Farewell, Maple Leaf Cent

Growing up in upstate New York, it was a common find in pocket change:

Then the dove cent popped up once an a while. When I was eight, I wondered if it was really an 1867 coin:

As of 1965, the queen was sporting a crown and not just the plain wreath on her head. Over the years, she’s gotten more royal with a few redesigns.

The US mint turned to copper-plated zinc to make one-cent coins in 1982, and Canada began to utilize stainless steel coated in copper a few years later. The Royal Canadian Mint will only produce one-cent coins for another five months. The cent will still circulate, but only at the initiative of Canadian citizens. Maybe they’ll import some from upstate New York.

The US seems disinclined to discontinue the cent. But it’s not as though we haven’t made the tough decision on small change in the past. Did you know that in the 19th century, the US produced half cents (till 1857), two cent pieces (1864-1873) and two versions of the three-cent piece (one in nickel and one in silver)?

With all the fuss about cents, sense, and how we’re all going to get scammed by business owners rounding up purchases to the nearest nickel, I want to register an official complaint about gas stations and oil companies selling fuel by the tenth-of-a-cent. This has been going on for decades, from what I remember. We always buy gas for a price with 9/10ths added on to the big numbers. I don’t think service stations have small 8’s, 7’s, 6’s or anything else. The digital displays probably don’t compute anything but .009 dollars.

So I have a question. If the Canadians will still be able to write checks and go into credit card debt to the nearest cent, what about going more fine-tuned than that? Suppose I write a check for $95.784. What vendors will acknowledge this exact payment and leave me with some dollars and 6/10ths of a cent?

By the way, my solution for the fussy zine lobby is to make dollar coins out of the metal. If we discontinue the dollar bill, maybe put Washington and Lincoln both on the dollar coin. Though I would prefer artists from American history. Too many presidents.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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