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Released in 1982 by the Royal Canadian Mint, the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin was the first .9999 pure gold bullion coin in the world. Prior to that date, between 1979 and 1982, the 1-ounce gold bullion coins were .999 pure. The 2016 Canadian Gold Maple Leaf continues to hold the same high standards seen in the first coin, containing one troy ounce of 99.99% pure gold, the equivalent to 24 karats, and no base metals. The government of Canada guarantees the purity, weight, and content of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin, and it is produced exclusively out of gold from Canadian mines. Established as legal tender under the Canadian Currency Act of 1985 and distinguished as “non-circulating bullion coins” under the Royal Canadian Mint Act of 1985, the Canadian Gold Maple holds a face value of 50 Canadian dollars, backed by the Canadian government.
The obverse of the 2016 Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin features the most recent effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In the right-facing portrait, designed by Canadian artist Susanna Blunt in 2003, Her Majesty is portrayed without her crown, a choice that was also made by her father, George VI, in his 1937 effigy. Engraved around her image is the face value of the coin, the year of its minting, and Her Majesty’s name, “Elizabeth II.”
The maple leaf has been displayed as a symbol of Canada since the eighteenth century, but it gained recognition as the official emblem of Canada in 1965 when it was placed on the nation’s flag. In unison with the Silver and Platinum Maple Leaf bullion coins, the reverse of the 2016 Canadian Gold Maple Leaf features the RCM’s original 1988 maple leaf engraving. The maple leaf illustration is profoundly depicted with sharp borders, crisp veins, and deep shadowing. “Canada” reads boldly across the top, following the curvature of the coin in the same style as the English and French listing of the coin’s purity at the bottom: “Fine Gold 1 Oz Or Pur.” The numeral arrangement “9999” appears on both the left and the right of the maple leaf to further signify the rate of the gold’s purity. The design of the reverse has remained practically unaltered since its original release.
To enhance the security of the coin, light radial lines emanate in the background of both the reverse and the obverse of the coin. Meticulous machining processes and micron measurements allow the line width and pitch of the precise pattern to be exactly the same on every coin. Thus, the addition of this background results in a substantial reduction of the feasibility of counterfeit reproduction. To further protect the authenticity of the Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin, a small maple leaf mark is micro-engraved with laser technology onto the coin’s reverse. The number “16,” only visible under magnification, is located in the center of the textured maple leaf to indicate the coin’s year of issue.
The 1-ounce Canadian Gold Maple is 30 mm in diameter and 2.79 mm thick.