The price of Canadian Gold Maple Leafs is determined by their 24 karat gold content. The introduction of the 24 karat Gold Maple Leaf coin in 1979 by the Royal Canadian Mint marked a major change in the investment gold production industry. Until 1979, all popular gold coins were made with alloys containing other metals. The reason gold coins have been minted for centuries in this manner is because pure gold is exceptionally soft, thus coins made out of pure gold would be unfit for circulation since they would be prone to dents and scratches. The idea behind introducing the Gold Maple Leaf coin was the belief that investors would in the future rather hoard physical gold as a form of long-term savings than use it for settling commercial transactions, thus the need for handling would become unnecessary. To some extent this assumption has proven to be correct since in recent years the global sales of legal tender 24 karat gold coins have outpaced the sales of similar gold coins of 22 karats. Although the Gold Maple Leaf was the world’s first gold coin to be exclusively made of pure gold, the coin originally contained a purity of only .999. By witnessing the success of the coin, the Royal Canadian Mint decided to make another world first by improving the coin’s purity to a gold fineness of four nines. After 1982, all minted Gold Maple Leaf coins have reached a purity of .9999.
The Royal Canadian Mint
Established in 1908, the Royal Canadian Mint has in the past couple of decades been one of the market leaders in applying new technologies in the production of gold and silver bullion coins. Not only did it create the first legal tender silver and gold bullion coins that contained a purity of four nines, they went one step further in 1998 with the introduction of a special edition gold bullion coin that contained 1.02233 troy ounces of 99.999% (five nines) pure gold. The mint’s quest in perfecting high purity gold coins did not stop at the one-ounce weight mark. In fact, it reached new heights in 2007 by unveiling a Gold Maple Leaf coin that weighed 100 kilograms, had a gold purity of .99999, and came with a face value of one million Canadian dollars.
In 2014 the Royal Canadian Mint set a new standard in coin security with the introduction of its latest innovation called “Bullion DNA Anti-Counterfeiting Technology” which includes a process where a unique microscopic security mark is minted onto every coin. The centre of the security mark contains the number “14” (for the year 2014) and is only visible under strong magnification. This new technology adds another layer of protection against counterfeiting, and all Gold Maple Leaf coins minted from 2014 onwards will contain this new security feature.