In addition to its pristine areas of wilderness and distinctive wildlife, Canada is well-known for its abundance of natural resources. This includes a considerable amount of gold.
It's therefore fitting that the Royal Canadian Mint became one of the early entrants into the emerging gold bullion coin market in 1979. This was the first year that it issued the beloved Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin.
Royal Canadian Mint
The mint has burnished its reputation around the world and provided a valuable investment vehicle for customers worldwide by turning Canada's abundant natural endowment of precious metal into an internationally traded bullion coin: the Gold Maple Leaf.
The Royal Canadian Mint (sometimes abbreviated as RCM) holds the distinction as the first mint or refining facility of any kind in the world to achieve "four-nines" fine gold (.9999 fine gold). This means that the gold composition is a remarkable 99.99% pure gold, a fineness that is also sometimes referred to as "extra pure." Although other refineries have since duplicated this feat, and some are now even pushing the boundaries with "five-nines" (.99999 fine) gold, the Royal Canadian Mint started the trend.
Today, every Gold Maple Leaf coin is struck from .9999 fine gold. It is a testament to the incredible technical capacity and innovative spirit of the RCM.
This penchant for high quality and innovation has garnered the mint special recognition and a variety of awards for specific coins over the years. In the minds of many experts, the Royal Canadian Mint is, on balance, currently the most admired state mint in the world.
On top of that somewhat subjective judgment, there is another more objective title that the RCM can claim most years. Because it mints circulating coins for a number of foreign governments that do not have the resources or facilities to strike their own coins, and because the RCM has an extensive annual catalog of collectible coin offerings, it is also considered the most prolific government mint in the world.
In other words, the Royal Canadian Mint produces more total coins on a yearly basis than any of its state-owned counterparts.
The Best In Bullion Technology: The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf Security Features
Every Canadian Maple Leaf coin since 2016, whether it is gold, silver, platinum, or palladium, comes with a new cutting-edge security feature: a micro-engraved privy mark of a maple leaf.
Only the RCM has access to the proprietary laser-etching technique that produces the privy mark. A small number, the last two digits of the year, is circumscribed within the center of the leaf. The date is only clearly visible under magnification.
The introduction of this new device was paired with another new feature. Every Gold Maple Leaf and Silver Maple Leaf got a new finish that uses radial lines.
This unique radial line finish is not only an aesthetic part of the design that makes these coins more attractive to the eye -- although it does accomplish this, as well, when the coin is held up to the light.
The radial line finish is in itself a form of anti-counterfeiting. This is true of all specifications used in the production of legal tender coins.
All together, the collective set of different security features on Canadian Maple Leaf coins is known as Bullion DNA™. It even allows for the coins to be authenticated digitally.
Other world mints have since adopted similar security devices, like Australia's Perth Mint did for its Silver Kangaroo coins.
Thanks to Bullion DNA™ and the Royal Canadian Mint's stellar reputation, the Canadian Gold Maple is trusted all over the world. It is often used to fund self-directed individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and provide a tangible asset to investment portfolios.
You'll even find it sold in vending machines in places as far-flung as Dubai.
These bullion coins have a reputation for exceptionally high purity, making them easy to liquidate -- i.e. quickly sell for cash.
This very high gold purity also makes Gold Maples rather easy to literally liquidate by melting.
Maple Leaf Coin Design
All Canadian Maple Leaf coins, like any coin minted as legal tender in Canada, uses Susanna Blunt's design of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
Blunt's portrait is the only image of the coin on a coin that omits her royal crown or tiara.
She won a design competition after being invited to participate by the Royal Canadian Mint. Her effigy of Queen Elizabeth II first appeared on Canadian coins in 2003.
Blunt has also painted a number of prominent artists and socialites, including a portrait of another member of the royal family, Prince Edward.
Her Majesty faces right and wears a pearl necklace. The artist's initials "SB" are visible on the Queen's shoulder.
Inscriptions below the image include the denomination "50 DOLLARS" and the year of issue "2018." The name of the monarch "ELIZABETH II" is inscribed along the top rim.
Prior to Blunt's design, the Gold Maple Leaf featured the Dora de Pédery-Hunt effigy of Her Majesty from 1990 to 2002. It was the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on a coin that was created by a Canadian artist.
Gold Maples that were issued from 1979 to 1989 used the portrait created by Arnold Machin showing a much younger Queen.
Walter Ott, an artist at the RCM, created the iconic maple leaf image that appears on the reverse of the coin.
The extremely detailed rendering of the maple leaf, one of Canada's national symbols, is done with absolute mastery. It sits at the center of the design. Each and every fold and vein of the leaf is depicted.
Ott's maple leaf design has appeared on the reverse since the Gold Maple Leaf coin made its debut in 1979.
The number "9999" is placed on either side of the leaf. This indicates the purity of the coin, .9999 fine gold.
Canadian Gold Maple Leafs had their purity raised to this "four-nines" .9999 fine gold standard back in 1982. For the first three years of its minting history, the coins were actually .999 fine -- meaning 99.9% pure.
