Bigger is Better: 5 Largest Gold Coins in History

Posted - September 22, 2023
Bigger is Better: 5 Largest Gold Coins in History

In 2021, the British Royal Mint shocked the precious metals community when they unveiled plans to create the largest gold coin in their history. Despite around 1,100 years of continuous operation as the official mint of the British Empire, the mint had never produced a coin quite so heavy. This coin was a limited edition, one-of-a-kind completer meant to celebrate the final conclusion of its explosively popular Queen’s Beasts Series. It weighed in at an incredible 10 kilos and was minted with .9999 fine gold bullion. To ensure complete and intricate perfection, the massive coin was touched up by the hand of one of Britain’s most brilliant artists. 

This got us thinking about some of the other record-breaking large coins produced by the world’s most respected government mints. Let’s take a look at 5 of the largest gold coins in history. 

Why Mint Large Gold Coins? 

Large gold coins aren’t particularly profitable to mint. Because of the enormous size of some of the largest gold coins on our list, producing them requires sophisticated, groundbreaking minting technology. And due to their high gold content and extreme numismatic value, the number of collectors who could even afford to invest in these coins is very low. Because of this, there are only a handful of mints that have attempted to create the largest gold coins in history. 

But why would a government mint choose to produce – and sell – one of the world’s largest gold coins? Publicity benefits, high value to collectors, and the unique challenge of minting a large gold coin might contribute to the decision. 

Publicity Benefits

Even bad publicity is good. While government mints generally don’t need to rely on flashy ad campaigns to sell their products to collectors, it never hurts to have a big story hit the news. And when your mint announces that it’s producing a 1 tonne gold coin, it’s pretty likely that you’ll make it onto some major news networks! 

Even the British Royal Mint capitalized on publicity when they announced the production of the largest gold coin in their long history. Collectors all over the world flocked to read about how the coin was produced, check it out on the mint website, and gossip about how much the coin might sell for on the secondary market to numismatic investors. For mints who want to get some free publicity, breaking a record for the largest coin in history is never a bad strategy. 

High Value to Collectors

Although the limited number of investors capable of purchasing the largest gold coin in history makes it less-than-feasible for an annual release, record-smashingly large gold coins still carry significant numismatic value. Take the Big Maple, for example. We’ll discuss this coin a bit more once we get into our list of the largest gold coins in history. But this coin’s rarity, size, and bullion content makes it worth quite a bit more than its melt value in gold bullion. Mints who already possess the technological capability to produce one of the world’s largest gold coins in history might be able to profit considerably from making a couple massive gold coins. 

Unique Minting Challenges

Everyone loves a good challenge. For a mint at the top of its game with a solid selection of annual gold coin releases, the production of the largest gold coin in history presents a set of unique obstacles to overcome. The British Royal Mint, in order to create their 10 kg Queen’s Beasts Completer Coin, hired a master mint artist to specially sculpt the finished product to clean up imperfections left after the minting process was completed. 

For larger coins, the unique minting challenges pile up even more. Perth Mint had to overcome a number of obstacles to create their world-record one ton Australian Gold Kangaroo Coin. To jump these hurdles would represent a milestone in the history of any mint – even an extremely popular government mint with centuries of experience. 

Five Biggest Gold Coins in History

Now that we’ve covered a bit of background and context, let’s jump into the 5 largest gold coins in history. Each coin on this list is considered one of the biggest gold coins ever produced by mankind. At the end of our list, we’ve even included a mysterious coin from early world history that still baffles historians and researchers. 

Australian One Ton Gold Kangaroo

The title of “largest gold coin in the world” has changed hands a number of times throughout history. New minting technology has led to a proverbial arms race between government precious metal manufacturers to see who can make the biggest gold coin possible. 

But for now, the title goes to none other than the Perth Mint. Their 2012 Australian Kangaroo One Ton Gold Coin weighed in at an unbelievable one ton and is still considered the biggest gold coin in history. 

Historic Size

This mint is actually newer than most of the world’s major government mints; it was only founded in 1899. Despite its young age, the mint made coinage history when they released the Australian Kangaroo One Ton Gold Coin in 2012. Guinness World Records officially declared it to be the largest gold coin ever minted.

File:Perth Mint - Joy of Museums - The One Tonne Gold Coin 2.jpg -  Wikimedia Commons
One Ton Gold Kangaroo Coin

As the Perth Mint website explains, this coin’s size created the “ultimate challenge” for the respected Perth Mint. Overcoming the unique set of obstacles presented by the Australian Kangaroo One Ton Gold Coin made international headlines and cemented the Perth Mint’s reputation as one of the most impressive mints in the world. 

Specifications and Design

Like the British Mint’s largest gold coin, the One Ton Gold Coin from the Perth Mint featured a hand finish from Dr Stuart Devlin, one of the most prolific mint artists in the world. On the obverse, the coin features a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse is a classic Australian design; an Australian Kangaroo jumps through the air, reminding onlookers of Australia’s majestic wildlife. 

Big Maple Leaf

The Big Maple Leaf Coin was released in 2007. It came with an enormous amount of news coverage, as the piece was set to be the biggest gold coin ever minted by the Royal Canadian Mint. Weighing an enormous 100 kilograms, this coin was actually the largest gold coin in history until the 2020 One Ton Australian Gold Kangaroo broke the record. Carrying a face value of 1,000,000 CAD, five of these historic coins were created. One was actually stolen, leading to a massive manhunt to find the criminals responsible. 

