Gold Olympic 22 pound coin
By Nicole Garrison-Sprenger
The largest official
Olympic Coin ever issued, a 10 kilogram (22
pound) gold legal tender coin from China, one of
only 29 minted, with a face value of 100,000
Yuan, can be bought for one million dollars,
through Asset Marketing Services in Burnsville.
It could double as a shot put, but it's worth a
little too much to chuck in the dirt.
A 22-pound gold coin commemorating the 2008
Olympic Games in Beijing is waiting in
Burnsville for someone to plunk down $1 million
for a piece of history.
Now, if you're a big fan of the Olympics, you
could fly to Beijing, stay for a week, watch the
Games live and buy a T-shirt for considerably
But a million dollars for a coin that isn't even
It turns out, a solid-gold coin that weighs as
much as a 1-year-old child doesn't come along
The coin released by the China Mint is the
biggest Olympic coin made to date, said Douglas
Mudd, a curator at the American Numismatic
Association money museum.
"Twenty-two pounds that's a lot of gold," he
At present, Mudd said, "The coin market is very
hot. We're seeing record prices at practically
Gold is selling for about $928 an ounce, which
would make the jumbo coin that Burnsville-based
GovMint.com is selling worth about $300,000
melted down. (Precious metals are measured in
troy ounces; the 22-pound coin is roughly 321
Plus, the coin with the Beijing 2008 Games
logo on one side and an image of a Chinese
temple towering above Olympic athletes on the
other is one of only 29 issued, and the only
one released for sale in the United States.
Seven inches in diameter, it comes in an ornate
carved box of
African Blackwood with a 35-pound carved stone
dragon perched on top.
"There is certainly a history of people paying
more than $1 million for certain rare coins,"
said Jay Beeton, the numismatic association's
So how did this particular coin end up in a
nondescript office complex in Burnsville?
The parent company of GovMint.com, Asset
Marketing Services, has marketed coins, jewelry
and watches directly to consumers since 1984,
growing to about $100 million in sales and 200
employees. The company's founder, Nicholas
Bruyer, previously had worked on product
marketing for the Olympics. GovMint.com sold
some coins connected to the 2000 Olympics in
Sydney. But what probably got the China Mint's
attention was the company's biggest score to
date: $1.5 million for a pair of rare gold
prototype coins that were never released by the
United States Mint.
The Beijing Olympics coin arrived at company
offices a couple of weeks ago, but GovMint.com
isn't planning any big public displays. The
company is promoting the coin online (along with
more affordable items) and has contacted
collectors all over the country.
Bruyer expects his $1 million Beijing Olympic
coin to sell before the Games begin in August.
It will be shipped to its new owner in an
Olympic coins date back almost as far as the
Olympics Games, said the ANA's Mudd. In the
early fifth century B.C., the Greeks decided to
issue coins that visitors to the city could use
during the event. In the modern era, coins were
first issued in connection with the 1952
The Beijing Olympics coin has no value as
currency, except in China. But then, you
probably wouldn't want to lug it around, anyway.
Nicole Garrison-Sprenger can be reached at
By The Numbers
Size: 7 inches in diameter
Weight: 22 pounds, not including presentation
Number made: 29
Available in the U.S.: 1
Issued by: China Mint
Marketed by: GovMint.com
Price: $1 million