Friday, March 30, 2012

The end of the penny

My favourite design of the penny
Finally sanity is prevailing on the penny, though ideally I would like to see us get rid of a whole digit in our currency.  I think we would be best off if we had the dime as the smallest coin and then a 50 cent piece, only four coins in circulation, but I digress.

The penny has been a coin that almost no one spends any longer, all we do is collect them and keep them.   Only yesterday I was in the Real Canadian Warehouse Store in Esquimalt and one of the cashiers was complaining that several people were spending their pennies.   She was complaining about the time it was taking for the people to count out 20 or 30 pennies.  People long ago quit wanting to have the penny, the action by the government is just catching up with reality.

Canadian penny from 1920 to 1936
The penny costs more to make than it is worth, though I have heard the Royal Canadian Mint claim this was not the case.   I think the cost issue is a red herring.   In the last few years the mint has made about 767,000,000 a year.   The total cost for that is only $13.8 million but the value of the coins is $7.67 million which means the net cost is $6.13 million.

The current coin has been the same size since 1920 and had the maple leaf design since 1937.   In my change over the years I have recieced pennies as far back as 1937, but none from before then.

Canadian penny from 1937 to 1952
From 1920 to 1996 the coins were primarily copper. According to the mind, in 1997 to 1999 it was mainly zinc and since 2000 it has been a steel coin.   Though coins were made of zinc in 2000-2007 and the steel ones in 2000 and 2001 were rare.

Penny from 1953 to 1964
The pennies from 1942 to 1977 contain 3.1752 grams of copper.   The current price for copper is $3.84 per pound.  It takes 142.855 pennies to weight a pound.   This means the copper in each of these pennies is worth $0.02688 cents.   In the last year copper has ranged from $3.10 to $4.50 per pound.   This means the copper value of these pennies has ranged from $0.022 to $0.032.

Penny from 1965 to 1989
Pennies from 1980 and 1981 contain 2.744 grams of copper which means it takes 165.3 pennies to make a pound which means these pennies are currently worth about $0.02323 each.   From 1982 to 1996 the penny contained 2.45 grams of copper which means 185.14 per pound and a copper value of $0.02074 each.

Penny from 1990 to 2003
The current penny is 2.2 grams of steel and with the price of steel at $800 per tonne, the steel value of each penny is $0.0018, so about a fifth of a cent.  The value of zinc in the zinc core pennies is $0.0044.
Penny from 2003 to 2012

From in the ten years from 2001 to 2010 the mint made 7,954,316,000 - about 240 per Canadian.  

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Instead of taking all the trouble to gather up and destroy the pennies, why not declare on Jan 1, 2013 that a 'new' dollar is worth 10 'old' dollars? Use the same coins and bills, and the price of everything is reduced by moving the decimal on prices one place to the left. The value of money is only in our heads.