the Forex market by learning and mastering and effective Forex trading strategy, building an effective trading plan around that strategy, and following it with ice-cold discipline. Money management is key here; leverage is a double-edged sword and can make you a lot of money fast or lose you a lot of money fast. The key to money management in forex  is to always know the exact dollar amount you have at risk before entering a trade and be TOTALLY OK with losing that amount of money, because any one trade could be a loser. More on money management later in the course.

want to trade Forex online ? You have come to the right place.

Want to trade Forex online in South Africa? You have come to the right place. Trade Forex SA was established to bring answers to those who are starting in Forex trading and give honest and balanced reviews of the brokers.  Trading Forex can be a lot of fun but it does come with a great deal of risk.  If we help you choose the best broker for you by weighing every pro with a con, we have then succeeded in our goal.

About Forex Trading

The Foreign Exchange Market, or Forex, is the biggest financial market in the world. Dealing in the trading of international currencies, Forex has different financial centers located around the globe, and buyers and sellers work throughout the week to trade currencies and other commodities for profit. Recently, South Africa has started to become a much more desirable location for Forex investors, but while our nation is still emerging, Forex operates basically the same, just with slightly different regulations.

Regulations & SARS

The South African regulatory officials have also relaxed their Forex trading allowance standards. Individuals were previously allotted a R1 million sum to trade with Forex, with a R4 million stipend for setting up offshore accounts.

In 2010 the foreign investment allowance of R4 million and the single discretionary allowance of R1 million have been combined, leaving SA Forex investors with an allowance of R5 million – the limit which you are allowed to invest.

What this signals is that Forex standards are steadily changing South Africa. If the allowance can be combined in only a few short years, you can expect it to rise again. Plus, as an added bonus, if you’re operating a business or some type of investment firm in SA, the Reserve Bank is looking more favorably at your applications.

World Coin News : Mandela continues to be profitable

How did it happen that unpretentious business strikes of a common coin, one with a mintage of 5 million pieces, became $10,000 numismatic superstars less than five months after the coin began circulating? This is not a trick question, nor does its answer involve mint errors or rare die variations.

The coin is South Africa’s 2008 5 rand commemorating former president Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. Released into circulation on July 18, 2008, many of the coins soon appeared in the offices of Professional Coin Grading Services and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, two graders favored by South African collectors.

As I write in mid-December, only six examples have been graded as high as MS-68, all by PCGS. Three of these recently sold for R100,000, or about US$10,000, per coin.

The South African Mint’s 2008 5 rand coin commemorates the 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela. Its finr detail makes MS-68 examples, valued at $10,000, hard to come by

A partial explanation for this price level lies in the coin’s theme. Every South African Mint product associated with Mandela enjoys extraordinary popularity in South Africa and, to a growing extent, around the world.

The 90th birthday issue joins a family of similar coins, namely, the 1994 Mandela presidential inauguration R5 and his post-presidential 2000 R5, whose rates of appreciation in the numismatic market make them top performers globally. Of all coins ever minted anywhere, the 2000 R5 has the steepest curve of increasing prices. No other coin comes close.

South Africans have been hoarding the new R5 since July 18. Anticipating this behavior, the South African government tried to forestall it. Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni and Finance Minister Trevor Manuel practically begged the public to keep the coin in circulation. Of course, South Africans didn’t comply.

The resulting hoards have an important bearing on the value of MS-68 examples. High percentages of the total number of coins minted remain uncirculated or almost uncirculated. This permits numismatic experts to discern the extreme rarity of superb business strikes.

An inordinately small proportion of superlative pieces emerged from the mint. We arrive at the root cause of the $10,000 price tag for MS-68 specimens when we understand why the South African Mint, whose technical prowess in world class, didn’t produce a greater quantity of nearly perfect coins.

The coin’s planned intricacies and the techniques required to execute them were challenging. Like mints in the U.S. and Canada, the South African Mint proved unable to devote the resources necessary to master these challenges and produce consistently excellent “mere” business strikes. To have done so would have been prohibitively expensive.

