2403.21
18.46
28.88
0.50
948.75
0.71
1060
9.01

How to Buy Canadian Maple Leaf Bullion Coins

Posted on May 12, 2022

silver maple leaf

Canadian maple leaf bullion coins are among the most recognizable and desirable bullion coins in the world. Renowned for both its purity and its high-tech, unparalleled security features, the Canadian maple leaf bullion coin is made by the world-class and internationally-respected Royal Canadian Mint (RCM).

In this article, we’ll teach you how to buy Canadian maple leaf bullion coins and everything you need to know about these staples of the precious metals market. 

What is bullion?

“Bullion” refers to a  precious metal object with a high purity level, typically 0.995+ Bullion is typically produced and traded in the form of bars, coins, and rounds of many shapes and sizes. But regardless of design, bullion coins are valued primarily by their weight of metal. Bullion is bought and sold without much regard for its condition or rarity or collectible value – simply as an amount of metal. If you’ve taken economics, you might recognize this description as another way of saying fungible

You may have also heard of proof coins, which are both similar and different.  Proof coins are collector’s items, minted in limited quantities with a greater level of detail and care than bullion coins, with a special high-polish finish. Since proof coins are rarer, require vastly more labor to produce, and have more crisp and clear designs, they carry a higher price tag than ordinary bullion coins. They may also appreciate in aftermarket value based on variables like rarity, condition, collector interest, and so on.

A rule of thumb you can use: Bullion is for investors. Proofs are for collectors. This isn’t an ironclad rule but hopefully clarifies the differences between the two types of coins. 

What is a Canadian maple leaf bullion coin?

A Canadian maple leaf bullion coin is made by the Royal Canadian Mint, featuring an image of the country’s national symbol: the maple leaf. 

The Canadian maple leaf coin is designed to be an innovative investment with advanced security features built right into every coin. Thanks to their decades of minting history, unchanging designs, and massive volume in circulation, Canadian maple leaf coins are immediately recognizable and held in high regard by investors and collectors worldwide. 

What precious metals do maple leafs come in?

Canadian Maple Leaf coins come in four different precious metals: gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. The Royal Canadian Mint began production of the first maple leaf coins in 1979, followed by silver and platinum maple leaf coins in 1988. In 2005, the Royal Canadian Mint added the palladium maple leaf, the newest member of the Canadian maple leaf bullion coin family.

What weights are available for each?

Today, the Canadian maple leaf bullion coins generally come in a standard 1 oz size (the single most popular and most common weight), with the exception of the gold maple leaf coins. There were also very limited mintages of weights over 1 oz, including half a dozen 100 kg million-dollar maple leaves, excluded from the table below.) 

Metal

Purity

Available Weights

Face Value

Gold

99.9% (1979-1981) 99.99% (1982+)

1 g, 1/20 oz, 1/15 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 1 oz

$0.50, $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50

Silver

99.99%

1 oz

$5

Platinum

99.95% (1988-2002), 99.99% (2009)

1 oz

$50

Palladium

99.95%

1 oz

$50

(Note: the lightest fractional gold maple leaf coins, 1 g and 1/20 oz, are extremely hard to find. The 1/15 oz coin was only minted in 1994.)

gold maple leaf coin obverseHow are maple leaf bullion coins designed?

Canadian maple leaf coins are designed with the Royal Canadian Mint’s BULLION DNA technology that enables fast and easy authentication at any dealer who is a member of the program. Other high-tech security features, like laser micro-engravings, make it easier to recognize genuine Canadian maple leaf bullion coins. Canadian maple leaf coins are also made using finely-tuned machines to ensure extreme precision and reproducibility of each coin. 

Aesthetically, the Canadian maple leafs distinguishing characteristic is the large and incredibly-detailed maple leaf on the reverse side, designed by Walter Ott. On the front of the coin, or the obverse side, the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II is pictured. More recent mintages of Canadian maple leafs are also etched with radial lines as an additional anti-counterfeiting feature that lend a certain texture and appearance to these special coins.

How do you choose between these options?

You can use different strategies to choose which Canadian maple leaf bullion coins you want to add to your collection. For most people, the first two barriers are availability and price. If you have a tight budget, you may be limited to silver coins or smaller, fractional gold maple leafs. 

Regardless of your budget, you can only buy available products, which may narrow down your choices since the Canadian maple leaf enjoys very high demand from around the world. Smaller denominations of Canadian maple leaf gold coins can be extremely difficult to find, possibly because of their more accessible price point. For this reason, when they are for sale, they typically command significant premiums over gold’s spot price.

1 oz platinum maple leafThe size and type of your investment can also guide your decision. If your goal is just to hedge against inflation, you may opt for the most traditional path by choosing gold as your safe-haven asset. If you have a greater risk tolerance, perhaps you want to explore platinum or silver, which are known to be more volatile. For some people, buying a variety of these coins is the best option for diversification and flexibility.

When it comes to choosing Canadian maple leaf coins, you also want to think about storage solutions before you make your purchase. While the prices of all four of these metals can fluctuate, silver is significantly less expensive per ounce compared with gold, platinum, and palladium. Therefore, if you buy silver, keep in mind that it will take up considerably more storage space than an investment of equal value in other coins.

Where can you buy Canadian maple leaf coins?

You can buy Canadian maple leaf coins in person from a local coin shop or coin auctions. (Like most government mints, RCM doesn’t sell its bullion maple leaf coins to the general public.) For most people, a better choice for buying Canadian maple leaf coins is online. A trusted bullion dealer is the best way to buy Canadian maple leafs. Another way to buy online is from auction sites such as eBay. However, purchasing bullion from auction websites with third-party sellers poses some risks. 

What else should you consider?

There are a few considerations you should bear in mind when buying Canadian maple leaf coins. One of the most overlooked challenges of the Gold Canadian maple leaf is its softness. Unlike other gold bullion coins (e.g. American eagles, Gold Krugerrands) the gold Canadian maple leaf is made of pure gold, which is much more susceptible to damage. The fragility of the Gold Canadian maple leaf means these coins have to be packaged, shipped, and stored properly to preserve their condition. They’re so soft they sometimes arrive at our warehouse with handling marks, right out of the Monster Box.

Bullion coins should always be properly stored, even if they aren’t made of gold. That means buying a home safe or paying to store your coins at a precious metals depository or in a bank safe deposit box. In addition, coins should be kept in their original packaging and stored in the appropriately sized sleeves or coin boxes. Lastly, investors should always have insurance coverage for their Gold maple leaf bullion coins for losses that can’t be prevented by proper storage and extra care. 

If you’re planning on buying Canadian maple leaf bullion coins online, remember to see if the dealer or auction site offers free shipping. Some dealers like BullionMax have free shipping for orders over $199, but if you pay for shipping, be sure to take account of those expenses as part of your investment. An experienced bullion dealer will also package and ship your Canadian maple leaf coins correctly, to protect them from damage and theft.