Canada’s last cent struck for circulation will be placed on public
exhibit in the nation’s capital.
Charles Paradis, visitors services coordinator for the Currency
Museum of the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, told Coin World that
the museum plans to publicly exhibit Canada’s last 1-cent circulation strike.
Though Paradis reported that arrangements for displaying the coin
had not been finalized, the museum does intend to display the historic
piece “as part of a small exhibit to profile this new acquisition and
the changing nature of the cent in Canada from its introduction to date.”
Final circulation strike
In a May 4 ceremony held at the Royal Canadian Mint’s high-speed
manufacturing facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Canadian finance
minister, James Flaherty, struck the last cent to be produced for circulation.
Flaherty said: “For the past several years, Canadian taxpayers
have been burdened by the rising cost of producing pennies. While the
penny can still be used in day-to-day transactions, our government is
encouraging Canadians to donate their pennies to charities in order to
make a difference in their communities.”
Ian E. Bennett, president and chief executive officer of the RCM,
said: “The Mint has proudly produced the penny to satisfy the needs of
Canada’s trade and commerce for over one hundred years. Although today
marks the end of an era for this denomination, the Mint has a solid
international reputation on which to build a future without the penny.”
Cents for collectors?
Though the RCM has ended cent strikes for circulation, collectors
may wonder whether the agency will continue to strike Canadian cents
as solely collectible items that are featured in special or annual
sets produced by the RCM.
When asked if the RCM has plans to continue circulation-quality
cent strikes for collectors, Alexandre Reeves, RCM senior manager of
communications, said May 9: “It’s still too early to make specific
product announcements involving the penny, though we are working on
some collector products. [RCM President Bennett said] at the last
strike event that the last one million pennies struck for circulation
will be sold as collector products. There were open bins of those
coins in front of the podium at the event.”
Production costs drive decision
The government of Canada announced in its Economic Action Plan
2012 that it would modernize Canada’s currency set by eliminating the
cent from Canada’s coinage system.
The government cited rising labor, metal and other manufacturing
and distribution costs as involved in the decision, and stated that
each cent now costs more than 1.6 cents to produce.
The cent will still remain legal tender, but in the fall of 2012
the RCM will stop distributing the coins for circulation.
According to a statement posted at the RCM’s website: “The penny
will retain its value indefinitely and can continue to be used in
payments. However, as pennies are gradually withdrawn from
circulation, price rounding on cash transactions will be required.”
Payments made via electronic means will not be affected.
All coinage now transformed
The end of production of the cent follows on the heels of other
moves by the Canadian government to minimize costs in striking that
country’s circulating coinage.
Canada’s new lighter weight $1 and $2 coins for circulation were
unveiled April 10, 2012.
The nation’s new $1 and $2 coins are composed of steel and plated
with multiple, alternating layers of copper and nickel.
Until 2012, the $1 and $2 coins were the only two denominations of
Canadian coinage that the RCM had not yet converted to a multi-ply
plated steel composition. Canada’s circulating 1-, 5-, 10-, 25- and
50-cent coins were previously converted to multi-ply plated steel
compositions beginning in 2000.
For more details on the elimination of the cent, guidelines on
price rounding and further information on Canadian coinage, including
technical specifications, visit the RCM website at www.mint.ca.
For more information about the Currency Museum of the Bank of
Canada, visit the museum website at www.currencymuseum.ca/,
telephone the institution at 613-782-8914 or contact the museum by
email at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■