So long, Canadian penny. I won’t miss you

Common cents: Take a penny-leave a penny tray manufacturers would seem to have dark days ahead.

Tim Hornyak/CNET)

When I was a kid growing up in Montreal, I spent more than a year filling a big brown bottle with pennies. When they reached the top and I poured them out, I was crushed that they totaled less than 20 bucks.

Ever since, I’ve had little love for the lowly Canadian cent — it’s 2.35 grams, mostly steel, and has been nothing but dead weight in my pockets. The government now feels the same and has announced that the Royal Canadian Mint will stop distributing pennies this fall.

“Pennies take up too much space on our dressers at home,” Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in announcing the federal budget. “They take up far too much time for small businesses trying to grow and create jobs.”

Desjardins Group has estimated that the coin costs businesses $150 million a year in counting and transport costs. Meanwhile, it costs a penny and a half to mint every penny, and cutting it will save $11 million annually, according to the Department of Finance.

At least Canada is only losing on its pennies — the Mint says other Canadian coins cost “well under face value” to produce.

Not so south of the border. It costs the United States Mint 2.41 cents… [Read more]

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