Record-Breaking Weight 

At the time of its release, Guinness World Records awarded not one – but two – world records to the Big Maple Leaf Coin. First, the coin was the largest gold coin ever produced by a mint. But perhaps the biggest innovation achieved during the minting process was the coin’s purity, rather than its size. The fineness of the Big Maple Leaf Coin is .99999, also known as “five-nines.” While the Royal Canadian Mint has since released a limited number of .99999 pure low-weight Gold Maples, this large coin broke records for its unprecedented fineness. 

?? Largest Gold Coin / Най-голямата златна монета | Flickr
Canadian Big Maple Gold Coin

Historic and Classic Artwork 

Like the regular Gold Maple Leaf Coins that have helped make the Royal Canadian Mint a respected global leader in precious metals, the coin features an obverse depiction of an aging Queen Elizabeth II. Its reverse highlights Canada’s national symbol, the Canadian maple leaf. 

10 Kilo Queen’s Beasts Coin

We briefly mentioned the 10 Kilo Queen’s Beasts Completer Coin at the beginning of our guide. While this piece is dwarfed in size by the Big Maple Leaf, it wouldn’t feel right to discuss the biggest gold coins in history without giving some love to the historic Royal British Mint. The Mint broke their own records, making the 10 Kilo Queen’s Beasts Completer Coin the largest in its 1,100 year history. 

Largest Coin in Royal Mint History

It’s no easy task to make history within the British Royal Mint. While France’s national mint holds the distinction of the oldest existing mint in history, Britain’s source of gold coins is close behind. For 1,100 years, the establishment has produced all of Britain’s coinage, and their reputation is truly unparalleled among collectors. Still, they made history in 2021 when the Royal Mint released their 10 Kilo Queen’s Beasts Completer Coin. While it isn’t the biggest gold coin ever, the piece is still the largest gold coin produced by the storied British Royal Mint. 

10 Kilo Gold Queen’s Beasts Completer Coin

Impressive Intricacy of Design 

Legendary mint artists worked tirelessly to hand-finish this coin to make sure that it was completely perfect before release. The coin comes at a momentous time in British history, as well as world coinage history. One year before the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the British Royal Mint celebrated the conclusion of their Queen’s Beasts Series with this historically large gold coin. 

Its obverse depicts Queen Elizabeth in her advanced age, and the reverse details all of the heraldic beasts that made up the original Queen’s Beasts Gold Coin Series. 

Big Phil: Large Austrian Gold Philharmonic 

Not all of the world’s largest coins belong to former subsidiary mints of the United Kingdom. The Austrian Gold Philharmonic Gold Coin remains one of the world’s most coveted gold bullion coins. And in 2004, the Vienna-based Austrian Mint released the largest coin ever produced in its 800-year history. The coin features the same artwork highlighted on all Austrian Gold Philharmonics – but with a big twist. This coin weighed 68 pounds, making it one of the biggest gold coins to ever be produced by a government mint. 

Renowned Musical Artwork

File:Big Phil front.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
“Big Phil” Austrian Gold Philharmonic

The same beautiful artwork featured on all other Austrian Gold Philharmonics appears on the obverse and reverse of the aptly named “Big Phil” coin. On the obverse, fans of Vienna’s musical culture will be delighted to see an intricate depiction of the Musikverein Pipe Organ, the massive instrument located in Vienna’s most famous music hall. The reverse includes eight classic orchestra instruments: four violins, a centered cello, a Vienna horn, harp, and bassoon.

Extreme Value 

At the time of its release, the 68-pound Austrian Gold Philharmonic was valued at over $500,000. Hailed as one of the most impressive investment tools in world history, the coin is likely worth quite a bit more to collectors in 2023. Only five were ever produced, giving the Big Phil an unprecedented level of numismatic value. 

Historic 12 kg Gold Coin 

We’ll conclude our list with an ancient – and mysterious – coin. Mongolian Emperor Jahangir minted two 12 kg gold coins to present to friends and political allies. One of the coins has been lost for over four decades, and historians are still searching for the priceless historical artifact. Collectors and numismatists believe that these coins were, at the time, the largest gold coins ever produced. While these coins aren’t quite produced by a modern mint, their longevity and historical value makes them the clear winner for most expensive large gold coin. 

Jahangir - Wikipedia
Emperor Jahagir Minted a 12 kg Gold Coin for his Allies

Mysterious Location 

Historians in India have been looking for this coin for over forty years. Rumors swelled in 1987 that the coin was listed as an auction by auctioneer Habsburg Feldman. Since then, the government has worked tirelessly (and in vain) to find the 12 kg gold coin, which they consider an important artifact in Indian history. 

High Historical Value 

There’s no debate: this is one of the world’s most expensive and valuable gold coins. There’s no telling how much it would sell for on the open market, and securing it without facing legal repercussions from Indian officials would be nearly impossible. But this is the biggest gold coin from early world history, making it a priceless artifact. 

Final Thoughts: 5 Largest Gold Coins in History

When we read about the Royal British Mint’s largest gold coin, we got to wondering: what are the largest gold coins in history? Our research yielded five candidates, all of which were, at one point, the largest coin in the world. While we’d love to get our hands on one of the five Big Maple Leaf Coins in existence, we all might have to settle with quality gold, silver and platinum coins for now. 

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About The Author

Michael Roets is a writer and journalist for Hero Bullion. His work explores precious metals news, guides, and commentary.