The Royal Canadian Mint recently sounded the death knell for the penny. Production of the almost-useless coin will cease by the fall, and I’m assuming this news is being taken fairly well by Canadians as no one seems bothered at all by this decision.
It costs the Mint 1.6 cents to produce each penny, which means that every year Canada spends $11 million more than the coin’s face value to produce something most of us consider to be worthless. All other Canadian coins are worth more than their cost of production, so it’s no wonder the penny is getting axed.
We aren’t the first country to do away with the penny, and surely we won’t be the last. Norway, New Zealand and Australia have also ditched the coin, and they all seem to be doing just fine without it. Australia, for example, capitalized on the situation by melting down their pennies to make the bronze medals won by athletes at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney. Too bad the Vancouver Olympics already took place, or we could have done the same thing!
It does make you wonder what will actually happen to all those stinky, dirty pennies though. It also makes you wonder how news outlets will turn this into an interesting story the day the last penny is minted. I’m sure there’s no shortage of odd balls with $5623.08 in pennies in their basement who would be thrilled to extol the coin’s virtues for a few seconds of fame. Penny hoarders across the country are probably already preparing for their close-ups.
While I can’t say that I’m sad to see the penny go, I do wonder how this will impact all those penny-related sayings we take for granted. You know, sayings like these:
- Penny for your thoughts
- Penny saved is a penny earned
- Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you’ll have good luck.
- Penny pincher
- Cost a pretty penny
- A bad penny always turns up
- Don’t have two pennies to rub together
- Penny wise and pound foolish
- Mind the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves
- In for a penny, in for a pound
- Penny candy
I’m not an expert on superstition, but I doubt that retrieving a wayward nickel from the gutter will now be a valid way to get a day’s worth of luck. And saying that something cost a pretty dime just sounds stupid. But at least the Mint has been kind enough to give us a few more months to come up with some new sayings.
Since the countdown is already on, all I have to say is: Farewell, Canadian penny! I hope you go on to do great things in your retirement, just like your Australian cousin.
Update: The last Canadian penny was minted on May 4th, 2012 in Winnipeg. The Minister of Finance had the honour of pushing the button for the last time, and the final coin struck will spend eternity in the country’s currency museum in Ottawa. Over 35 billion pennies have been in circulation since Canada introduced the coin in 1858.
- Canada Ditches Its Penny [Canada] (gawker.com)
- Eulogy for a friend (taholtorf.wordpress.com)
- Video: Canada Gets Rid of the Penny (Huzzah!) (C.G.P. Grey via YouTube)
- Economic Action Plan 2012 Announces Elimination of Penny (mint.ca)