Can you imagine a coin so big that you could never flip it or even slip it into a vending machine? Apparently a coin this big was stolen from a Berlin Museum. The 221-pound Canadian piece, coined the Big Maple Leaf, was taken overnight last Monday.

The coin is roughly 21 inches in diameter and over an inch thick. Queen Elizabeth II graces one side and a maple leaf is on the other. In currency terms, it is valued at 1 million Canadian dollars, or about $750,000, but with gold prices the way they are, it is worth closer to $4.5 million.

The burglars have many obstacles to hurdle, but first, this coin weighs as much as a refrigerator. Somehow they managed to haul it through the museum and up at least one story to get it out of a window in the back of the museum. The police are still in the process of how they exactly did it.

The Bode Museum, which is located on Museum Island in the Spree River, is owned by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. It is close to the east-west passenger train tracks that run across the island.

What police know so far is that the burglars might have broken through a window above the railroad’s tracks during the break it takes at night.

Around 4 am, police were called to the scene. They speculate the robbery occurred sometime between 3:20 am and 3:45 am. The window above the tracks, stood open and looked to have been “forcibly opened,” said Winfrid Wenzel, a spokesperson for the police department.

Once on the scene, officers searching for clues found a ladder near the railroad tracks behind the museum. The police declined to give further details, such as if the alarm system had gone off or if video cameras showed that area.

The Big Maple Leaf had been on display since December 2010 in a bulletproof case. It was surrounded by smaller coins that were left untouched. The bulletproof glass “appeared to have been violently shattered,” Mr. Wenzel said.

Because of the sheer weight of the coin, authorities are assuming more than one person was involved. The current theory is that the thieves rolled or dragged the coin through the museum, out the window and then possibly alongside the railroad tracks, possibly going to a nearby park on the other side of the tracks.

Gold experts have said it would be difficult to sell the stolen coin, but worried that it could be melted down very quickly and the gold be sold to the public.

In addition to the gold coins, the museum features paintings, sculptures and other works of art. The museum says its gold medals and coins collection is one of the largest in the world, with about 500,000 objects.

The Royal Canadian Mint created its first million-dollar coin, in Canadian dollars in 2007 and made five coins in total for sale. Alex Reeves, a spokesman for the mint says that the first coin is “safe and sound in our security vault,” and it moves around in a trunk with casters similar to those used by traveling music acts and stage shows.  

He also mentioned, “customers are responsible for the security of their own assets.”

It is always important to keep your valuables in a secure place where you are confident that they will be stolen from. If you believe that they are at risk, it is beneficial to you to move your items to a more secure location. If you need to get rid of them all together, bring them to Gold Buyer OK to be melted down and in return, leave with cash.