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No More Canadian Penny

Updated on July 24, 2012
The Canadian penny will soon be a historical object.
The Canadian penny will soon be a historical object.

That's right, they aren't making them anymore.

There were cries of joy all throughout Canada last March when it was announced that the Canadian penny would no longer be minted. Oh rapture, gone are to be the days of having useless penny jars and no more standing behind the old lady who is counting out 49 cents for a can of cat food. The Northern dwelling folks will all be in danger of blowing away in the wind because their pockets will be so light. Forever lost is the 'give a penny, take a penny' tray.

And it's about friggin' time.

Some Canadian Penny Facts

-The first Canadian penny was minted in 1908 in Ottawa.

-Final bills (after tax) will be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel accordingly. For example, if your bill is $2.01 or $2.02, it will round down to $2.00. If the bill equals $2.03 or $2.04 it will round up.

-This change will only affect cash transactions; debit and credit charges will remain on the penny.

-Each penny cost 1.6 cents to make.

-Canada will save $11 million dollars per year for losing the cent.

-The last penny to roll off the line now resides in Canada's currency museum.

Composition of Canadian Penny

1908 - 1941
copper 95.5%
tin 3%
zinc 1.5%
1942 - 1977
copper 98%
tin 0.5%
zinc 1.5%
1978 - 1996
copper 98%
tin 1.75%
zinc 0.25%
1997 - 1999
copper plating 1.6%
zinc 98.4%
2000 - 2012
copper plating 4.5%
steel 94%
nickel 1.5%

Note how the copper penny morphed into the steel penny.

Is the U.S. Soon to Follow?

As expensive as the Canadian penny is to make, the U.S counterpart costs 2.4 cents to mint. To me this is enough reason to get rid of it, never mind the hassle of carrying and counting them every day. But then, my opinion doesn't matter and I have it in good faith that there are no immediate plans to do away with it just yet, at least according to ABC News. Other countries have done away with the small annoyance, such as in Israel, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. The question to me is not if the U.S. will soon follow, but when. I predict that this coin will stick around for quite a few more years yet but as we all know, why beat the dead dog?

What is Your Two Cents?

Should the United States stop making pennies?

See results

Glad but Sad: A Penny Tribute

It might be hard for some people to understand, but as heartily as the discontinued penny is received, I do have mixed emotions. I have fond memories of it, such as when I was a kid buying penny candy. I also remember having a beautiful wooden antique box with mother of pearl inlay that I would earnestly try to fill with pennies and I would pretend that it was a tiny fairy box full of magical endless coins; I always ended up spending them before the box got completely full. I also tried to collect one penny from every year, going back through time as far back as I possibly could. I don't remember how far back I got, but that doesn't matter. What matters is how I lined up those pennies every time I got a new one, and I was always sure to leave space for the missing ones. I even made a check list and I would happily check each one off the list as I got it. Those also got spent before the collection was ever complete.

Not all of my memories of pennies are good though. I remember when the schools, for whatever reason, gifted every child with a Centennial penny. Perhaps you have seen one, they are the only Canadian penny that doesn't have a maple leaf and instead feature a rock dove in flight. Anyway, we all had these beautiful keepsake pennies wrapped in plastic and cardboard. None of the kids seemed to know exactly why they were given to us, but geez, aren't they special looking? I loved this shiny bird penny that had never been touched by human hands and of course it set me off to fairy land again.

My brother, two years my senior was not so moved by this thing as I was and when we got home he actually had the nerve to tear off the cardboard and (gasp) touch the untouched. I was astounded; how could he? He then (him being older and wiser with me younger and easy to manipulate) convinced me to take the cardboard off of mine. He did this by saying that he would give me his penny and that I could then go buy some candy after school. Being a big brother he reneged on his promise and we proceeded to fight over the pennies.

He shoved them both in his pocket and said that he changed his mind and so of course I tackled him and tried to grab them back and he got off balance and almost fell to the floor and because I bested him this tiny bit he took both pennies and chucked them in the garbage and said, "There, now neither of us can have them and we don't have to fight." What we didn't know was that our dad was behind us and witnessed this throwing away of good money and he of course yelled at us (this is a man who lived through the depression years on a drought ridden farm). "To hell with that, you kids don't know anything about struggling for money and wishing you had a penny to buy something."

My dad then fished the two pennies out of the garbage and plunked them into his own pocket. "See if you get another red dime from me anytime soon!" And so it went. Of course we were both ashamed and didn't ask for money from him for quite a long time as was our habit once or twice per week. Even though not all of my memories of the penny are good memories, I can at least say that I learned a valuable lesson about squandering precious pennies and I do so value hard earned money as an adult.

In many, many ways I am happy to see the end of the penny, but at the same time...I will so miss the darn thing. It played a roll in my childhood that no other could have, and to you dear penny I say, "So long and thanks for the memories!"


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