A bimetallic coin, the Mandela 90th birthday R5 entailed more difficult strikings that would have been the case if planchets of uniform alloy had been used. The South Africans resorted to the bimetallic planchets – brass-plated steel centers with nickel-plated copper rings – that they had introduced for their R5 in 2004. Moreover, and in the contrast to the 1994 and 2000 Mandela R5s, the 2008 coin was designed with a quantum leap of finer detail.

This is especially evident on the coin’s reverse (what Americans would call its obverse) where Mandela’s bust dominates the center. In the ring and radiating from the center on both Mandela’s right and his left are incredibly minute renditions of the letters “SARB” standing for the South African Reserve Bank. Mint employees surely suffered fits trying to keep this tiny lettering sharp.

Fine detail also appears on the obverse where the South African coat of arms is markedly more elaborate than the wildebeest design of 2000.

To my mind, the coin’s most demanding feature is its reeded edge with a security groove bifurcating the reeding. Inside the security groove appear repeated incuse runs of the letters “SARB R5” denoting the reserve bank and the coins denomination.

Getting all of this right and minting reasonably attractive business strikes makes the paucity of MS-68 pieces unsurprising. Collectors should feel grateful that there are any such examples.

Price differentials attest to the scarcity of the MS-68s. Whereas three of these have fetched R100,000 apiece, the relatively common MS-65 routinely retails for R750, about $75.

The Mandela 90th birthday R5 is exciting in itself, regardless of the potential to profit from it. It honors a statesman whose reputation is unsurpassed by those of his contemporaries around the globe. His coin will continue to be coveted collectibles.

Perhaps the 90th birthday coin will prove more popular than the famed 2000 Mandela R5. I entertain the suspicion because of a consideration that most South Africans probably take for granted and non-South Africans are prone to ignore.

Study carefully both sides of the coin. Notice the absence of the words ”SOUTH AFRICA.” The English-language name of the country isn’t present on all of its coins. South Africa has 11 official languages, and the mint rotates their use on coins.

Two minority languages grace Mandela’s 2008 R5. There’s “AFRIKA BORWA” in Sepedi/Sesotho and “SUID-AFRIKA” in Afrikaans. The latter language is the preferred tongue of the majority of South African whites. Although they had feared the end of apartheid, they’ve lauded Mandela’s magnanimity in transcending its legacy. The prominence of their language on his 90th birthday coin is fitting and equally ironic.

The finest known proof Mandela Inauguration has just sold for a world record price of R750 000

The finest known proof Mandela Inauguration has just sold for a world record price of R750 000 totally shattering the last record sale of a Mandela proof at R200 000. In just 14 years this coin has shown a return of 2.5 million percent!

This is the one and only specimen of the rare Inauguration R5 proof coins to be graded PF-70 or perfect. The coin was sold for US $99,337 or R750 000. We expect this coin to be valued at around R1.5 million by the end of the year and over R2 million by the end of 2009.

The reverse or tails side of the world’s fastest appreciating rare coin in all of history. The coin as you can see is breathtakingly beautiful and absolutely flawless.

The Union Buildings which appear on the Mandela Presidential Inauguration R5 coins. This is the place that Nelson Mandela was sworn in as the first black President of South Africa.


It is the king of world coins in terms of growth! The latest record setting sale of a rare proof Mandela Inauguration R5 in the grade of PF-70 for R750 000 by S A COIN is going to have the effect of a nuclear detonation in the global rare coin market. In the 14 years since the time of its minting this coin has appreciated 2 499 900%. This is an average aggregate performance of 178 564% per annum. That quite simply makes this rare coin the fastest appreciating rare coin in the history of the world. In the world rare coin market like all other industries it is all in the numbers. Whether you are looking at a fast car or a hot stock it’s the numbers that attracts your attention. The numbers behind this coin are so impressive it is the equivalent of announcing a Ferrari that can go 0 – 300kph in 0.3 seconds flat. More and more collectors and investors are taking note that the Mandela rare R5 coins are fast becoming a global phenomenon and everyone who knows anything about these coins is getting involved.

Nelson Mandela onstage during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.

There has never ever been an issue of any coins anywhere in the world that has made collectors and investors so much money so fast. There is that famous American investment saying ‘the trend is your friend.’ Well take note that in the world rare coin market the trend is investing and collecting the rare Mandela R5 coins. The Mandela R5 coins have made millions of rands profits for many of their investors and they continue to appreciate at an extraordinary rate of appreciation in a highly constrained global financial marketplace.

