Well, there had been five, but it is likely there are only four now. The probability one of the Canada 2007 $1 million gold coins has been melted is good. The gigantic coin was stolen March 27 from the Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany, where it had been on display billed as “The Big Maple Leaf.”
Canada strikes gold bullion Maple Leaf coins annually, but this coin is much larger. The $1 million face value coin weighs 100 kilograms (about 221 pounds), is 530 millimeters (about 20.9 inches) in diameter and 30 mm (about 1.18 inches) thick. The coin is cast rather than struck of 0.99999 fine gold. The coin was machined to size and shaped in a second minting operation. It can easily be identified by the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse, with a branch of maple leaves on the reverse.
Police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel told the British Broadcasting Corporation, “Based on the information we have so far we believe that the thief, maybe thieves, broke open a window in the back of the museum next to the railway tracks. They then managed to enter the building and went to the coin exhibition. The coin was secured with bulletproof glass inside the building. That much I can say.”
It is believed the theft took place at about 3:30 a.m. on March 27. A ladder was found nearby on elevated railway tracks used by commuter trains that run behind the museum. The museum is near Hackescher Markt, where there are numerous cafes that are open late.
There are more than 540,000 objects in the numismatics holdings at the Bode Museum; however, the thieves took only the $1 million coin. The museum also displays paintings, sculpture and other works of art. It is part of the Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, all of which is situated on an island in the Spree River.
The Royal Canadian Mint initially produced one unique $1 million coin to showcase the purity of the gold Maple Leaf. When asked why the RCM would produce such a coin a spokesman replied, “Because we can.”
Several more were minted at the Ottawa RCM facility following unanticipated purchase inquiries. It is believed that the current Canada $1 million coin owners are Queen Elizabeth II of England, private investor Boris Fuchsmann, the Spanish gold trading company Oro Direct and two anonymous individuals from Dubai. The Fuchsmann specimen was on display and is the coin stolen from the Bode Museum.
The first $1 million coin was described as being “the size of an extra large pizza” by the Reuters news agency at the time of its unveiling. The coin was later listed in the Guinness Book of Records due to its purity.
The coin can be authenticated by its medal alignment and its plain edge. The rims are raised and form dodecagon angles on both the obverse and reverse. The value is expressed both in English and French languages. The coin is uncirculated, but the portrait of the queen is described as “polished.”
For centuries the largest gold coin in the world was the 1613 1,000 mohur, cast at Agra in India in the name of Shah Jahangir. In 2004 Austria issued a larger gold 100,000 euro. The Canadian $1 million coin surpassed the Austrian coin in size.
Only one of the coins has been resold since being purchased from the RCM. The Oro Direct example was purchased for $4.02 million at a Dorotheum auction in Vienna on June 25, 2010. The coin was part of the assets of the bankrupt Austrian investment company AVW Invest being liquidated at that time.
The spot price of gold is currently trading at a little more than $1,250 per ounce, meaning if this stolen example was to be melted it would bring about $4.02 million for its intrinsic value.
This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.
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