Canada started phasing out its penny, the nuisance coins that clutter dressers and cost more than their one-cent value to produce.
The Royal Canadian Mint on Monday officially ended its distribution of pennies to financial institutions. Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced last year they were a nuisance and have outlived their purpose.
While people may still use pennies, the government has issued guidelines urging store owners to start rounding prices to the nearest nickel for cash transactions. Electronic purchases will still be billed to the nearest cent.
The government has said the cost of the penny exceeds its monetary value. Production is $11 million a year. The coins, which feature two maple leaves and Queen Elizabeth II in profile, will remain legal tender until they eventually disappeared from circulation.
Opposition New Democrat Member of Parliament Pat Martin gave a poetic goodbye to the penny in Parliament on Monday.
“There’s nothing a penny will buy any more, not a gum ball or small piece of candy,” Martin said. “Note the penny is a nuisance. It costs too much to make. They clutter our change purse and they don’t circulate. They build up in piles in old cookie jars under our beds and in our desk drawers. You can’t give them away. They cost more than what they’re worth. It’s time to put them all out to pasture, put them out to the curb. No, the penny is useless, but there is one thing I’d say, I hope they don’t start treating old MPs this way.”
Google is marking the passing of the penny with a dedicated doodle on its Canadian home page.
The currency museum at Canada’s central bank has already taken steps to preserve the penny’s place in Canadian culture. A mural consisting of nearly 16,000 one-cent pieces has been assembled at the museum to commemorate the coin’s history, said assistant curator Raewyn Passmore.
New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Sweden and others have also dropped the penny.
Posts Tagged With: zinc
She’s one of the world’s best-preserved bodies: Rosalia Lombardo, a two-year-old Sicilian girl who died of pneumonia in 1920. “Sleeping Beauty,” as she’s known, appears to be merely dozing beneath the glass front of her coffin in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy.
Now an Italian biological anthropologist, Dario Piombino-Mascali of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, has discovered the secret formula that preserved Rosalia’s body so well.
Piombino-Mascali tracked down living relatives of Alfredo Salafia, a Sicilian taxidermist and embalmer who died in 1933. A search of Salafia’s papers revealed a handwritten memoir in which he recorded the chemicals he injected into Rosalia’s body: formalin, zinc salts, alcohol, salicylic acid, and glycerin.
Formalin, now widely used by embalmers, is a mixture of formaldehyde and water that kills bacteria. Salafia was one of the first to use this for embalming bodies. Alcohol, along with the arid conditions in the catacombs, would have dried Rosalia’s body and allowed it to mummify. Glycerin would have kept her body from drying out too much, and salicylic acid would have prevented the growth of fungi.
But it was the zinc salts, according to Melissa Johnson Williams, executive director of the American Society of Embalmers, that were most responsible for Rosalia’s amazing state of preservation. Zinc, which is no longer used by embalmers in the United States, petrified Rosalia’s body.
“[Zinc] gave her rigidity,” Williams said. “You could take her out of the casket prop her up, and she would stand by herself.”
Piombino-Mascali calls the self-taught Salafia an artist: “He elevated embalming to its highest level.”
A 1943 Lincoln penny that soared in value because it was made from the “wrong” material reportedly has sold for $1 million.
The penny was erroneously made of bronze instead of zinc-coated steel at the San Francisco Mint, according to UPI news agency. Texas Rangers co-chairman Bob R. Simpson bought the coin from Legend Numismatics, a rare coin dealer in Lincroft, N.J.
Professional Coin Grading Service, an organization that evaluates and grades rare coins, certified the penny in question, grading it a 62 on a scale of 1 to 70.
“The Simpson collection now contains the finest known bronze cent from each mint, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Denver, including the unique 1943-D bronze cent that PCGS certified after Legend acquired and sold to him for a record $1.7 million in 2010,” Willis said.
The U.S. Mint switched from bronze planchets to zinc-coated steel for cents in 1943 because copper was needed during World War II.
“By error, some bronze planchets made it into the hoppers at all three Mints, were struck and released into circulation. These have become the most famous and valuable of all off-metal errors,” PCGS said in a release.