Perhaps it is only fitting that the rare Proof 70 Mandela Inauguration R5 has taken over the mantle of being the fastest appreciating rare coin in the history of the world. For it was with the R5 Mandela Inauguration coins that we in the rare coin market and also South Africa began to witness an extraordinary phenomenon take place. That was that South African’s en masse throughout the country began to collect the R5 Mandela Inauguration coins. It was if we knew intuitively that Nelson Mandela was not just another leader of a country but a remarkable and extraordinary man like no other before him.

Nelson Mandela appears onstage with his wife Graca Machel during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.

Nelson Mandela appears onstage during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.

It was with this intuitive knowledge that we also knew that all things associated with him in the form of memorabilia, paintings, coins and art would due to the huge significance that he had would be worth in some cases a great deal of money in time to come. The Mandela R5 coins are the largest Mandela franchise on the planet. The collective value of all of his R5 coins have now formed a global rare coin market with a market capitalisation of over one billion rand. It is a rare coin market that is expanding at such a rapid rate we project that within just a few years from now the market capitalisation of all of his R5 coins could well exceed one billion US dollars.

What makes the Mandela R5 rare coins so unique is the fact that they are in demand everywhere in the world. They are being bought and sold to collectors and investors in virtually every single country in the world. Usually any coin that is issued in a particular country has interest that is mainly displayed by the people that are within the confines of its borders. But that is not the case with the Mandela R5 coins.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela meets Britain’s Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in central London June 25, 2008.

Mandela is one of the most loved people in the world. He is liked and admired by virtually all the peoples of the world. Whether you talk to Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Iraqis, Russians, Britons or any nation on this earth most of the peoples of all the countries only have good and fond things to say about our past president. These very same factors are also exhibited in all of the people around the world that are collecting and investing in the rare Mandela R5 coins. Everyone wants to have and hold a memento of one of the greatest men that has ever lived. And it is this fact that makes the Mandela R5 coins one of the most lucrative investments that is available in the world today. Not only are the Mandela R5 coins the fastest appreciating rare coins on the planet with levels of appreciation in the millions of percent they are also one of the best performing investments on the globe today – period.

Nelson Mandela appears onstage during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.

When I was watching the sky news coverage of the 90th Birthday Mandela 46664 concert I was struck by two comments by the announcer that was covering the concert. She said ‘Nelson Mandela father of the world, a man such as no other’. In all of my years of reading I have read about many great men and women. But I have never ever heard or read of an accolade of such importance ever given to any of them. Alexander the Great widely regarded as the greatest military leader of the world was just ‘great’. But our past president was ‘father of the world’! Einstein was extraordinary but he was not ‘the father of the world’. Nelson Mandela, is probably second only to Jesus Christ, regarded by the world as the greatest man that has ever lived to date. And it is this primary fact that creates the market forces that make us all intuitively collect all of his R5 coins. The demand for all of his R5 coins locally and globally is just absolutely staggering.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela leaves the Intercontinental hotel in London, on June 26, 2008. Former South African president Nelson Mandela spoke of a “tragic failure of leadership” in Zimbabwe during a celebrity fundraising dinner in London Wednesday June 25, 2008 to mark his 90th birthday. In what are thought to be his first public comments on the situation, Mandela made a brief reference to Zimbabwe as he detailed a string of problems faced by the world.

It is due to his global significance that his coins and all things that are associated with him that are rare or scarce are going to be worth considerable amounts of money as the years pass by. The smartest thing for any South African or any person is to put together a set or few complete sets of the Mandela R5 coins into their investment portfolios. We in South Africa have the double benefit of the fact that we not only do we benefit from the extraordinary growth of these coins but the profits made on all rare coins in South Africa are also tax free. If you make a million rand return in the rare coin market then that is what you get to place into your bank account with no deductions whatsoever.

Prime Minister of Great Britain Gordon Brown shares a joke with Nelson Mandela during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.

