The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is the bullion coin of Canada produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. The brainchild of Walter Ott, it is the purest gold coin of regular issue in the world, with a gold content of .9999 millesimal fineness (24 carats). It was the second government issued gold coin to become available, after the South African Krugerrand.
The coin is offered in 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, and 1 oz denominations and is guaranteed to contain the stated amount (in troy ounces) of .9999 fine gold (24 carat). The coins have legal tender status in Canada, but as is often the case with bullion coins, the face values of these coins ($1, $5, $10, $20 and $50) are purely symbolic and are much lower than their true market value.
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The official gold bullion coin of Canada is The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin which was minted for the first time in 1979 by the Royal Canadian Mint. Before this coin was minted, the only other bullion coin used was the Krugerrand which was not widely available. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin had a purity of 0.999 fineness. In other words, it had almost no base materials at all. This coin was designed by Walter Ott and was one of the purest gold coins in the world at the time. The coin was offered in many denominations ranging from 1/20 oz to 1 oz.
In November 1982, The Royal Canadian Mint became the first world mint to commercially start manufacturing 99.99% pure gold coins as it introduced a new range of Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins with 0.9999 fineness. This resulted in the Gold Maple Leaf getting instant recognition in the bullion coin market and till today it still remains the most recognized and one of the most sought after coins in the bullion markets. Since pure gold coins are especially soft, the Maple Leaf emblem on the coin can get easily scratched and so it requires great care when handling as a scratched Maple Leaf gold coin would have a lower resell value.
In 2007, the Royal Canadian Mint unveiled a new Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin which had a face value of $1,000,000. This coin was 3cm thick, had a diameter of 50cm, weighed 100kgs and had a gold fineness of 0.99999. It was created and designed by Stanley Witten.
— CTV News (@CTVNews) March 28, 2017
Apart from minting gold coins that would be used within the country itself, The Royal Canadian Mint has also reached an agreement with the International Olympic Committee to print Olympic Gold Maple Leaf coins. This will allow the Royal Canadian Mint to mint gold coins emblazoned with the Maple Leaf in time for the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010.
Little known fact: during 1876-1901, the maple leaf appeared on all Canadian coins, including the penny, nickle, dime and quarter.