The life of a legend - Protea series






First Introduced in 2013, the South African Mint’s The Life of a Legend: Nelson Mandela Protea coin series honours the legacy of our beloved Madiba.  Spanning over a 12-year period, the coin series is dedicated to the life and times of former president Nelson Mandela, with each annual series depicting a different theme from the former President’s life.

Our brief was to develop a conceptual and visual solution for the packaging, printed collateral, audio visual elements and video documentary, as well as a launch event for the new coin set. The packaging had to be based on the the prototype we developed for the range as a whole, but customised with each edition to express the theme of the particular set.  


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Born on July 18, 1918 Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela ’s, life was profoundly shaped by his experiences as a young boy growing up in in Mvezo in the rural Eastern Cape. Throughout this childhood, the foundation was laid for the great compassion and championing of the innocence of children that Mandela showed later in life. It was thus fitting that the first of the Protea Mandela series, focussed on this chapter in Madiba's life. The launch set is packaged in a unique oak box laser cut with the topography from Qunu.






Nelson Mandela firmly believed education was the greatest tool available to engineer change.   A champion of education - who once stated: “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated” - the 2014 coin set takes Mr. Mandela’s personal scholarly journey as theme.

To tie in with the theme of education, the lid of the hand crafted oak box was silkscreened and the hinges moved to visually resemble, and open like, a classroom notebook. A medallion, custom designed by our studio, along with an informational booklet depicting important highlights from Mandela’s education, were included inside as value adds.



As part of the launch set, a commemorative book gives a deeper understanding of Nelson Mandela's educational journey, outlining his early years and his later return to studying when he became a prisoner – first at Pretoria Local Prison, and later on Robben Island.


Collateral, and decor elements of the launch event continued the education theme. The focus, however, was on Mr. Mandela’s tertiary education. An 1 oz and 1/10 oz coin were each overstruck with mint marks representing two educational institutions Nelson Mandela studied at - University of Fort Hare and UNISA , providing a highlight of the evening. To mark the occasion we reprinted an original study application document from Nelson Mandela’s studies during his time in prison at Robben Island for the backdrop of the overstriking - significantly the document contains his prison number 46664.