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What is a Maple Leaf?

Published on 1/11/2021 by APMEX

What is a Maple Leaf?

Where are Canadian Maple Leafs Produced?

The Canadian Mint’s original refinery was completed in 1911. It rendered distinguished service to the British Empire throughout the Great War, producing the vast quantities of Gold bars with which Britain paid its debts to other countries.

A new refinery facility, designed to meet any possible demand for many years to come, was built in 1936 to refine Gold for mines and central banks throughout the world. Still in operation today, the refinery has produced .9999 fine Gold bars since 1969. In 1982, it became the world’s first refinery to manufacture .9999 fine Gold bullion coins. Then in 1999, the Mint excelled again by being the first to achieve .99999 fine Gold purity. The Royal Canadian Mint’s magnificent history reached a new height in 2007 with the Guinness World Records certification of the largest coin in the world: the 100 kilo, .99999 fine $1 million Gold bullion coin.

What is a Gold Maple Leaf?

The Gold Maple Leaf is the official bullion coin series of the Royal Canadian Mint and the Canadian nation. Introduced in 1979, these were the first coins in the world to rival the South African Krugerrand. The Gold Krugerrand had no competition concerning Gold coins struck strictly for investment purposes. The Gold Maple challenged the Krugerrand’s market dominance, followed by the American Gold Eagle in 1986.

In 1979, the Royal Canadian Mint began the production of Gold bullion, with $50-denomination Gold Maple Leaf one-ounce coins. They were .999 fine, guaranteed by the Government of Canada for weight and purity, and before long, they became one of the world’s most popular fine Gold coins. Since these Canadian Gold coins were introduced in 1979, they have been in high demand. These Canadian classics come in a variety of sizes, including 1 oz1/2 oz1/4 oz1/10 oz1/20 oz and 1 gram. Each coin is legal Canadian Gold tender guaranteed by the Government of Canada for its weight and purity. At up to .99999 fine Gold, Maple Leaf coins are sought after for their premium Gold content and beautiful design.

There are few Gold coins more popular than the Gold Maple Leaf from the Royal Canadian Mint. Struck annually, the Gold Maple is produced on a grand scale by the Royal Canadian Mint. Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins are among the most secure bullion coins in the world. The Bullion DNA program offers the highest security on the market for any bullion coin. Each bullion coin features a textured maple leaf security privy mark, micro-engraved with laser technology, and is visible only under magnification. Etched within the maple leaf security mark are the two digits indicating the coin’s production year. Each micro-engraving is encoded, scanned, and recorded at the Mint for future authentication, giving each coin their unique Bullion DNA.

This process provides each Maple Leaf coin with the highest security for any coin in the marketplace. The Royal Canadian Mint’s unique Bullion DNA program authenticates Gold Maple Leaf coins dated 2015 and later. APMEX is a recognized Bullion DNA dealer for trusted Royal Canadian Mint products.

Design of the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf

The reverse of all Gold Canadian Maple Leaf coins features the image of the iconic maple leaf. This has been the same image on these fine Gold coins since its introduction in 1979. It has been altered to add security measures, notably radial lines and a microscopic maple leaf privy featured in the Bullion DNA program.

The obverse of all Gold Canadian Maple Leaf coins features the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. On the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, three different personifications of Her Majesty’s profile have graced the fine Gold coin. These include the following:

  • 1979 to 1989 – The image of Queen Elizabeth II at 39 years of age.
  • 1990 to 2004 – The image of Queen Elizabeth II at 64 years of age.
  • 2005 to Current – The image of Queen Elizabeth II at 79 years of age.

What is a Silver Maple Leaf?

First minted in 1988 and struck every year since, Maple Leaf coins hold 1 oz of fine Silver. Minted in .9999 fine Silver, they are among the finest of all Silver dollar-size coins. Maple Leafs are gorgeously designed, with attention to every intricate detail. The design has undergone changes that include proof releases, numerous privy marks, holographic enhancements and commemorative variations. However, the essential features of the .9999 fine Silver coin have remained the same since its inception. The obverse of the coin depicts the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, and the reverse of the coin showcases the signature maple leaf so closely associated with Canadian patriotism and reflective of national pride.

The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf's obverse displays the profile of Elizabeth II. There have been three subsequent versions of the Queen's profile:

  • 1988 – 1989: Portrait by Arnold Machin.
  • 1990 – 2003: Portrait by Dora de Pédery-Hunt.
  • 2004 – present: Portrait by Susanna Blunt.

Struck annually, the Silver Maple is produced on a grand scale by the Royal Canadian Mint. Silver Maple Leaf bullion coins are among the most secure bullion coins in the world. The mintage of this popular Canadian series has varied since the Maple Leaf was introduced - beginning with 1,155,931 in 1988 and expanding to as much as 29,245,000 in 2014.

What is a Platinum Maple Leaf?

One of the three major Platinum bullion coins, the Platinum Canadian Maple Leaf proofs have long been the standard Platinum coin in Platinum trading for decades. First minted in 1988, the Canadian Platinum Maple Leaf is produced by the Royal Canadian Mint. During their mintage between 1988 and 2002, Canadian Platinum Maple Leafs were available in 1 oz and many fractional sizes. In 2009, the mint reintroduced the Platinum Maple Leaf in only the 1 oz size. Legal Canadian tender, the Platinum Maple Leafs are .9995 fine Platinum and have a face value of $50 CAD.

All 1 oz Platinum coins produced by the Royal Canadian Mint since 2015 feature a light diffracting pattern of radial lines. Platinum Canadian Maple Leaf Proofs struck from 2015 onward also feature micro-engraved maple leaf privy mark, which shows the last two digits of the production year when magnified.

Platinum Canadian Maple Leaf Weights

  • 1 oz Platinum Maple Leafs: 1 oz Canadian Platinum Maple Leafs were minted between 1988 and 2002, and resumed minting in 2009.
  • 1/2 oz Platinum Maple Leafs: 1/2 oz Canadian Platinum Maple Leafs were minted between 1988 and 2002.
  • 1/4 oz Platinum Maple Leafs: 1/4 oz Canadian Platinum Maple Leafs were minted between 1988 and 2002.
  • 1/10 oz Platinum Maple Leafs: 1/10 oz Canadian Platinum Maple Leafs were minted between 1988 and 2002.
  • 1/20 of Platinum Maple Leafs: 1/20 oz Canadian Platinum Maple Leafs were minted between 1993 and 2002.

What is a Palladium Maple Leaf?

First minted in November 2005, the Palladium Maple Leaf coin is the latest addition to the Maple Leaf bullion coin series issued by the Royal Canadian Mint. The Palladium Maple Leaf is the first Palladium product introduced by the Royal Canadian Mint. Guaranteed by the Canadian Government for weight, purity and face value, the Palladium Maple Leaf is legal Canadian tender with a face value of 50 Canadian dollars. Moreover, the Palladium Maple Leafs are struck in .9995 fine Palladium.

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