BERLIN — A world-renowned Berlin museum is reeling from a brazen theft Monday of a 100-kilogram gold coin made in Canada, the biggest heist from a museum in the country since the Second World War.
It’s unlikely the disappearance of the coin, nominally valued at $1-million, but actually worth closer to $5-million given the current price of gold, will pose any financial hardships for the Bode museum – the coin was insured, after all.
But curators say the theft delivered a crippling blow to the museum’s sense of purpose as an institution preserving ancient and contemporary treasures for the enjoyment of future generations. “It’s an absolute catastrophe for the museum, an absolute catastrophe for us all,” said Bernhard Weisser, the director of the Bode Museum’s Numismatic Collection, one of the world’s premier collections of modern and ancient coins.
“One of our central tasks is to hand over the objects that are entrusted to us to the next generation, in one piece if possible,” Mr. Weisser said. “And that’s why this theft is such a huge disaster.”
The coin, embossed by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007 and dubbed “Big Maple Leaf” for the relief on the reverse side of the coin, was taken from the Bode Museum on Berlin’s iconic Museum Island in the early hours of Monday morning.
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