Early Monday morning the curators of the Bode Museum in the German capital city of Berlin, discovered that the 'Big Maple Leaf' coin had been somehow stolen by thieves. Berlin police are now investigating, trying to figure out who, how, and why the thieves broke into the museum to steal the large, record-setting Gold Coin.

What is the 'Big Maple Leaf' coin?

The 'Big Maple Leaf' coin was produced by the Royal Canadian Mint back in 2007, with six in total being made. The front of the coin depicts Queen Elizabeth II. The back illustrates a stylized maple leaf, hence the name of the coin.

Each coin weights a total of 221 pounds (100 kilograms) and is 1.18 inches (3 centimeters) thick with a diameter of 20.9 inches (53 cm). They are also in the Guinness Book of World Records since the purity of each coin is 999.99/1000 gold. The face value given for each coin is $1 million dollars, but due to the coin's weight and makeup, it is estimated to be worth around $4.5 million on the open market. The 'Big Maple Leaf' coin in the Bode Museum was lent to the museum in 2010 to be a part of its prestigious coin collection and was one of the most prominent objects in the museum on loan.

How the coin got stolen

The thieves entered the Bode Museum through a window by using a ladder to bridge the gap between the light-rail tracks they were on and the museum's top floor window.

They crossed the 4 meter (13 foot) gap and forced open the window to enter at some point around 3:30 a.m. early Monday morning. They then located and broke into the museum's coin cabinet, which is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive coin collections in the world, to steal the 'Big Maple Leaf.' The thieves got away about 15 minutes before police arrived on the scene.

Berlin police found a ladder near the rail tracks to support this theory and believe that the thieves left the museum the way they entered it. The theft of the massive gold coin is the largest heist from any German museum in the country since World War II ended.