‘Gold Cas’ BTC coin bought for $4K is now worth $48m

By Raffaele Redi

The owner of the rare coin, which was found in a drawer, said he doesn't want to sell it

The Gold Cas is worth BTC1,000                                 
The BTC1,000 ‘Gold Cas’ – Photo: Greatcollection.com

Not seen for a decade and forgotten for several years in a desk drawer, a one-ounce 'Gold Cas' gold coin with a denomination of 1,000 bitcoins (BTC) that was purchased in December 2011 for just $4,905 is now worth $48m at the current BTC value.

“The physical bitcoin has a public key on the reverse of the coin. Also on the reverse is the tamper-proof hologram, and under this is the private key,” Ian Russell, president of GreatCollections of Irvine, California, whose client owns the coin, told Currency.com.

According to Greatcollections.com, the owner of the world’s most valuable numismatic item admitted that it was ”definitely a stretch to make the purchase” a decade ago, but said he’s not tempted to sell it now, even after its astounding increase in value.

“This is the greatest return on investment for any numismatic item, a staggering 9,786 times the purchase price in just 10 years. It may be the world’s greatest investment in that time span,” stated Russell.

A fortune in the drawer

“It was definitely a stretch to make the purchase in 2011, as I didn’t really know what bitcoin was or how I was going to redeem it one day,” the coin’s anonymous owner said in a written statement to the company. “I remember trying to decide whether to buy this one piece for $4,905 or whether to buy two gold bars – about $4,000 at the time – but thankfully I decided on the Gold Cas.”

“I was looking to buy gold and at the time in 2011 it hit a record high and was being reported almost daily in the newspapers, alongside stories about bitcoin and cryptocurrency,” recalled the coin’s owner.

“Most of the stories were negative about bitcoin back then, but since the newspapers were giving it space, I thought there might be more to it. The ‘Gold Cas’ got my attention since it had gold and bitcoin combined.”

He added: “When I bought the coin for $4,905, I really had no idea what the potential was, otherwise, I would have bought more than one! After the purchase, I forgot about it, leaving it in a desk drawer.

”That changed in late 2013 when I saw a headline about bitcoin being worth $1,000, and it hit me that the coin I purchased for $4,905 was suddenly worth $1m. It prompted me to work out what bitcoin was all about, and since that time I’ve been watching it closely,” the owner continued.

“Since the value of the coin increased to $1 million, there were other milestones I remember, such as when it hit the $10m mark and then again at $25 million,” he said.

The Casascius coin

The cryptocurrency community refers to the 1,000 BTC coin as ‘the Gold Cas.’ That is a reference to ‘Casascius’, the brand of BTC coins produced from 2011 to 2013. The company was created by Mike Caldwell to create physical Casascius coins in increments of 0.1, 0.5, 1, 5, 10, 25, 100 and 1,000 BTC units. Caldwell also produced some BTC ingots. Neither are produced any more.

Only six 1,000 BTC gold Casascius coins were made, four of which have not been redeemed – including the one owned by Russell’s client.

"The value of the ‘Gold Cas’ eclipses classic rare coins, such as the gold 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle recently auctioned by Sotheby’s for $18,872,250 and owned by another GreatCollections client, or the Sultan of Muscat 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar we recently purchased at auction for $7,680,000 on behalf of a client,” said Russell.

“It’s the ultimate 21st century collectible, merging gold with cryptocurrency; a cultural phenomenon considering the vast number of people under 30 who own some cryptocurrency as investments,” he added.

The mystery of the Gold Cas

Russell said the current owner of this 1,000 gold BTC is not the presumed founder of the digital currency Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. There have been suggestions that the founder of Bitcoin owns iconic bitcoin items such as the Gold Cas.

The 1,000 BTC coin now resides in an overseas bank vault and is not for sale because the owner is optimistic about the long-term prospects for bitcoin. However, Russell announced that a gold-plated 25 BTC coin will be offered without reserve by GreatCollections in an auction that closes on 14 November.

“Bidding will start at $1, although I anticipate this 25 BTC will sell for more than $1 million,” predicted Russell.

Russell submitted the 1,000 and 25 BTC coins – under armed guard – to the Professional Coin Grading Service in Santa Ana, California for certification. The gold 1,000 BTC coin is graded a perfect PCGS Proof 70, on a numismatic grading scale of 1 to 70, and is classed as a ‘deep cameo’ coin, which means there's a high degree of contrast between the raised image and the background. The 25 BTC coin is certified PCGS Mint State 67.

PCGS’s interim president Stephanie Sabin said of the Gold Cas: “This coin is set apart in its cultural significance in merging the worlds of cryptocurrency and traditional numismatics. Combine this with the staggering value of the bitcoins it contains and we have a new Goliath.”

Further reading: Crypto market update: BTC rises to $49,000

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