By: Julia Montlha, Curator, Numismatic collection, DITSONG: National Museum of Cultural History


Coert Laurens Steynberg was a famous South African sculptor. He is well-known for his sculpture of a statue of President Paul Kruger found at the gate of the Kruger National Park. Steynberg was born on 7 January 1905, and died in Pretoria on 28 July 1982. Steynberg also became famous for his designs and engravings of coins. His coin designs graced many South African coins in the early and middle parts of the 20th century.


Coert Steynberg’s most famous coin design is the pronging springbok on all Kruger Rands, referred to as pronking or prancing –  it leaps in the air with an arched back and stiff legs, typically as a form of display or when threatened. The original sketches of the springbok engaging in the pronking activity sketches of Coert Steynberg is shown in the image below. He eventually decided on the design shown at the far left.


Figure 1. Coert Steynberg’s original pronking springbok sketches ( :).


In 1948 the South African mint issued its first coin to depict the Coert Steynberg springbok design – a 1 Rand coin. The reverse design featured a springbok antelope, which is the national animal symbol of South Africa. The initials CLS (Coert Laurens Steynberg) are in the right field between the letters IC of AFRICA and the ground under the springbok.


The South Africa 5 Shillings Coin

The springbok design was reused again on the 5 shillings and 50 cents crowns from 1947 to 1964, the gold 1/2 Pound and 1 Pound coins of the 1952 to 1960 issues, the gold 1 Rand and 2 Rand of the 1961-1983 issues, and on the Krugerrand medal-coin issues that have been issued since 1967.

Below is an example of the Silver 5-shilling Coin minted in 1953.


Figure 2. 5 Shilling coin – obverse (left) and reverse (right) side (DITSONG: National Museum of Cultural History Numismatic Collection).



“Suid Afrika. 1953. South Africa 5s

South Africa”

Signed: “CLS” below ICA of Africa



Laureate head right “Ëlizabeth II Regina”

The obverse was designed by Mary Gillick



Commemorative Medal

Figure 3. Growth Medal – obverse (left) and reverse (right) side (DITSONG: National Museum of Cultural History Numismatic Collection).


The medal was issued in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Republic of South Africa (1961-1971). It was issued in silver and bronze.


Republic of South Africa Tenth Anniversary



Coat of arms of the Republic of South Africa. To the left running vertically downwards: “1961, and to the right: “1971”. Signed: “T S” below right.

Engraved by Tommy Sasseen.



A stylised depiction of a man striving upwards on a wave. Signed: “C L S” above the wave. In an arc above and to the right: “GROEI – GROWTH”.


Engraved by Coert L. Steynberg.

Cameroon 50 Centimes and 1 Franc


French Cameroon, established after World War I (1914–1918) from the partitioning of German Kamerun, issued its own franc until 1958. For several years only paper money was made for the French Equatorial African franc, but by 1942, during World War II (1939–1945), a series of coins denominated at 50 centimes, and the Free French Forces introduced the 1 franc. They were struck at the Pretoria Mint of the then British Union of South Africa.


The 1 franc coin was designed and engraved by Coert Steynberg. It was minted again with similar dies in 1943.

Figure 4. 1 franc Cameroon (Image:

Figure 5. 50 Centimes Cameroon (Image:


First coins of French Equatorial Africa (1942–1943)


French Equatorial Africa was established in 1910 from the French colonial possessions in Central Africa. The French franc circulated in the federation as the main currency, and by 1917 it was augmented by a local version of the franc used in Chad, French Congo, Gabon, and Ubangi-Shari.


An illustration of the Gallic rooster, an unofficial national symbol of France, appears in the centre of the coin’s obverse. The animal is shown facing to the left and standing on a patch of ground covered in grass. Under the grass, patch is the initials “C.L.S”, accrediting Coert Laurens Steynberg as the artist.

Above the rear of the rooster, to the right of its head, is a shield containing the letters “RF”, a common abbreviation for République française, meaning “French Republic”. Printed clockwise along the obverse outer boundary is French Equatorial Africa’s French name, “AFRIQUE EQUATORIALE FRANÇAISE”. It is separated between “EQUATORIALE” and “FRANÇAISE”.


The reverse depicts the Cross of Lorraine, a symbol of the Free French Forces. The “S.A.” mint mark of the Pretoria Mint of South Africa is engraved above the cross’ central bar, whereas the “C.L.S” initials of Coert Laurens Steynberg are displayed below the same bar.


In total, approximately 3 000 000 French Equatorial African 1 franc coins were minted in 1942, followed by an additional 6 000 000 examples in 1943. As such, the earlier dated pieces are rarer and worth a small amount more than the 1943 coins.


Figure 6. Madagascar 50 centimes (Image:


Second coin of French Equatorial Africa (1948)



Rooster left, monogrammed shield top right.

The Gallic Rooster appeared one year only (1943) on the French colony of Madagascar’s 50-centime and 1-franc coins. The reverse features the Cross of Lorraine, originally the symbol of Joan of Arc, and adopted by the Free French Forces during World War II.



Cross of Lorraine divides denomination below, with date at bottom The Cross of Lorraine was originally a heraldic cross. The Lorraine name has come to signify several cross variations, including the patriarchal cross with its bars near the top. In France, the Cross of Lorraine was the symbol of Free France during World War II, the liberation of France from Nazi Germany.



The Colony of Madagascar and Dependencies (French: Colonie de Madagascar et dépendances) was a French colony off the coast of Southeast Africa between 1897 and 1958.

Figure 7. Madagascar 50 centimes (Image: :).



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