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1 Cent

In 1908 the Royal Canadian Mint struck the first 1-cent coin on Canadian soil. Prior to 1908 our coins were all produced in England by either the Royal Mint or the Heaton Mint. The design would change over the years and 1-cent coins, or pennies, would be created featuring the monarch at the time on the obverse side while the reverse would have a varying design depending on the year of issue. 2012 was the last year the penny was minted. The coin does remain legal tender but has been discontinued in circulation.

The Maple Leaf Design

All but one penny minted from 1858 (before Confederation) to date depicts the maple leaf, a proud symbol of Canada. The penny continued to use the maple leaf across various designs as new 1-cent coins were created.

From 1858 to 1920, the large pennies with a diameter of 25.4mm featured a wreath of maple leaves on the reverse side, which was a design created by L.C. Wyon. From 1911 to 1920, the penny featured a reverse design by W.H.J. Blackmore which retained Wyon’s maple leaf vine but included the word Canada above the words “One Cent”.

From 1920 to 1936, the small pennies with a diameter of 19.05mm featured a design created by Fred Lewis, with two maple leaves flanking the word "Cent". 1937 saw the familiar, longstanding design of twin maple leaves on a twig introduced. G.E. Kruger-Gray created this design as part of an effort to modernize Canada's coinage. The initials of the designer appear on the right side of the design.

In 1967, a special set of coinage designs were created by Alex Colville to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. In this collection, the penny features a rock dove in flight on the reverse side.

From 1982 to 1996, the penny was produced as a 12-sided coin. The shape of the twig was altered to provide better identification of the coin for those who were visually impaired. In 1997, the coin returned to its original round design.

Composition of the Coin

From 1908 to 1996, the 1-cent coin was comprised primarily of pure copper with traces of tin and zinc. By 1997, the coin included only zinc with copper plating. From 2000 to 2012, the 1-cent coin was struck out of steel and a little nickel with copper plating.

One-cent coins are highly collectible now that a complete set is obtainable for collectors to achieve. At Colonial Acres, we can help you find 1-cent coins to add to your collection or sit down with you to evaluate the penny coins you already have in your possession.