In 1982, the Royal Canadian Mint elevated the gold purity standards of the precious metals industry by releasing the first-ever bullion coin comprised of one troy ounce of 99.99% pure gold. Containing no base metals, this coin also represented the first time a 24-karat gold bullion coin had been created by a government mint. It was called the Gold Maple Leaf, and in the three years prior to that record-breaking release, the gold bullion coin had only boasted a typical purity rating of .999. In the time that has passed between the introduction of that original coin in 1979 and the announcement of the 2017 coin’s release this year, more than 25 million troy ounces of Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins have been sold into the market. As the official gold bullion coin of Canada, the Gold Maple Leaf’s prestige remains an unwavering constant as its popularity continues to increasingly boom with each passing year of issue.
The coin carries a face value of CA$50, and under the Canadian Currency Act of 1985, it is legal tender backed by the government of Canada. Every single Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin is produced exclusively out of gold that originated in Canadian mines, and the purity, weight, and content of each coin is concurrently guaranteed by both the RCM and the Canadian government. With the successful passage of the Royal Canadian Mint Act of 1985, Gold Maple Leafs were officially recognized as “non-circulating bullion coins.”
The 2017 Canadian Gold Maple Leaf signifies the Royal Canadian Mint’s next significant step in advancing the precious metals industry through the annual release of this iconic 1-ounce gold bullion coin. And now, after already elevating the level of gold purity standards to previously uncharacteristic heights, the RCM is revolutionizing the arena of bullion coin authentication and counterfeit defense. Every Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin issued in 2017 and beyond will be enhanced with the Royal Canadian Mint’s three state-of-the-art security advancements: a micro-engraved maple leaf authenticity mark, a light-diffracting radial pattern, and Bullion DNA Anti-Counterfeiting Technology. Award-winning security technology, in the form of a minuscule mark that resides in the negative space located on the lower right corner of the coin’s reverse, protects the authenticity of the newly released 2017 Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin. Micro-engraved onto the coin with a laser, the mark consists of the year-of-issue numeral, “17,” only visible under magnification, enclosed within an intricately textured maple leaf. The specificity and size of the mark allow it to function as a point of inspection to use when validating a Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin as genuine.
Incorporated into the design of both the obverse and the reverse of the coin, a light-diffracting pattern of radial lines emanates in the remaining negative space of the background. Functioning as more than just an artistic addition, the precise pattern uses the specificity and exactness of its line width and pitch to provide a powerful defense against the counterfeit reproduction of Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins. The Royal Canadian Mint ensures that the pattern is exactly reproduced with every single die and on every single coin through meticulous machining processes and master tooling that has been perfected to within microns. Unlike any current counterfeit defense tools in the precious metals industry, Bullion DNA Anti-Counterfeiting Technology – DNA meaning “digital non-destructive activation” – is an unprecedented registration system that utilizes security marks, algorithm encryption, and proprietary software to individually identify and instantly authenticate Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins. Although many of the modern security enhancements and additions were incorporated directly into the coin’s long-standing design, tradition has been preserved in the time-honored subjects of its obverse and reverse: the iconic Canadian maple leaf and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The 2017 coin, as with all of its predecessors, features the original maple leaf reverse design that has remained practically unaltered since its original appearance on the RCM’s first Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin. With sharp borders, crisp veins, and deep shadowing, the impeccably realistic maple leaf illustration is the focal point of the reverse. The embossed maple leaf is interposed between the duplicated numeral arrangement “9999,” which denotes the percentage of pure gold in the 1-ounce coin. “Canada,” the coin’s country of origin, arches across the top of the circular frame, mirrored on the bottom by the specifications of the coin inscribed in both English and French: “Fine Gold 1 Oz Or Pur.” A classic right-facing portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graces the obverse of the Gold Maple Leaf bullion coin. It is Her Majesty’s most recent effigy, designed in 2003 by Canadian artist Susanna Blunt, and it is proudly pictured on the obverse of all current Canadian coins. This representation stands out when compared to past portraits of the Queen, as she opted to forgo wearing the royal crown in observance of the relaxed style that her father, King George VI, decided to embrace in his 1937 effigy. The regal image is surrounded by the Queen’s name, “Elizabeth II,” the coin’s Canadian face value of “50 Dollars,” and the year of issue, “2017.”
The 1-ounce Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is 30 mm in diameter and 2.79 mm thick.