The Mandela R5 rare coins are the only coins that we have ever witnessed that have had an entire county collect them. We have never seen or heard of any country anywhere in the world that has had its entire populous collect any particular coins ever in their histories. We also know that had the R5 Mandela coins been readily available in other countries that they would have been snapped up by investors and collectors in great numbers. At this point in time the majority of rare Mandela R5 coins are held in South Africa. We at S A COIN are going to start a global marketing campaign in the next few years where we start to market the Mandela R5 coins in the largest rare coin market in the world, the United States. We are then going to start to market these rare coins in Europe, Canada, Australia and a host of other markets.

You can say many things about the Americans but make no mistake they are very, very smart especially when it comes to making money. They are the people after all that made the space shuttle and that through the world dominate the world of finance. They will be quick to see the numbers that are displayed behind the rare Mandela R5 coins and you can expect them to place significant amounts of capital into these coins. Their participating in broad numbers will take the rare Mandela R5 coins to extraordinary high values and truly globalise the rare Mandela R5 coins. South African’s and also international investors and collectors that are buying into the Mandela R5 coins now will have a head start on the new investors and collectors that enter the market in the future. It is also important to note that rare Mandela R5 coins are still in their early stages of growth. The rare Mandela R5 market is still only 3 years old. For whilst the coins have been available since 1994 the market itself only jumped into great activity a few years ago.

There is also another very important factor to consider. That is that once coins are collected and accepted as being rare in the world rare coin market, they only become more sought after and widely collected year after year after year. There has never a time where coins once considered as rare are no longer so. The market for these coins is therefore eternal and this will ensure that generation after generation enjoy the spectacular returns that these coins give to both investors and also collectors.

Nelson Mandela onstage during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.
With the sale of the finest known rare Mandela Proof Inauguration for R750 000 there is a vacuum that exists between the one finest known specimen and the second finest known specimens in Proof-69 condition. Only 216 of these coins have been graded by PCGS and NGC. They are currently selling at R45 000 a coin and are a steal at that price. By then end of the year these coins should be selling with ease at around R100 000. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to work out that if a PF-70 sold for the price of R750 000 and there is only one, that with a ratio of 1-216 that the coins are very, very undervalued at R45 000.

Every single time that there is a sale of a finest known in the country and this is then widely reported it alters the very architecture and the fabric of the entire world market. The most direct effect of the sale of a finest known coin is upon the coins of its very own type and grade. There will be intense focus by the media and also the public at large on all of the Proof Mandela R5 Inauguration coins once this article is placed onto our site and also released to the world media. New investors and collectors that contact our corporation will soon learn that there is only one of the PF-70 coins that sold and that it is not available for purchase they will then start to snap up the PF-69’s that are on the market. With there being only 216 of them worldwide the pressure that will be placed on these coins will be immense. Do not miss the opportunity to place a number of these into your portfolio if you do not have any. They will not be available on the market for long.

Nelson Mandela leaves the InterContinental Hotel after a photo shoot with celebrity photographer Terry O’Neil on June 26, 2008 in London, England. Mandela is in London in advance of the 46664 concert being held at Hyde Park on Friday the 27th June to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday.

We at S A COIN can feel confident with the predictions that we are making on the PF-69 coins for we were able to see the marketplace in action on the Mandela Proof coins in the exact same circumstance. When we released our latest newsletter The Coin Report we stated that the 5 specimens of the finest known Mandela proofs in PF-69 are estimated to be worth R500 000 each. The moment that the newsletter hit the marketplace the Mandela Proof 68’s the second finest known of these coins of which there are 179 specimens that have been graded by PCGS and NGC started to come under immense market pressure. They started the beginning of the year at R35 000 and they are now trading at R100 000 a coin if you can get them.

Nelson Mandela appears onstage during the 46664 Concert In Celebration Of Nelson Mandela’s Life held at Hyde Park on June 27, 2008 in London, England.

Once the marketplace learned that there were 5 finest known’s that were valued at R500 000 we had request after request from investors and also collectors who wanted to buy one. But when we contacted the owners of these coins no matter how high we made the offers on these coins they all refused to sell. Three of the owners told us that the Proof Mandela 69’s were for their pensions. When a man tells you that he is holding onto an investment for his pension there is just simply no higher compliment that you can pay any investment. That is the type of faith that we see from all South Africans from all walks of life strongly displayed in the rare Mandela R5 coins.

