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Canadian Penny Discontinued: Royal Mint Will No Longer Distribute The Coin

02/04/2013 01:13 pm 13:13:47 | Updated Feb 04, 2013

Soon, Canada will be penniless.

Not in the poverty-stricken sort of way, but in a more literal sense: As of Tuesday, Feb. 5, the Royal Canadian Mint will cease distributing pennies. After more than 150 years in production, the last Canadian penny was minted in May 2012.

According to the Canadian Mint, removing the penny from circulation will save taxpayers there an estimated $11 million each year, as the coin cost 1.6 cents to manufacture, but has a worth of only 1 cent, reports Global News.

Paradoxically, the coin's diminishing supply has already increased its value, at least among penny-pinching collectors and artists seeking to preserve a piece of history.

One such collector, Renee Gruszecki, has amassed around 30,000 of the coins, which she uses to produce jewelry and other accessories.

"The maple leaf is synonymous with everything Canadian. We all identify with it," she explained to CTV News. "If you're wearing it on a ring or you're wearing it around your neck, you keep its visual presence certainly alive. If there can be an additional layer of meaning to it, all the better."

She added that demand for her work has increased as the penny's demise draws nearer.

While the Canadian penny slowly exits circulation, a process that may take three to four years, businesses have been asked to round all cash transactions up and down to the nearest 5-cent increment. Items that cost $1.01 or $1.02 will simply be rounded down to an even $1.00, while goods that cost $1.03 or more will increase to $1.05, notes British Columbia-based news outlet The Province.

Business conducted with credit/debit cards and checks will not be rounded.

Canada isn't the first country to have flirted with this idea, either. In the United States, groups like Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny and Penny Free Biz have pushed for a similar fate for the U.S. coin.

For those lamenting the loss of the Canadian penny, take solace in the fact that the coin at least went out in style. Google's Canadian home page marked the passing with a "doodle" in the penny's honor.

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