Canada phases out 75-year-old one-cent piece

The Royal Canadian Mint has confirmed that the Canadian penny will be phased out of circulation and has ended its distribution.

The last penny was struck in May 2012 after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced that production costs exceeded its value. The coin, worth one cent, features a picture of Queen Elizabeth on the front and the Maple leaf, Canada’s national symbol, on the back.

Ian E Bennett, president and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, says: “Canada’s history, culture and values are often celebrated through coins and George Kruger-Gray’s iconic penny design stood the test of time for over 75 years and the Mint joins Canadians in bidding it a fond farewell.”

The announcement that the penny would soon disappear from the average Canadian purse caused a flurry of interest in the coin and collectors, jewellers and artists specialising in the Canadian penny saw a rise in sales.

The Bank of Canada’s Currency Museum commissioned a mosaic featuring almost 16,000 of the coins to commemorate the cultural importance of the one-cent piece.

Retailers can continue to accept the coin but they will have to adapt to new pricing that the absence of a one-cent piece will bring about.

‘Symmetrical rounding’, a system where prices are rounded to the nearest five cents to accommodate the smallest available currency, will mean Canadian shoppers will see a change in prices.


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