Golden coin stolen in Berlin
This week's blog entry sees one of the materials used in some of our custom awards making headlines across the globe. A Canadian gold coin nicknamed Big Maple Leaf was stolen from Berlin’s Bode Museum on the 27th of March and has left police and the world baffled. This is no ordinary coin and certainly not one that could be lost behind the back of a sofa.
For centuries gold has been coveted for both its metallurgical and aesthetic properties. It is estimated that there are 155,244 tonnes of gold in the world. To put that in context, Warren Buffet visualised a cube of around 20 metres that would contain all of this prized metal.
For over 6,000 years gold has been mined by mankind. The first gold coins were minted in about 550 BC under King Croesus of Lydia - a province in modern-day Turkey - and quickly became accepted payment for merchants and mercenary soldiers around the Mediterranean.
Up until 1492, the year Columbus sailed to America it has been estimated that 12,780 tonnes had been extracted.
Back to Berlin. The Big Maple Leaf is an astounding coin. Made from pure gold and weighing around 100kg, it has a face value of C$1m (£590,000) and is estimated to be worth as much as £3.58 million. What does this kind of money get you? You could pay West Ham Striker Andy Carroll's reported wage of £70,000 per week for almost a year. You could purchase three Bugatti Veyrons or simply rent a one bedroom flat in London.
Minted in 2007 the coin (one of six) measures 3 centimetres thick and 53 centimetres in diameter and has a purity of 99.999%. Why was such a coin made? Well, according to the Royal Canadian Mint the coin was produced simply "because we can". Can't argue with that.
What makes this behemoth unique is not only its record purity (it features in the Guinness Book of Records) but the unusual portrait of the Queen. The Queen, as depicted by Sussana Blunt, appears without a crown or tiara which is exceptionally rare as there is only one other coin produced by the Royal Canadian Mint that depicts the Queen in a similar fashion.
The Bode Museum is famous for its collection of coins and has one of the world’s largest coin collections, with more than 540,000 items. Police are unsure as to the method of entry to the museum but it is thought that the thieves used a ladder and entered from the back near a railway track.