by Greg Klein | March 27, 2017, updated March 28, 2017
A 100-kilogram Maple Leaf gold coin seems destined for meltdown following a daring heist at Berlin’s Bode Museum. With a face value of $1 million but worth over four times that amount at today’s prices, it’s one of five identical coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint.
Thieves entered the building between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. March 27, according to a museum statement.
“We are shocked that the burglars overcame our security systems, which have been successfully protecting our objects for many years,” said Michael Eissenhauer, director general for the State Museums of Berlin. “We hope that the perpetrators will be caught and the precious coin will be returned undamaged.”
The museum requested tips from anyone who’s been offered deals on large volumes of gold.
Due to superior security or less brazen bandits, other million-dollar Maple Leafs have survived Canadian museums. Victoria’s Royal B.C. Museum hosted the numismatic oddity in 2015 at the Gold Rush! El Dorado in British Columbia exhibit, before the show’s artefacts went to Gatineau’s Canadian Museum of History last spring.
That Maple Leaf belongs to its creator, the Royal Canadian Mint. “We don’t know who owns the coin stolen in Berlin but we can confirm that it’s not the Mint’s,” Alex Reeves of RCM external communications informed ResourceClips.com. “Our own coin is safe and sound in our Ottawa vaults.” The Mint doesn’t reveal the other owners’ names, Reeves added.
Making no secret of its ownership, Barrick Gold TSX:ABX displays its Maple Leaf in the company’s section of the Teck Suite of Galleries at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. A ROM spokesperson declined to discuss security arrangements.
The Ottawa mint has itself been victim of a heist, although not a caper likely to inspire admiration. Last month former employee Leston Lawrence was sentenced to 30 months and ordered to repay $190,000 or serve an additional 30 months. The court heard he snuck something like 22 gold “pucks,” weighing around 7.4 ounces each, out of his workplace and into the hands of buyers.
Among the evidence was a tube of Vaseline found in his locker. He smuggled the contraband in his rectum.