Concerned that its gold reserves would disappear with the outbreak of World War I, Canada withdrew nearly 250,000 newly minted gold coins from circulation in 1914.
The currency, minted between 1912 and 1914, represented the first gold coins ever minted by Ottawa. The coins would spend the next century in cloth bags inside a Bank of Canada vault.
Some 30,000 of the $5 and $10 pieces were offered for sale to collectors late last year, but the remainder will be melted down, part of the Conservative government’s efforts to help balance the country’s books.
The $10 coins sold for either $1,000 or $1,750 each, depending on whether they were classified as “premium” quality or not, according to the Globe and Mail.
Final figures connected with the sale, which just closed, won’t be known until spring, but a mint official confirmed that nearly all coins were sold.
The publication, in fact, described the sale as a creating a bit of gold rush among Canadian collectors.
“It’s the most popular topic for 2013, for sure,” said Michael Wang, a Vancouver coin collector who bought individual coins and also paid $12,000 for a six-coin set. “My wife was about to kill me when I told her I bought this thing.