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One of the most brazen of robberies has taken place at the Bode Museum in Berlin as a huge gold coin weighing in at 100 kilograms, and worth $4.5 million has been stolen.
The Big Maple Leaf gold coin is a commemorative issue coin that the Royal Canadian Mint issued in 2007, and was only produced in limited quantities in the promotion of the new line of bullion coins. The coin was put on display at the museum in December 2010 and has remained there since. It was loaned to the museum by a private collector.
The gold Maple Leaf coin is 3cm in thickness and has a diameter or 53cm. The face value of the gold coin is said to be $1 million, however, when going on weight, at the market prices of today, it would be worth around $4.5 million.
The Bode Museum is situated on Museum Island in the capital of Germany and is UNESCO listed, it is home to the biggest collection of coins in the world. The museum is said to hold around 102,000 ancient Greek coins along with 50,000 coins from Rome.
A spokesperson said that the daring thieves entered the museum at around 3.30am, through a window. They then forced their way into a cabinet and stole the Big Maple Leaf gold coin and managed to make their escape before police arrived at the scene.
Through Twitter police said that the intruders most likely made use of a ladder that was thought to have come from a rail track nearby. Rail traffic was brought to a standstill while police searched the area for clues. The police have not said how the thieves managed to carry the heavy gold coin away from the museum without being seen. They were also baffled as to why no alarms had been triggered.
The Big Maple Leaf coin was featured in the Guinness Book of Records thanks to the purity of the gold, which is 999.99/1000. The coin features an engraving of Queen Elizabeth II on one of its sides, while on the other is a maple leaf.
Police don’t know if the gold coin is now lying in one of the commercial bank vaults in the city. Recently vaults saw a big drop in gold deposits as much of the gold was moved to private vaults in China during recent years and replaced by paper claims.
Specialist detectives in art crimes are continuing their investigation.