It sounds like a plot from a Hollywood movie. A band of plucky misfits cobble together a plot to steal a million dollar coin against impossible odds, all somehow for the greater good. But as is so often the case reality is far stranger than fiction, and this is not a movie review.
One of the Royal Canadian Mint's infamous million dollar Big Maple Leaf gold coins has been stolen from the Bode Museum in Berlin. According to a press release by German Police a security guard notified the police of a suspected robbery at 4am on Monday March 27, 2017.
Subsequent investigations revealed that the coin supposedly went missing between 03:20 am and 03:45 am. Police spokesman Winfrid Wenzel revealed in statements to the press that a ladder was discovered abandoned on railway track behind the museum. He continues :
Based on the information we have so far we believe that the thief, maybe thieves, broke open a window in the back of the museum next to the railway tracks, they then managed to enter the building and went to the coin exhibition.
The investigation is still ongoing. However between statements from the police and the Bode Museum, a picture of what happened is beginning to emerge. It appears, at this time, that an unknown number of individuals gained access to an upper level window at the rear of the museum, using a ladder to reach it. How the window was opened or how the thieves managed to remain undetected by both security guards and the museum's supposedly high tech security system is unknown at this time. It seems that the burglars went directly for the 100kg coin, as no other items were reported missing, where they managed to “violently shatter” the bullet proof glass behind which the coin was housed. They then absconded with the coin, all the while remaining undetected.
Like I said, stranger than fiction. It is speculated that the coin was targeted specifically. It will likely either form part of a black market collection or be melted down to sell it's 3215 ounces of gold.
The Director of the Berlin State Museum, Michael Eissenhauer, said via an official press statement released by the Bode Museum(note : the original statement was in German) :
Being notified of a theft is the worst news that a museum director can receive. We are shocked that the burglars were able to overcome our security systems, which has been successfully protecting our collections for many years. These perpetrators have wrought a great deal of violence and we are relieved that none of our personnel were injured. Now we hope that the perpetrators will be caught and the precious coin will be returned undamaged to the Coin Cabinet of the Bode Museum.
The royal Canadian Mint first produced a single Big Maple Leaf coin in 2007 to promote their fine gold bullion coins. The Million Dollar Coin was at that time certified by Guinness World Records to be the world's largest gold coin. The coin measures 53cm(20.86 inch) in diameter and is about 3cm(2 inch) thick. Following subsequent demand, five of these 100kg(220lbs) gold coins have been sold, while the original remains in the Royal Canadian Mint's vault. Although the coin is denominated at one million dollars, it's actual value is closer to $4.5 million.
The coin in question belongs to a private collector who loaned the coin to the Bode Museum, where it has been on display since 2010. The bode Museum curates one of the worlds largest coin collections, boasting a catalogue of roughly 540 000 items.