Our advice to all the investors and collectors that are reading this is to contact one of our brokers now and snap up as many of the rare Mandela Proof Inauguration R5 coins as you can before they disappear from the marketplace. There are only 514 of the rare Mandela Inauguration proof R5 coins that have been graded in all grades by PCGS and NGC. And all of them are going to come under increasing pressure to rise in value with all of the market attention that they are going to be getting.

How to sell a R5 coin for R50000

This article was first published in the first-quarter 2012 edition of Personal Finance magazine.

You must have come across commemorative coins in your loose change – the ordinary circulation coins that recall 10 years of democracy, the presidential inauguration in 1994, the cricket World Cup in South Africa and other milestones in our history. Some people may have saved a few of these coins in the hope that they will be worth a bit in the future.

The R5 coins with the face of former president Nelson Mandela have a special nostalgic appeal, and the most recently issued one was to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2008.

But would you believe it if you were told that one of these 90th birthday coins sold for R2.5 million? Others sell for anything between R50 000 and a couple of thousand rands.

These, remember, are simply R5 coins. There is nothing special or rare about them – more than 22 million were issued by the South African Mint.

But a lucrative trade has developed in which clever sellers convince gullible buyers that certain R5 Mandela coins are extremely rare and are therefore worth a lot of money. Any coins could be sold in this way, but by far the most popular is the Mandela 90th birthday R5, issued in 2008, so this article will concentrate only on these coins.

The scheme is very simple to see through if you have a basic grasp of coin grading. It works like this.

First, the seller needs a supply of coins that have never been in circulation, plus a company to grade them and a population report. A population report, or census report, shows how many coins of a particular type have been given a particular grading.

The coins sold for hugely inflated prices have never been circulated, unlike the coins that arrive with your change from the supermarket teller or newspaper vendor. Instead, these coins were bought in their hundreds of thousands direct from banks and the South African Mint. They are then sent to the United States for grading, which, in the simplest possible terms, means an assessment of their features, such as the lustre, appearance and number of imperfections of each coin.

When the coins return to South Africa, each is encapsulated in a Perspex slab that shows which company graded it and what grading it was given. This process is also called “slabbing”.

The sellers are able to market any coins that come back with a grading between MS70 (perfect) and MS60 (a coin that only just qualifies as uncirculated and has visible scratches). MS refers to “mint state” (see “How the grading system works” on the previous page for a basic explanation of grading).

Now the R5 brigade can start working their sales channels, phoning clients or putting the coins on an auction website such as Bid or Buy.

The marketing can take two angles: the high quality of the coin or, if the coin is not of a particularly high quality, then the rarity of the coin in its particular grade. Both angles rely on the buyer’s ignorance of what is meant by rarity.

The following extract is from Bid or Buy and is the sales pitch for a coin that was graded MS60: “The elusive MS60. Very scarce in this grade. The one you can never get your hands on.”

The coin sold for R5 501 on October 9, 2011.

And, in one sense, the seller was not lying when he or she said the coin was “very scarce in that grade”. The population report almost certainly said there were not many Mandela R5 coins that had been given that grade. But that is not an indication of rarity out of the whole universe of R5 Mandela coins – just that not many have been sent for grading and emerged with that grade – they are what numismatists call conditional rarities.

“Far from indicating great rarity, a low population actually might reflect extreme commonness: a high-mintage modern coin, for instance, might have a low population in one of these reports simply because hardly anyone has bothered to submit any pieces for certification. Having little or no premium value, they aren’t worth the bother and expense of being certified,” Scott Travers Rare Coin Galleries writes in “10 myths about the modern coin market” (

It is not worth the bother and expense … except for a seller who can find gullible buyers.

As a participant in the Bid or Buy coin collectors’ forum noted in May 2010: “Why on earth are bidders paying upwards of R16 000 for 2008 Mandela birthday R5 graded MS61?! That’s like paying R400 000 for a 2005 Ford Fiesta … simply because the car dealer has fewer 2005 models in his showroom.”

