In early May 1990, Nelson Mandela—winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, former South African president,  and hero to millions—was present in his house in Johannesburg in South Africa. After the evening a team of technicians trained by Max Warren Barber at Scotia International of Nevada Inc — SION Trading Fze were already invited to supervise the process of gold casting of his hand to create high-quality pieces of Gold-Cast hands. 

At the dinner table Nelson Mandela laid his right hand, palm side down, into a lump of cold dental putty. The silicon-based putty had been chilled to make it harden more slowly, because of this the material got into every wrinkle and crease, almost perfectly capturing Mandela’s fingerprints as well as the old scars from his hard labour on Robben Island. Then they poured more on top to encase his knuckles and fingernails.

relates to The Strange Tale of Nelson Mandela’s Gold-Cast Hands

Mandela’s fingerprint.Source: Malcolm Duncan

The inspiration

Nelson Mandela, also known as Madiba, the great South African and world leader, was many things to those who knew or came to learn of him, but even more for those who care about the things he was so passionate about. He will be remembered for his struggle and leadership for freedom, equality, truth, love, peace and justice. He inspired many of us through his life, struggle, words and deeds, as he walked the walk as well as talking the talk, unlike many compatriots who manipulate similar ideals for self-aggrandisement.Nelson Mandela changed the world with his own two hands. So for many it would be an attraction to make the hands the centrepiece of a collection of Mandela memorabilia, both for personal inspiration and to show to friends and family. So it’s only fitting that replicas of his powerful palms would sell for millions, especially when crafted from solid gold.

relates to The Strange Tale of Nelson Mandela’s Gold-Cast Hands

Mandela sitting for the casting.Source: Malcolm Duncan

The Purpose

The technicians would use these moulds to create resin replicas, for the casting of Mandela’s hand in 99.999% pure gold. Max Warren Barber, says with this prototype authorities plan to create at least 27 gold hands, weighing 5.7 pounds to 8.8 pounds each, to mark the years of his imprisonment, followed by silver versions for each month, and finally thousands of bronze copies to mark each day. They would be sold to raise money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, the charity to which he devoted much of his time in retirement—and serve as advertisements for technicians casting expertise in the process. As president Nelson Mandela donated half his salary to poor children and when he got the Nobel Peace Prize he gave part of the prize money to help street children. 


In 1999, he was included in TIME magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of the 20th century. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed Mandela’s birthday, 18 July, as “Mandela Day”. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela is widely considered both “the father of the nation” and “the founding father of democracy”. Outside SA, he remains a “global icon” and “a modern democratic hero”. 

Mandela received more than 260 honours in his lifetime including the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize (1990); António Agostinho Neto Order (1990), the highest honour of the People’s Republic of Angola; Bharat Ratna (1990), India’s highest civilian award; National Order of Mali (Grande Croix, 1996), Mali’s highest decoration; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2002), the United States’ highest civilian award. In 1993, Nelson Mandela and Frederik Willem de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”. 

Why Is Nelson Mandela Famous?

A figurehead of modern democracy and equality, Nelson Mandela is recognized globally for his work in furthering human rights. In June of 1964, Mandela was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement against the South African apartheid regime. He would not be freed until 1990. Upon his release, Mandela quickly rose to political prominence for his role fighting against apartheid and for becoming South Africa’s first black president. In 1993, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize honoring his “work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa.” Following is the highlight of his life journey.

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