Gold coin packed with 1,000 bitcoins now worth an estimated $48M US

Described by PCGS interim president as ‘a new Goliath,’ coin was purchased in 2011 for only $4,905 US

Unseen for a decade, a one-ounce gold coin with a denomination of 1,000 bitcoins (BTC) is now believed to be one of the world’s most valuable numismatic items.

Purchased in December 2011 for $4,905 US, the coin is worth $48 million US (about $60 million Cdn.) at the BTC value as of Oct. 4.

Despite this lofty sum, however, Australia minted a 1,000-kilogram gold coin in 2019, and with gold’s spot price at about $56,600 US (about $70,545 Cdn.) a kilogram, the Aussie coin would currently command $56.6 million US (about $70.5 million Cdn.).

On behalf of its anonymous owner, GreatCollections Coin Auctions, based in Irvine, Calif., submitted the gold coin “under armed guard” for certification with Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), according to a statement issued by the auction house earlier this week. It has since been certified Proof-70 “DCAM” (deep cameo).

“This is the greatest return on investment for any numismatic item, a staggering 9,786 times the purchase price in just ten years,” said Ian Russell, the president of GreatCollections. “It may be the world’s greatest investment in that time span.”

Ian Russell, the president of GreatCollections in Irvine, Calif., holds the gold-plated 25-bitcoin piece to be offered in an unreserved auction this November.

Its value tops even the most classic U.S. rarities, including the 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle recently auctioned by Sotheby’s for $18.8 million US or the Sultan of Muscat 1804 “Draped Bust” dollar GreatCollections recently purchased on behalf of a client at an auction for $7.6 million US.

A gold-plated 25-bitcoin coin certified as Mint State-67 will be offered in an unreserved auction closing on Nov. 14.

‘THE GOLD CAS’

The cryptocurrency community refers to the 1,000-BTC piece as “the Gold Cas,” a reference to “Casascius”, the brand of BTC coins produced from 2011-13.

The company was launched to create physical “Casascius coins” in increments of 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, 25, 100 and 1,000 BTC, and it also produced some BTC ingots. 

Only six gold 1,000-BTC Casascius coins were made, and four of them, including the one owned by Russell’s client, have yet to be redeemed.

“This coin is set apart in its cultural significance in merging the worlds of cryptocurrency and traditional numismatics,” said PCGS Interim President Stephanie Sabin. “Combine this with the staggering value of the Bitcoins it contains and we have a new Goliath.”

The gold coin is dated “2012 CASASCIUS.” The legend on the obverse includes “1 TROY OZ .999 FINE GOLD” and the motto, “VIRES IN NUMERIS,” Latin for STRENGTH IN NUMBERS. There is a multi-coloured tamper-resistant hologram design on the reverse. It was the first one produced by Casascius.

There have been rumours the presumed founder of the BTC currency, Satoshi Nakamoto, owns iconic BTC items such as the “Gold Cas,” but Russell said the coin’s current owner is not Nakamoto.

“The $48 million coin now resides in an overseas bank vault, and it’s unlikely to ever be redeemed or spent as Bitcoin, but you may be able to see it in person someday,” Russell said.

GreatCollections is discussing with the owner publicly displaying the coin at an upcoming coin convention.

While the 1,000-BTC gold coin is not for sale, Russell is offering a gold-plated 25-BTC coin certified as Mint State-67 by PCGS. GreatCollections will offer the coin in an unreserved auction closing on Nov. 14.

“Bidding will start at $1, although I anticipate this 25 BTC will sell for more than $1 million,” Russell said.

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