This year, one of the world’s most prestigious gold coins celebrates its 40th birthday, but what do you know about the Gold Maple Leaf and why is it so popular with collectors?
Here are 6 things you need to know:
1 – It’s Canada’s most iconic coin, being issued annually since 1979
The Maple Leaf is synonymous with Canada. Think of the Sovereign for the UK, the Eagle for America and the Krugerrand for South Africa. However, the Maple Leaf has an advantage on all of those coins…
2 – It was the first bullion coin to be issued in pure gold
When the Gold Maple Leaf was first issued in 1979 it became an instant hit with collectors and bullion buyers for one obvious reason – gold.
It was the only bullion coin being issued in .999 Pure Gold – 24 Carat vs 22 Carat for the other main coins.
3 – The world’s purest gold coin
Not content with standard pure gold, The Royal Canadian Mint pushed the Maple Leaf to the very top of the tree in 1998 when it introduced the very first “five nines” gold coin – a Maple Leaf struck from 99.999% Pure Gold.
4 – A coin of all shapes and sizes
The Maple Leaf started life as a 1oz gold bullion coin, but in the 40 years that have followed it has been issued in all manner of different shapes and sizes, including this first ever gold Maple Leaf shaped coin launched in 2016.
In terms of size, you have everything from the 11mm 0.5g Maple Leaf to something weighing 200,000 times more with the 100kg “Big Maple Leaf” launched in 2007. That measured 53cm, was 3cm thick and weighed 3215 troy ounces.
It was certified at the time by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest gold coin.
5 – Nobody knows where the “Big Maple Leaf” is…
…But it’s a pretty safe bet that it has been melted down. Worth around £3.3m, it was always going to be attractive to nefarious types and it was successfully stolen from a Berlin museum in 2017 and never seen again.
The trial of 4 men accused of the theft is ongoing.
6 – A special 40th birthday release
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first ever Gold Maple Leaf, The Royal Canadian Mint has authorised just 500 of their flagship 1/4oz coin, issued to very similar specification as our Sovereign, to be released individually.
Struck from .9999 Pure Gold, the coin was issued as part of the Gold Maple Leaf Fractional Set, but The Mint has taken the unusual step of issuing the 1/4oz gold coin on its own.
With an individual edition limit of just 500 coins, this is probably the most exclusive 1/4oz pure gold coin you will find.
Not one, but two special privy marks
The Royal Canadian Mint has added two different privy marks to the coin for the anniversary year only – “40 YEARS” and “1979/2019”.
It looks certain to become one of the most important Maple Leaf issues in the 40 year history of this iconic coin.
If you’re interested…
I was able to secure a quantity of the 1/4oz Gold Proof Maple Leaf coins from their very limited run of 500, but they’re selling fast.
If you’d like to add this special 40th Anniversary release Maple Leaf to your collection, simply follow the link below.