What happened to Canadian silver coins? Where did they all go? Why did the Canadian government stop producing them?
The History Of Canadian Silver Coins
In the past, silver coins were widely circulated in many countries. And Canada is no exception.
On the 2nd of January, 1908, Canada established its very first Royal Mint in Ottawa. The “first coin” was a silver coin with 7.5% copper and 92.5% silver.
From then until the late 1960s, Canada made silver coins, except the penny and the five-cent. The penny at that time was made of bronze and the five-cent was made of nickel.
However, the 1960s witnessed the end of silver cash coins. It wasn’t only Canada; most nations around the globe were creating nickel coins.
Why Did Canadian Silver Coins Disappear?
To talk about this, we need to go back to the time when WWI broke out.
The silver content in coins relies on the spot cost of silver. From 1908 to 1919, the country’s silver coins consist of 92.5% silver. Nevertheless, when the w.ar ended, almost all Canadian coins had 80% silver. It is because the silver price jumped from $0.50/oz to more than $1/oz during the period of 1914 and 1919.
To put it another way, WWI’s impact on silver costs affected the silver coinage of Canada. Until 1922, the Canadian government decided to convert the original coins to nickel. Their intention was to help reduce the cost of producing the coins.
Though silver costs fell in the 1930s, the coins couldn’t revert to 92.5% silver like before. And so will the five-cent coin, it will never be made of silver again.
After the Great Depression and World War II, silver expenses began to rise again, marking the next phase in the extinction of the Canadian silver coins.
The Complete Disappearance Of Canadian Silver Coins
In 1968, silver coins in Canada took another hit to their silver content, ranging from 80% to 50%. In August, it became restrictive to strike silver circulation cash. All circulation coins then only consisted of nickel or copper-nickel.
After 1968, all of the silver coins in Canada are either bullion coins or commemorative coins.
The bullion coin, or in another name, the Canadian Silver Maples is worth its weight in silver. Meanwhile, the commemorative ones, such as the 1976 Olympic coins are collectibles. Their worth is even much higher than their silver weight.
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