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News from The Globe and Mail

The penny's dropped

00:00 EDT Friday, May 04, 2012

The final one-cent coin will be struck Friday when the last maple leaf is pressed into copper plating at the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty - the man who is ultimately responsible for the penny's demise - will be on hand for the occasion. Saying goodbye to the coins that bought two pieces of bubblegum 50 years ago but are now worth less than the cost of their production, is apparently a pretty big deal.

Not that they are going to vanish out of our pockets and our purses overnight. Pennies will officially go out of circulation in the fall but they will remain legal tender and will continue to be used. That means Canadians can continue to spend them even though the Mint will eventually stop delivering them to the banks.

The Mint has produced a lot of pennies in its day - more than 55 billion of them since 1908. More pennies have been made in this country than all the other coins put together. Why? Because people don't spend them, they hoard them.

© The Globe and Mail

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