By Avril-Ann Braganza/MUMBAI
On a recent visit to the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa, Avril-Ann Braganza discovers a wealth of numismatic history
What would you do with a 100-kilo (99.999% pure) gold bullion coin twith a $1 million face value? Lock it up in a vault? Perhaps, set it up in a prime spot in your mansion? A Dubai businessman uses it as a coffee table. With the rising price of this yellow metal, his coffee table is now worth $7 million dollars. Let’s go back to the time when the Royal Canadian Mint’s refinery was the first to produce 5 nine gold (more pure than 24-carat gold). Believed to be the purest in the world, “to brag,” Cassandra—our guide at the mint in Ottawa—tells us, “in 2007, we made five such million-dollar coins of 5 nine gold, each weighing 220 pounds (100 kg). The first coin is locked away in a vault, while the other four were sold for $2.6 million each—two to anonymous buyers, another to the owner of a mining company in Western Canada (who lends it to different museums, making it the only one on display) and the last to the Dubai businessman mentioned above.
Their feat got the Royal Canadian Mint a prized place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest and purest coin. However, Australia actually made a 1,000-kilo coin, but with 4 nine gold, and so, it is the Canadian mint that still boasts of producing the much purer coin. In addition, in 2011, the mint also issued a 10-kilo 99999-pure gold collector coin with a $1,00,000 face value, featuring an ultra-high relief design of a West Coast native art sculpture. No more than 15 of these exclusive coins were crafted for collectors of both fine art and the finest gold in the world.