Canadian Gold Maple Leaf

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The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, generally known by both numismatists and bullion investors simply as the Gold Maple is a high-end Canadian gold bullion coin first minted in 1979, with issues continuing to this day. The Gold Maple is one of the most remarkable bullion coins available in the market today owing, first and foremost, to its unparalleled purity, and secondly, to its remarkable craftsmanship. Among all the other gold bullion coins in the world, the Gold Maple is one of the few to be made with .9999 and .99999 fine gold (in standards of millesimal fineness), making it the purest type of gold bullion available with virtually no base metals at all save pure, precious gold. Owing to its purity, the Gold Maple is one of the most popular bullion coins to date. Produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, it is a sanctioned coin of Canada and highly sought-after throughout the world.

Originally designed by Walter Ott, the Gold Maple was created to cater to the bullion investment market during the late ‘70’s, when an economic boycott of the South African Krugerrand (at the time, the only ‘modern’ gold bullion) was set into action. Initially made of only .999 fine 24-karat gold from its inception in 1979 to 1982, it slowly rose in popularity among bullion investors and coin collectors, and slowly became the standard by which all modern bullion are compared when it comes to purity, artistry, and sheer inventiveness. From 1986 to the present day, Gold Maples have since upgraded their millesimal fineness to the standard ‘four nines’ (.9999), although the Royal Canadian Mint has also issued a number of ‘Special Issue’ Gold Maples referred to colloquially as ‘Five Nines’ among collectors and investors owing to its millesimal fineness of .99999 gold.[1] Originally only available in one ounce denominations, the Gold Maple has since adopted other denominations after its initial one-ounce run in 1979 – 1982. Today, the Gold Maple is available in 1 oz., ½ oz., ¼ oz., 1⁄10 oz., and 1⁄20 oz. (with face values of $50, $20, $10, $5, $1 respectively). Other, larger face-values are available, usually for Special Issue Gold Leafs. A special issue Gold Maple weighing a total of 100 kg of pure gold (equivalent to 3215 troy ounces) was minted in May of 2007, and is one of the largest and heaviest bullion coins available to this day.[2] Owing to its unusually large size and heft, only five have reputedly been minted, each with a face value of one million dollars.

The Gold Maple is remarkable for its ever-changing artistic presentation, if not for its somewhat static obverse and reverse designs. The Gold Maple is also one of the most creatively designed bullions in terms of metallic artistry, as it is among the few bullion coins available that use bimetallic aesthetics, selective coloring, and holographic designs to make truly spectacular works of art – a feature which is becoming more and more commonplace in their special edition Gold Leaves and bimetallic standard issues.[3]

The general design of the Gold Maple does not change, except when commemorative coins and special sets are purposely created. Regular Gold Maples however retains a somewhat standard appearance of a high-relief depiction of a maple leaf on the obverse, with the inscriptions ‘CANADA’ on the top, and its weight by ounces on the bottom, along with the phrases ‘FINE GOLD’ and ‘OR PUR’. The reverse depicts the portrait bust of Queen Elizabeth II with her name above the bust, and the face value underneath the bust. Despite this constancy in the design, the Gold Maple is of interest to numismatists owing to the fact that the background of the coin as well as the type of metalworking done changes the overall look of the regularly issued coins every year. The Gold Maple is among the few gold bullion coins, if not the only one, which is issued in three different types – Regular Bullion (characterized by brilliant relief against a background with parallel lines), Proof (frosted relief against a mirror-finish background), and Specimen types (brilliant relief against a satin background). Aside from regular mintmarks found on proof and specimen coins, privy marks are also found in specially commissioned coins, especially on the bimetallic sets.

Owing to the extreme purity of the Gold Leaf coins, they are typically sold encased in hard plastic ‘frames’ to prevent scratch marks caused by general handling. Today, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin is one of the most popular and sought-after coins for both collectors and investors, with an ever-increasing following as people continue to show interest in bullion investment and numismatics.

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Content researched and created by Alexander Leonhart for ©

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