The Bode Museum in Berlin, Germany, is famous for its vast coin collection known as the Münzkabinett (coin cabinet), which features more than 540,000 coins from around the world. But last week, one of them was stolen: a 100 kg Canadian Maple Leaf bullion coin.
Nicknamed “The Big Maple Leaf,” the coin is 53 cm in diameter, 3 cm thick, and has a face value of $1 million – although it contains (at current market values) almost $5 million in 24k gold. The Royal Canadian Mint began creating these giant coins on a special-order basis in 2007, and the Bode Museum was able to add one to its collection in 2010. At around 4 a.m., March 27, the Bode Museum reported the coin as stolen.
The museum sits on the tip of a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by the Spree River. The fourth side is the museum’s rear façade, which is adjacent to several lines of train tracks. Police believe that the thieves used a ladder that was found at the scene to access a second-story window on that side of the building. Once inside, the thieves headed straight for Maple Leaf, leaving all of the museum’s other coins and exhibits untouched. After smashing the coin’s bullet proof display case, they likely used a wheelbarrow to transport the transport the coin out of the museum and escape along the train tracks.
Beyond that working theory, police have not announced any additional details. As of this writing, the investigation is ongoing.