Canada’s first gold coins released 35 years today were a runaway success for the Royal Canadian Mint because of its purity.
A proclamation in 1914 had prohibited the Canadian mint, then a branch of the Royal Mint, from issuing gold coins.
In 1979, the Mint began producing its own branded bullion coins, which feature a Maple Leaf on the reverse. Since 1979, the fineness of the gold used to strike to the Gold Maple Leaf (GML) coins has increased from .999 to .9999, and, finally, to .99999 (for a special series from 2007–2009).
In addition, GMLs are produced in fractional sizes: 1 ounce, 1⁄2 ounce, 1⁄4 ounce, 1⁄10 ounce, 1⁄15 ounce, 1⁄20 ounce, 1⁄25 ounce, and in sets that combine some or all of these weights.
Special edition designs have commemorated the tenth anniversary of the GML (1989), the 125th anniversary of the RCMP (1997) and the 25th anniversary of the GML (1994). A three-coin set was released to commemorate the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games (2008–2010) and a fractional GML set was issued in 2011 to commemorate the centennial of the Mint’s gold refinery.
Renowned for its unrivalled purity, the Mint’s Gold Maple Leaf remains one of the world’s most popular bullion coins.
In 2007 the Royal Canadian Mint produced the world’s first million dollar coin. According to the mint’s website, the 100 kg, 99999 pure gold bullion coin with a $1 million face value was originally conceived as a unique showpiece to promote the Mint’s new line of 99999 pure 1 oz Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins.
After several interested buyers came forward, the Mint decided to make a very limited quantity available for sale. To date, five of these majestic gold bullion coins, weighing 3,215 troy ounces each, have been purchased by investors from Canada and abroad.
In October 2007, the Million Dollar Coin was certified by Guinness World Records to be the world’s largest gold coin. The coins are manufactured at the Mint’s Ottawa facility, where the Mint operates world-class gold and silver refineries, securely stores gold bullion and mints all Royal Canadian Mint gold bullion products and collector coins.
The reverse features an elegant, hand-polished maple leaf design by Royal Canadian Mint artist and senior engraver Stan Witten, and the obverse bears the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by celebrated Canadian portrait artist Susanna Blunt.