Most people have heard that the American penny costs more to manufacture than it’s worth, but Canada really has them beaten. In 2007, the country unveiled an enormous, 100kg gold coin with a face value of 1 million Canadian dollars and a metal value of around 5 million of the same (or about $3.8 million American). Then, somebody stole it. On Wednesday, German police arrested two people they believe to have been involved in the heist.
The Gold Maple Leaf coin that authorities have been hunting was stolen back in March from the Bode Museum in Berlin, where it had been on loan since 2010. It would seem that the thieves knew exactly what they were after. According to a museum spokesman, the burglars entered through a window, broke into the cabinet that housed the coin, and left. Authorities say that they proceeded to drop the coin into a wheelbarrow and roll it across a railway bridge to a waiting getaway car.
Masked police officers in Berlin raided multiple homes on Wednesday, taking two men were taken into custody with their faces obscured, but the coin has not been located. Though authorities say that they are still searching the homes, they fear that the coin may have been melted down for its gold. That would explain why the thieves went after that one coin and nothing else—it’s way easier to offload 100 kilos of gold than it is to fence a priceless painting.
Measuring one inch thick with a diameter of over 20 inches, the coin was one of only five and had the highest metal value of the limited edition, boasting 99.999 per cent purity.
It’s believed that the coin was likely damaged in the heist because of a large impact mark below the window that the burglars escaped through. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, the collection’s director Bernhard Weisser said that he hopes to display the coin again regardless of its condition. And honestly, why not? Being part of a daring heist just makes it cooler. [CBS News, Deutsche Welle]