During the 1992 Olympic Games, the Canadian government and its "Royal Canadian Mint" issued a series of official silver Olympic coins to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the games. A total mintage of 105,645 proof silver coins were struck, comprising four coin designs which included among them a beautiful silver $15.00 legal tender coin entitled "Spirit of the Generations".
A historic discovery occurred in 2015 when the first of four identical "Spirit of the Generations" $15.00 proof coins appeared unofficially struck on one-ounce Canadian "Maple Leaf" pure gold bullion planchets (instead of on their normal sterling silver planchets). They thus joined the illustrious ranks of other unofficial mint issues such as the "Class III" 1804 silver dollars, 1913 Liberty Nickels, 1885 Trade Dollars, or comparable off-metal gold strikes like the 1900 gold Indian Head cent or 1915 Panama Pacific gold half dollars. Ironically, many of the world's most valuable coins such as these were unofficially struck for private collectors, and not public circulation.
An extraordinary event transpired during the striking of the four "Spirit of the Generations" gold coins which is rarely seen. The diameter of the silver "Spirit of the Generations" coin dies measure 40 millimeters in size, whereas the diameter of the "Maple Leaf" gold planchets struck with those dies is a much smaller 30 millimeters. As each pure gold "Maple Leaf" planchet was struck, it expanded dramatically in size another 10 millimeters (over one-third inch), allowing it to essentially fill the void between the two coin dies striking it.
A new numismatic world record was also established upon the appearance of these coins, as these rare Canadian Olympic "Spirit of the Generations" coins represent the largest off-metal gold coins ever struck!
"Off-Metal" coins struck in gold at the mint of any nation in the Western hemisphere rank among the world's rarest coins, and the "Spirit of the Generations" gold coins now join that exclusive rarities club! Rarities like the five-known 1900 - 1905 "Indian Head" cents and two-known 1915 "Panama Pacific" half dollars struck in gold (selling at $275,000.00 and $460,000.00 respectively at auction).
This and one other example were sealed in specially-designed holders by the "Numismatic Guaranty Corporation" in 2019 along with a "Spirit of the Generations" coin normally struck in silver for comparison. It was also featured in the Winter, 2015 "Mint Error News Magazine", and remains among the rarest (and arguably most undervalued) gold coins in private hands in the world!
Featured on the cover of Mint Error News Magazine Issue 35:
Gold Errors are featured in chapter 12 of my
NLG award winning book, World's Greatest Mint Errors.