The 1990s was a decade that saw many changes to the five cent coin of Canada. From an
anniversary coin to new composition, the nickel would see several changes during the decade. The history of the five cent coin is quite unique, having started as a thin sterling silver coin known as fish scale and changed into a larger base metal version known as the nickel today. Get to know more about the five cent coin by reading the changes and types of coins found during the 1990s decade below.
1992 5 CENT COIN
The first significant change to the five cent coin of Canada in the 1990s occurred in 1992. It was this year that the country would be celebrating the 125th anniversary of the confederation. This coin would have a double date of 1867-1992 shown, with the same image of a beaver and Queen Elizabeth II on the coin.
1996 5 CENT COIN COMPOSITION CHANGE
In 1996, all Proof strikes of the five cent coin would consist of a new material composition. 92.5% sterling would be used with 5.5 grams in weight. The proof-like, specimen and circulation coins would maintain the same composition of cupronickel alloy which is 75% copper and 25% nickel. The proof sets of this year were not sealed fully during packaging so the silver coins can have a light golden brown toning which makes the coins unique and visually appealing.
1996 5 CENT COINS
In 1996, there are two varieties of the five cent coin, known as the near 6 and far 6. The variations are defined by the space found between the tail of the number 6 and the letter D found in the word Canada. The mint sets are the near 6 type. Circulation strikes can be found with both types of 6s.
1998 5 CENT COINS
In 1998, the Royal Canadian Mint decided to place a letter W mint mark at the bottom of the Queen’s head on coins that were minted at the Winnipeg facility. These coins are found in the proof-like set. Later on, the Mint would produce these same sets in Ottawa so there are coins from this year that have the W and do not. The finish of coins from this year would be of high luster for proof-like coins with specimen coins maintaining a more matte style finish.
1999 P Test 5 CENT
By 1999, the Canadian Mint was looking for ways to save money. To do so, officials decided to strike, 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent coins on blanks. These blanks would be steel cored with nickel plating. The coins would be struck with these blanks then with copper plated blanks. To indicate that plated steel was used, the coins would have the letter P placed under the portrait of the Queen. These coins were used as test tokens by vending machine companies in order to calibrate their machines.
The vending companies were supposed to return the coins but some ended up on the market and could fetch a high price. The Mint decided to reap the rewards and sold around 20,000 sets of the coins to collectors.