Gold Maple Leafs and Silver Maple Leafs are receiving packaging makeovers, changes clearly mandated by investor disfavor with packaging that the Royal Canadian Mint has used since the coins were introduced. Gold Maple Leafs debuted in 1979, trading strategies on silver. The changes appear to be good moves, which should increase sales of Silver Maple Leafs and help keep Gold Maple Leafs the preferred pure (.9999 fine) gold bullion coins.
Since inception, 1-oz Gold Maple Leafs have been packaged ten to a tube. Because Maple Leafs are 24-karat, pure gold, they are "soft," relative to alloyed gold coins, such as American Gold Eagles and Krugerrands. Further, because of the design of the coins and the tight-fitting tubes, it is difficult to remove, inspect, and reinsert 1-oz Gold Maple Leafs in their tubes without scratching the coins.
Actually, reinserting Gold Maple Leafs without at least some scratching is nearly impossible. Further, if the persons inspecting the coins do not know how easily the Gold Maple Leafs are damaged, needless damage often occurs while the coins are out their tubes.
Gold Maple Leafs carry the image of Queen Elizabeth II on the front, with a flat, clear field alongside the image. The backs have the outline of a maple leaf, hence the coins' names. The problem arises from the coins' really sharp milled (reeded) edges. When the coins are reinserted in their tubes, the milled edges often scratch the fields.
Then there is the problem with investors who like to "heft" their coins "to get a feel of them." If they put four or five Gold Maple Leafs in the palms of their hands and "clang" them, the damage can be quite severe. Should a Gold Maple Leaf be dropped, rim damage is almost guaranteed.
As Gold Maple Leafs have been sold into the secondary market, damaged coins have become such a problem that Gold Maple Leafs have lost popularity with investors. The problem has become so widespread that many wholesalers bid only "melt" for Gold Maple Leafs, regardless of their condition. By paying only "melt," wholesalers can profitably resell the coins for industrial or jewelry purposes if no buyers are found for the coins.