The Gold Canadian Maple Leaf
The authorized gold bullion coin of Canada is the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf , and is minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. The coin was the outcome of the work of Walter Ott while he was the Chief Engraver at the Canadian Mint, who wanted to offer an option to the popular South African Krugerrand. The road of the maple leaf to becoming Canada’s national symbol was a long and labored one. It was not until 1965 that the Royal Proclamation was signed and the new national flag of a stylized red maple leaf on a white field, was flown over the Canadian parliament.
The coin was first produced in 1979 and is one of the most pure gold coins, that is issued on a regular basis, in the world and has a gold content of .9999 (24 carats), with some distinctive mintages at .99999 fine. Meaning, it contains virtually no alloy metals at all—only pure gold, from Canadian mines. At the time the only bullion coin was the Krugerrand, which was somewhat scarce because of the economic ban on apartheid-era South Africa. Coins minted between 1979 and 1982 have a gold content of .999.
A Unique Design That is Consistent even as it Changes
The design of the gold Maple Leaf coin by Arnold Machin, is effectively unchanged from the time it was introduced. The image of Queen Elizabeth II appears on the obverse (front side) of the coin, reflecting the different stages of maturity across the span of time. The reverse (back side) depicts a single Canadian Maple Leaf, the national symbol of Canada. The highly detailed design has a highly reflective, proof-like strike.
The Maple Leaf is also struck in 1⁄20, 1⁄10, 1⁄4, and 1⁄2 troy ounce coins and are identical miniatures of the one-troy-ounce coin design, except for indications on the obverse and reverse sides showing the weight and face value of the coin. In 1994, 1⁄15 oz. ($2.00 face value) gold and platinum coins were issued, likely for use in jewelry. Owing to their lack of popularity, 1994 is the only year in which 1⁄15 oz gold and platinum bullion coins were minted.
The Illustrious History of the Royal Canadian Mint
For the first fifty years of coin history in Canadian, the coins were minted at the Royal Mint in London, England. Currently there are two Canadian mints in operation. The first was authorized in 1901 in Ottawa and the second was agreed upon after a lengthy debate was built in Winnipeg.
The Mint offers a wide range of high purity gold, silver, palladium and platinum Maple Leaf bullion coins, wafers and bars for the investment market as well as gold and silver granules for the jewelry and industrial fields. The Mint also provides Canadian and foreign clients with gold and silver processing, including refining, assaying and secure storage.
Also, the Royal Canadian Mint runs a high-tech refinery where it processes precious metals from a number of sources including initial producers, industrial plants, recycling endeavors and financial concerns. The Mint refines raw gold to 995 fine through a chlorination process. The gold is then cast into anodes and then are purified to 9999 fine using an electrolytic process.
In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint issued one $1 million (face value) Gold Maple Leaf coin, although the gold content was worth over $2 million at that time. The “coin’s” dimensions are 50 cm in diameter by 3 cm thick and has a mass of 100 kg, and a purity of 99.999%. Produced primarily as a promotional product, to give the mint a higher international presence. The hundred-kilogram coin was developed as a one-off-a-kind showpiece to generate interest in the mint’s new line of 99.999-percent-pure one-ounce Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins, however, after several buyers came forward, the mint announced it would manufacture them as ordered and would sell them, at that time, for between $2.5 and $3 million. As of May 3, 2007 there were five confirmed orders.