Even the “very scarce” selling point will not last long as the popularity of this trade catches on.

In mid-October 2011, US grading house Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) said in the “Research” section of its website that it had graded more than 115 000 examples of mint-state Mandela 2008 coins.

And the National Association of Numismatic Societies has been informed that every month about 24 000 Mandela R5 birthday coins are sent for grading in the US, Peter Wilson, the chairman of the association, says.

“The biggest problem in numismatics at the moment is the Mandela R5 coin. That’s where the bulk of the rip-off is occurring. These guys (the sellers) are doing immeasurable damage to the noble hobby of numismatics.”

Wilson says prices have got to “ludicrous” levels.

What can be more ludicrous than one of these coins selling for R2.5 million?

The website of a Gauteng company, SA Coin, says that’s the price achieved for an uncirculated MS69-graded Mandela R5.

Gerrit Marx, the operations manager of SA Coin, confirms the company made the sale in June 2010 to a buyer who wants to remain anonymous. “When the MS69 was sold, there was only one of them in the world. The price was market-driven,” Marx says. “Because there was only one, the seller wanted that price. We got him a buyer.

“This particular individual [the buyer] does not want to be public on this particular issue – we need to respect his privacy. But that buyer is up to today one of our biggest investors.”

At about the same time as the R2.5-million sale – also in June of that year – a Mandela 90th birthday R5 coin with the same grade from NGC was sold on auction site Bid or Buy for R51 600. Marx says of the Bid or Buy price: “It is not reflective of market value.”

He says none of the coin dealers will put a coin up for sale at a price below the market value. And market value, he says, “is the overall accepted sense of the value of a coin among dealers who have experience in the field”.

At the time this article was concluded in late November, nine coins had been graded MS69 by NGC, Marx says, although he conceded he had not checked the population report for two or three weeks.

He is not perturbed by the increase in the MS69 population over the 18 months since that multi-million-rand sale, or for the implications this has for the price of the coins.

The SA Mint will not release any more of the 2008 coins and it is also the nature of the coin that makes it special, he says. “Never in history has a coin been struck for a living former president for his birthday. That is what made the 2008s so much in demand – I call them blessed.

“When Mandela fell sick at the beginning of the year, our phones rang off the hook. Everyone wanted something of him. That week I ran up and down like a headless chicken to meet the demand.”

Marx sees the coins as an investment.

“Our strategy is for people to make money by investing in these coins. We are an investment company. We give [our clients] a mandate: keep your coins for a minimum of five years and then we will find buyers for the coins. We can’t give a guarantee that we will secure the same price the buyer paid, but our client base is 30 000 people.”

That is another distinction Marx points out between the R2.5-million sale and the Bid or Buy price of just over R50 000: online sales are to the general public, whereas when a client of SA Coin wants to sell a coin, the coin is listed and the customer base made aware, which helps keep prices intact.

Marx says SA Coin has done R100 million in turnover over the past five years, primarily in sales of R5 Mandela coins.

“SA Coins started out mainly dealing in ZAR coins (coins from the Boer republic and Kruger era), then incorporated the Mandela coins,” he says.

“We are leaders in especially the R5 market.”

In June 2010, the following prices on NGC-graded R5 Mandela coins were realised on Bid or Buy:

* R2 900 for an MS60;

* R20 075 for an MS61;

* R3 500 for an MS62; and

* R51 600 for the MS69 mentioned above.

Prices have come down to earth from those heady days. In October 2011, the average price realised for an MS61 was about R900, while MS62-graded coins sold for between R100 and R145.

If the Bid or Buy market has come off the boil somewhat, the market is still hot elsewhere, according to Glenn Schoeman, the president of the South African Association of Numismatic Dealers and the chief executive of Gold Reef City Mint.

“A client phoned me and said he had struck a bargain. He had been offered 50 NGC-graded MS66 Nelson Mandelas. The seller only wanted R25 000 a piece. The guy told me they are worth R40 000 each,” Schoeman says.

“I asked him: ‘How rare can they be? The guy is offering you 50 of them’.”

Schoeman sees the person who buys the coin at these huge prices as a victim: “The person is not a numismatist or a collector but a victim.”

