Penny (Canadian coin)

Penny (Canadian coin)

Infobox Coin
Country = Canada
Denomination = Penny
Value = 0.01
Unit = CAD
Mass = 2.35
Diameter = 19.05
Thickness = 1.45
Edge = smooth
Composition = 94% steel,
1.5% Ni,
4.5% Cu plating
Years of Minting = 1858–present
Catalog Number = CC 20
Obverse =
Obverse Design = Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
Obverse Designer = Susanna Blunt
Obverse Design Date = 2003
Reverse =
Reverse Design = Maple leaf branch
Reverse Designer = G.E. Kruger Gray
Reverse Design Date = 1937
In Canada, a penny is a coin worth one cent or Fraction|1|100 of a dollar. According to the Royal Canadian Mint, the official national term of the coin is the "one-cent piece", but in practice the term "penny" or "cent" is universal. "Penny" was likely readily adopted because the previous coinage in Canada (up to 1858) was the British monetary system, where Canada used British pounds and pence as coinage alongside U.S. decimal coins and Spanish milled dollars.

In Canadian French, the penny is also called a "cent", which is spelled the same way as the French word for "hundred" but the letter "t" is pronounced only for the penny. Slang terms include "cenne", "cenne noire" or "sou noir", "black penny", though common Quebec French usage is now "sous".


Like all Canadian coins, the obverse depicts the reigning monarch at the time of issue. A special reverse side, depicting a rock dove, was issued in 1967 as part of a Centennial commemoration. [The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, W.K. Cross, p. 72, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-297-6] It was designed by the Canadian artist Alex Colville.

The current coin has a round, smooth edge, and this has been the case for most of its history; however, from 1982 to 1996, the coin was twelve-sided. This was done to help the visually impaired identify the coin."Coins of Canada", J.A. Haxby & R.C. Willey, Unitrade Press (2002), ISBN 1-894763-09-2]


There have been repeated talks about getting rid of the penny as it is estimated that it costs the Royal Canadian Mint four cents to produce a one-cent coin, [ [ Fisher&Chande ] ] even though the Royal Canadian Mint claims it costs only 0.8¢ to produce a penny. [ Financial group lobbies for 'penny-less' Canadian economy – Yahoo! Canada News ] ] The Canadian penny costs at least $130 million annually to keep in circulation, estimates a financial institution (the Desjardins Group) that called for an end to the penny.According to a 2007 survey, only 37 percent of Canadians use pennies, but the government continues to produce about 816 million pennies per year, equal to 25 pennies per Canadian.

On March 31 2008, NDP MP Pat Martin introduced a private member's bill that would eliminate the penny from circulation. [ MP to introduce bill to eliminate the penny] from CBC News] The Swedish rounding system is the suggested replacement for cash transactions. [ Save the penny or leave the penny?] from CBC News]


The first Canadian cents were struck in 1858 and had a diameter of 25.4 mm (1 inch) and a weight of 4.54 grams. [The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Canadian Coins, W.K. Cross, p. 57, The Charlton Press, Toronto, Ontario, ISBN 0-88968-297-6] The coins of 1858 were larger than modern one cent coins, and have a diameter that is a little larger than the modern 25¢ piece (its diameter being 23.58 mm). These coins were struck in Britain on the planchet of the British halfpenny and had nearly an equivalent value. These coins were originally issued to bring some kind of order to the Canadian monetary system, which, until 1858, relied on British coinage, bank and commercial tokens (francophones calling them "sous", a slang term that survives), U.S. currency and Spanish milled dollars. The first issues, however, were unpopular and originally had to be sold at a discount. Pennies were issued only sporadically in the third quarter of the 19th century. They were used in the Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia upon Confederation in 1867. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia issued their own coinage prior to that date, and British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland continued to issue "pennies" until they joined Confederation. The high price of copper forced a reduction to the current size in 1920.

Composition throughout history

Since May of 2006, all circulation Canadian pennies from 1942 to 1996 have an intrinsic value of over $0.02 CAD based on the increasing spot price of copper in the commodity markets. [ [ Kitco – Spot Copper Historical Charts and Graphs – Copper charts – Industrial metals] ]

First strikes


External links

* [ Coinage Designs of 1967]

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