Commonly referred to as a nickel, the Canadian five cent coin is a type of currency used today and the smallest form of coin currency in circulation for the country. The five cent coin has a unique history filled with various changes in appearance, weight and composition. The coin was first introduced in 1858 and is still produced today by the Royal Canadian Mint.
In 1858, the nickel was introduced into circulation for Canadian coin currency as a thin and small sterling silver coin. The coin was not known as nickel at this time but as fish scale. Later on, in 1922, nickel would be used to create the coin, thus the nickel name began. The coins were produced with 99.9% nickel which made the coins magnetic.
During World War II, the nickel changed its composition and was created from a copper-zinc mix, then chrome and nickel-plated steel. By the end of the war, the nickel would be created from nickel once again. By the early 1980s, the coin would switch to a cupro-nickel material and now are being minted with nickel-plated steel, which contains a small amount of copper. In February 2013, the nickel became the smallest form of coin currency after the Royal Canadian Mint decided to eliminate the penny from circulation.
2011 5 CENT COIN
In the year 2011, the mint decided to stop minting superior quality coins intentionally for the proof-like coin sets. The proof-like sets created at this time would have standard mint state coins that did not go through the post striking handling processes that normally would have taken place.
Once these coins are removed from their set, the coins do not have a differing look or feel from standard coins found in bank rolls. There is no way to tell the difference in coins so there is no price difference in collecting coins from this year.
The composition of the nickel has changed many times over the years with variations of weight and material used. In the late 2000s, the coin would weight 3.9 grams and have a diameter of 21.2 mm. The composition consists of 94.5% steel, 3.5% copper and 2% nickel plating. This same composition, weight and diameter are used in the minting process of the nickel today.
The images used for the nickel have changed many times over the years as well. Coinage of Canada always shows an image of the reigning monarch and for several decades now, Queen Elizabeth II has been featured on coins. From 2003 to present time, the nickel has an image of Elizabeth II on the obverse side. This image does not include a crown or tiara as with previous images used.
The reverse side includes the image of a beaver which was part of a design created by G.E. Kruger-Gray. The Royal Canadian Mint wanted to modernize the coinage of the country so they enlisted the help of Kruger-Gray. Different animal images were used on the coins beginning in 1937 and the nickel would feature a beaver. The beaver appears in side view form on the water.