The Royal Canadian Mint is one of the most technologically sophisticated Mints in the world. It routinely strikes coins with .9999 fine gold and .99999 fine gold content. These "four nines" and "five nines" gold coins are among the purest gold coins in the world. In fact, very few Mints have managed to match the Royal Canadian Mint's five nines gold purity. The Canadian Gold Maple Leaf is one of Canada's most prominent gold coins.
The Royal Canadian Mint was established as a branch of Britain's Royal Mint in Ottawa, Canada to refine the gold flowing out of gold rushes in the Yukon and British Columbia. In 1908, the Ottawa Branch of the Royal Mint, as it was known at the time, struck its first Gold Sovereign, displaying a portrait of King Edward VII and St. George slaying the dragon. The Gold Sovereigns struck in Canada are exactly the same as those struck in countless other Mints on five continents, with the exception of the Canada "C" mintmark found below St. George on the reverse. Only 636 of these 1908 Gold Sovereigns were struck.
The only Gold Sovereigns struck at Ottawa are those from Edward VII (1908-1910) and George V (1911-1919). The rarest Canadian Gold Sovereign of them all is the 1916, with only about 20 known to exist.
In 1912, the Mint began producing $5 and $10 gold coins with the same weight and purity as the U.S. gold coins of the day. Just recently, a famous hoard of these historic Canadian gold coins surfaced in an unusual place—the vault at the Bank of Canada, where 300,000 gold coins were first sequestered in 1935.
The coins are the vintage Canada gold coins struck a hundred years ago and denominated in dollars. They're the 1912, 1913 and 1914 Royal Canadian Gold Hoard $5 and $10 George V coins. This find shocked the numismatic community, and stackers in Canada immediately snapped up these gold coins. However, there was even more shocking news to come: the Canadian government announced that after the sale, the remainder of the coins would be melted. This find garnered attention around the world, with numerous articles written about the hoard in newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal.
The striking of these $5 and $10 gold coins ceased in 1914 and was never resumed. The Mint didn't strike another gold coin until 1967 when it minted a $20 Gold Proof commemorating the anniversary of the country's centennial.
The Mint began production of its signature gold coin, the 1 oz. Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, in 1979. It's named after the prominent leaf displayed on the coin's reverse every year. The Mint added more denominations to its popular Gold Maple Leafs over the years, producing them in Half-Gram, Tenth-Ounce, Quarter-Ounce and Half-Ounce sizes, in addition to the One Troy Ounce size.
In recent years the Mint has added numerous gold coins to its repertoire, including high face value high gold content coins. This combination of high legal tender value and high gold value started a trend that is growing in popularity around the world.