Schoeman says there are people who are on the telephone all day trying to sell the coins – “and they do sell them”.

Another way the average person could end up being enticed to buy is through discount coupon websites such as Groupon. (These websites disseminate news of discounts offered by businesses to consumers. But the savings kick in only if a certain number of people take up the offer. The intention is that buyers encourage family and friends to take up the offers as well.)

Earlier this year, another dealer, Coin Invest, offered MS66-graded Mandela 2008 R5 coins for sale through Groupon with the following sales pitch: this is an “extremely valuable coin that will only become more valuable over time”. The coins were on sale for R1 232, which was described as a “discount of 56 percent” and a “saving of R1 568”. Coin Invest sells them on its website for R2 800 each.

A total of 439 people bought the coins.

If they had spent 30 minutes looking on the internet, they would have seen that MS66-graded Mandela R5 coins sell on Bid or Buy for about R90.

In October 2011, the Coin Invest site was offering an MS67 for R4 669. Coins with the same grade were selling for R300 on Bid or Buy at the time.

Personal Finance could not track down any person associated with Coin Invest or any physical address.

The website gives only a fax number and an email address as the company’s contact details. Groupon’s offer said Coin Invest was a Cape Town-based company. Telkom’s directory inquiries gives a number for a company by that name in Johannesburg, but when that number is phoned, the person on the other end answers “Royal Coin” and denies knowing the name “Coin Invest”.

There is no trace of the name “Coin Invest” on the database of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.

An email received on November 7 from QuePon Discount offered MS67s for R1 400 “instead of R4 500”. The QuePon website gave no clues as to who was behind the offer and did not reply to this writer’s email asking for details. Two weeks later, the same URL – – could not be found.

Only some dealers sell Mandela R5 coins at highly inflated prices. Others do not deal in them at all or stock only a few for the tourist trade.

One of these is Cape Town Coins and Collectibles, a franchise of seven outlets in the Western Cape. The branch in central Cape Town had an MS66-graded coin on sale for R350 when Personal Finance visited.

There is demand for the coins in Cape Town, mainly from tourists who want to take home a Mandela-related memento, Brink Laubscher, a partner at Cape Town Coins and Collectibles, says.

“We keep very low stock of the Mandela birthday coins. We feel it is not a good investment but, as there is demand for it from tourists, we do make a couple available to them.

“We will not advise anybody to buy the Mandela birthday coin for investment purposes.”

You can find out more about Cape Town Coins and Collectibles at

One person who has seen the damage done when uninformed people blindly invest their money is Morné from Pretoria. He contributed to discussions about the Mandela R5 phenomenon on the Bid or Buy numismatics forum under the name Rare NotesCoins. In the discussions, he wrote: “I get guys aged between 20 to 69 coming to the shop who have bought these coins at horrific prices.

“They will never buy coins again because people rip them off so badly.”

Elsewhere on the forum, he wrote: “Try explaining to a 60-year-old guy that the R200 000 he spent on these coins is worth only R8 000.

“I can still see the hurt and the disappointment in his eyes. Disappointment in [the] people that are supposed to help you invest money you work so hard for over a lifetime.”

Money is lost because buyers misunderstand what rarity really means.

“With a mintage of 22 106 000, these [coins] are extremely rare,” Morné wrote.

“So rare that I have been offered 150 bags sealed with 400 coins per bag for R15 500 per bag. Very rare indeed. Not like the common chicken tooth or the Springbok grand slam.”


In the Sheldon scale system used in the United States to grade coins, the prefix MS means “mint state” and refers to a coin that is regarded as uncirculated. The number of imperfections that an MS coin has is shown by its score on a scale from 70 to 60. For example, an MS70 is a perfect uncirculated coin (obviously, this is rare), an MS65 has minor imperfections and an MS60 has fairly abundant scratches that can be seen by the naked eye.

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) is the most popular company in the US used for grading the Mandela R5 90th birthday coins.

The rarity (or otherwise) of a coin in a particular grade can be determined by checking the population reports for a particular coin.

These population reports are available from the grading companies. For example, a member of he NGC Collectors’ Society can log on to the NGC website and find out how many R5 Mandela 90th birthday coins have been awarded a particular grade by the NGC.

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