Coin collecting has been dominated by men, but there are hopeful signs that this pattern is changing.
“It seems as though women’s interest in coin collecting is driven by a distinct approach,” says Honey Mamabolo, the Managing Director at SA Mint.
“The growing interest that women are showing in coin collecting seems to be driven more by the beauty and significance of the coins,” she adds. “Women tend to buy coins to celebrate special events like birthdays. In that way, they could be said to be acting as ambassadors for coin collecting. Somebody who receives a beautiful coin for a birthday could themselves become a collector or adopt the practice of marking important events with the gift of a coin.”
Women are also more price-sensitive than men, so they tend to prefer silver to gold or platinum.
By contrast, men (who make up the larger proportion of the market) tend to be more focused on the rarity of the coin, its condition, and its value. Traditionally, too, male collectors have often been inspired by the historical association between coins and particular epochs in history.
Women’s potential impact on the coin-collecting market is ultimately a function of the buying power they represent. In South Africa, it seems that women control the bulk of household spending, particularly as female-headed households are common. According to one source, over 60% of women are the primary purchaser within the household – and as more women enter the labour market, it is likely that this percentage will rise. Globally, the percentage is even higher, at 70–80%.
Research also shows that women tend to be the more conscious spenders, with clear ideas about what they want to spend money on.
One online South African coin retailer agrees that women are attracted by the intrinsic beauty of coins and the story they have to tell. “But they also buy Krugerrands,” the dealer adds. They have definitely seen an increase in the number of women buying coins.
“Women think about what their kids would like, which is great. They are inspiring and promoting coin collecting,” the dealer says.
Another online coin dealer says it has also been observed that women tend to buy coins to mark special occasions such as birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. This dealer believes that women buy coins also because of their meaning: “It seems that their connection to the product goes beyond merely investment value.”
Both dealers say that the SA Mint’s Big 5 Series II range of collectable coins ticks all these boxes and is thus popular with female buyers. The Big 5 Series II launched with the Elephant and then the Lion coin sets, and recently the Rhino set was introduced to the market. Like the rest of the Series II range, the Rhino coins feature a subtle design change compared to Series I. In this case, the Rhino’s horn is the focus of the design – a feature that is especially poignant given that the poaching of these animals for their horns is threatening their very survival.
The Rhino range features gold, platinum and silver coins. As both coin dealers note, women prefer the silver coins, so the availability of both a 1 oz Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) coin and a 1 oz silver proof double capsule containing two identical Series II silver proof coins is appealing.
“Women appreciate collectables which combine long-term value with intrinsic beauty and significance, which is why the Big 5 Series strikes such a chord with them,” Mamabolo says. “The growing female interest in coin collecting is not only a mark of women’s greater say in financial matters, but also reflects their unique perspective on what is worth collecting and why.”
 “The true buying power in South Africa belongs to women”, Futurewave (25 August 2020), available at https://www.business-it.co.za/the-true-buying-power-in-south-africa-belongs-to-women/.
 Kimberly Blaker, “The buying power of women: how women shape the economy and business world”, TysonsToday (14 March 2022), available at https://tysonstoday.com/2022/the-buying-power-of-women-how-women-shape-the-economy-and-business-world/.