Early last Monday morning, burglars broke into Berlin’s Bode Museum and stole a 100-kilogram [221-pound (avoirdupois)] .99999 fine Gold Maple Leaf with a face value of C$1,000,000. However, the C$1 million face value was nominal. The coin’s gold value was right at $4 million.
The coin was one of five minted in 2007 by the Royal Canadian Mint to exhibit its extraordinary refining capabilities. The coin also was minted to publicize 1-oz .9999 Gold Maple Leafs, which are the RCM’s gold bullion coins.
The coin has probably already been melted. A one-of-a-kind piece cannot easily be fenced, but a glob of gold can be.
Further, if the burglars know anything about the coin, they also will throw gold of a lesser purity in the melting pot to bring down the purity. If they try to fence .99999 fine gold anywhere in Europe, the buyer(s) will know that the source of the gold was the stolen coin.
The coin had been on loan since December 2010 and was exhibited as part of the Münzkabinett collection, which is one of the world’s largest coin collections, containing more than 540,000 items. The coin had been featured in the Guinness Book of Records for its “unmatched” degree of purity, hence the difficultly of fencing it without melting it and decreasing its purity.
This is a significant loss for the RCM. It is unlikely that the Mint will produce another such coin.