Other inscriptions around the rim include the issuing country "CANADA" at the top rim and "FINE GOLD 1 OZ OR PUR" along the bottom rim, indicating the weight and composition of the coin.
This famous design is now easily recognized around the world. It is well-known among bullion traders and is used by many banks and institutional investors (such as hedge funds, big banks, and other financial firms).
There is another clear benefit to this: Familiarity with the Gold Maple Leaf increases the liquidity of the coin.
A great deal of trust is associated with the Royal Canadian Mint in the marketplace. The RCM has a proven track record of exceptional quality and an emphasis on anti-counterfeiting measures.
It's not a stretch for the RCM to call the Gold Maple Leaf the most secure bullion coin in the world and the pinnacle of anti-counterfeiting technology.
Different Gold Maple Leaf Varieties
There are an incredible number of special varieties of the Gold Maple. The same is true of its cousin, the 1 oz Silver Maple Leaf.
This is one of the distinguishing features of the series: Most bullion coin series only offer a limited number of options for collectors. State mints will usually strike the same design with a proof finish, which imparts a frosting effect to the relief devices and a mirrored quality to the field of the coin.
By contrast, the Royal Canadian Mint has come up with a rather impressive array of collectible Gold Maple Leaf coins over the years.
One of the most astounding of these varieties was minted in 2007. The RCM struck the biggest-ever Gold Maple Leafs, weighing in at an astonishing 100 kilograms.
Just five of these "Big Maple Leafs" were produced. They were minted-to-order for some very wealthy customers. Some have been loaned to museums, and one was presented to the Queen of England.
Each coin is actual legal tender with a C$1 million face value (roughly $790,000 in terms of USD). However, the melt value of the gold is about $4 million.
Unbelievably, one of the Big Maples was actually stolen from a German museum in March of 2017.
To date, it is the second-largest gold coin in the world. The Big Maple Leaf is surpassed only by the massive Australian Gold Nugget coin minted in 2011 that contains one metric ton (35,700 troy ounces!) of pure gold.
Its face value is A$1 million (approximately $780,000 USD), but the intrinsic value of the underlying gold is over $50 million.
Collectible Gold Maple Coins
There have been Gold Maple Leafs that celebrate special anniversaries, such as the 10th, 20th, and 25th anniversary of the series, as well as important anniversaries in Canadian history.
For instance, there was a Gold Maple Leaf variety that honored the 2010 Winter Olympics, which were held in Vancouver, Canada.
A few times, the Royal Canadian Mint produced Gold Maple Leaf coins that featured colorized devices or holograms. It has experimented with these techniques, and many others, for Canada's various collectible coin series.
Privy marks are one of the most widely used features that makes a Gold Maple a special collectible. These are small images that are added to a corner of the design or placed somewhere in the field of the coin.
The RCM has used privy marks of various animals, themes, and symbols on Gold Maple coins during the last two decades.
Different Maple Leaf Sizes
Some of the more recently issued fractional Gold Maple Leafs have used different design variations, changing the number of leaves on the coin to two or three.
In addition to the standard 1 oz size, the coin also comes in fractional sizes of 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/2 oz.
There are even Gold Maple Leafs as small as one gram. They are known as "MapleGrams."
Each of the fractionals have different face values, as well.
The standard Gold Maple contains 1 troy ounce of gold content by weight and has a nominal legal tender face value of 50 dollars (C$).
There was also a 1/25-oz size in the past.
Yet another variety is known as the Call of the Wild series, which uses .99999 fine gold. (That's 99.999% pure.) The coins are considered special edition Gold Maple Leaf coins, although they do not bear an image of a maple leaf in the design -- except as the micro-engraved security mark.
The Call of the Wild gold coin series has included a Howling Wolf, Growling Cougar, Roaring Grizzly, as well as an Elk and Golden Eagle.
Canadian Gold Maple Leaf: Flagship Bullion Coin of the Royal Canadian Mint
No other coins quite define the RCM like the Gold and Silver Maple Leafs.
However, the mint traces back its history to 1908, when it struck its first coin. Back then, it was a branch mint for the Royal Mint in the U.K., located in Ottawa.
In just a few years, it began refining gold that was being mined in the Yukon territory. By the 1930s, it was wholly under Canadian (rather than British) operation.
Today, the mint has expanded to two branch facilities: one is located in Winnipeg and the other is in Ottawa.
Although the mint achieved the capacity to refine gold to 99.99% pure (.9999 fine) back in the 1960s, the Gold Maple Leaf became the world's first "four-nines" gold bullion coin ever in 1982.
By offering different sizes of the Gold Maple, the RCM not only builds continuity for its flagship bullion coin series, but it also gives investors more flexibility in choosing how much gold they would like to buy at a time.
Some investors may choose the smaller fractional sizes as a method for slowly accumulating gold -- perhaps if they are structuring their purchases on a monthly basis.
Gainesville Coins carries Gold Maple Leaf coins from a variety of different dates. This includes coins from the current year as well as backdates of Maples from previous years. Buy your 2018 1 oz Canadian Gold Maple Leaf (Brilliant Uncirculated) while they remain in our inventory!