Humble penny to disappear after 154 years in the pockets of Canadians
My comment affirming the importance of stacking real metal (copper is a good one, silver and gold are better).
Quote:Metal prices never went up. Purchasing power of the currency went down. There's a big difference.
I can't name one thing today that existed in 1858 that's cheaper than it was back then, can you?
Quote:OTTAWA - The penny — a source of adages and idioms for years, and a mainstay in children's piggy banks and candy purchases for generations — is dead at the age of 154, a victim of inflation.
It is survived by its bigger siblings, the nickel, the dime, the quarter, the loonie and the toonie, although the 50-cent piece is basically on life support and is little seen.
The demise of the humble one-cent piece came in Thursday's federal budget, which called for an end to production, but its disappearance has been foreshadowed for years.
Senators, MPs, economists and university professors have studied the little coin for a decade and concluded it was essentially worthless, useless and a nuisance to many.
One economic study found that the penny actually cost the economy more than $100 million a year when the costs of minting the coins were added to the tab for handling, transporting and storing them.
Last year, the Royal Canadian Mint spent $11 million producing hundreds of millions of pennies.
"Many consumers no longer use pennies at all, preferring to hoard them, give them away or even discard them," a Senate committee said in a December 2010 report, which recommended an end to the penny.
But it was inflation that really killed the little fellow. Like some numismatic cancer, it ate away at the penny's value to the point where 95 per cent of its worth was gone.
Even in the 1950s and early 1960s, before inflation began to gnaw, the penny had a valued place in the currency, especially for children. A pop bottle carried a two-cent deposit and could be exchanged for a handful of candy, a piece of licorice or bubble gum. A comic book or a chocolate bar went for 10 cents.
Nowadays, those purchases run a buck or better.
The first Canadian pennies were minted by the province of Canada in 1858, almost a decade before Confederation. The coins were struck to try to bring some standardization to an economy that used a mix of British and American coins, various tokens issued by banks and companies and even Spanish silver dollars.
At its birth, the penny was a robust coin, bigger than today's quarter.
So many were minted that post-Confederation Canada kept re-issuing them.
The Royal Canadian Mint opened in 1908 and continued striking the big pennies, although a jump in metal prices shrank the design to its present size in 1920. That was also when the coin gained the two maple leaves on its reverse.
The leaves stayed there to the end, except for the 1867 Centennial, when a rock dove replaced them for a year.
The penny or cent was also known as a copper, mainly because of its metal content. From 1942 until 1996, it was 98 per cent copper.
Rising metal prices, however, pushed the mint to substitute zinc for most of the copper between 1997 and 1999 and then to use steel and a copper plating for the rest of the penny's life.
The change came just in time. By 2008, a genuine copper penny contained two cents worth of metal.
The penny will stay legal tender, but no more will be produced and prices will be rounded up or down as pennies become scarce.
Although the little coin will vanish from pockets and change purses over the years, it will likely remain in piles in forgotten jars and in the back of drawers for decades.
And it will probably remain as a linguistic anachronism.
People are still giving an inch and taking a mile in a world of kilometres. Similarly, bad pennies will likely be bad pennies long after any penny has disappeared.
May the best pet win!