What To Do With Canadian Pennies? 7 Popular Choices (2024)

Do you have a bunch of old pennies laying around, and you aren’t sure what to do with them?

The Canadian government announced in 2012 that it would be phasing out the penny, and the final Canadian penny was minted in May of that year. In February 2013, the Mint announced it would stop distributing pennies altogether.

If you’re like many Canadians, then you’ve likely got a jar or piggy bank packed with loose change that you’re saving for a rainy day.

Below, I’ll outline what to do with Canadian pennies that are just sitting around and collecting dust.

Here’s What To Do With Your Old Pennies In Canada

History of Penny

So, coming back around to our jar of old pennies… here are a few different things that you could do with them.

1. Exchange Them At A Major Bank

Most of the “Big Five” banks in Canada accept coin deposits and exchanges. These include:

  • Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
  • BMO (Bank of Montreal)
  • Scotiabank
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

You should be able to walk into most major banks, speak with a teller, and exchange your old pennies for their equivalent value in cash or other coins, such as nickels, dimes, quarters, loonies, or toonies.

2. Put Them In A Coin-to-Cash Machine

Coinstar and other similar machines can be found in grocery stores nationwide. These machines allow you to dump your coins into the machine in exchange for a receipt, which you can bring to customer service to receive the value in cash or store credit.

Alternatively, you can also opt to donate the coins to a charity that’s partnered with Coinstar.

The only catch here is that most coin machines take a percentage of the deposited amount, which means you won’t be given the full value of your coins.

3. Recycle Them At The Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint has a coin recycling program that accepts your old coins, including pennies. You won’t receive anything in exchange, but you’ll get brownie points for recycling the metal, which can be used to mint future coins.

4. Give Them To A Charity

Charities will accept just about any donation you’re willing to give. Whether it’s canned food, old clothes, or your unused pennies, they’re more than willing to accept any donation and put it to good use.

5. Pay For Items

Even though pennies aren’t used as often, they can still be used to pay for regular items that you purchase on a day-to-day basis. Whether you’re out grabbing a bite to eat or grocery shopping at Bulk Barn, you can use your pennies along with your cash and other change to pay for whatever you’re buying.

6. Save The Valuable Pennies As Collectors Items

Before you recycle or spend all of your old pennies, I suggest going through them and identifying the pennies that could one day turn into collector’s items. These include pennies with old mint dates (produced 20+ years in the past) and pennies that are in immaculate condition (no scratches or wear).

Who knows – in the future, you could sell that special penny for 1,000% of its value!

7. Turning Pennies into Art

Now, for those feeling a tad artsy, how about giving those pennies a new lease on life? They’re not just currency; they can be the centrepiece of your next art project. Imagine necklaces, earrings, or even rings fashioned from these copper coins.

Their distinctive sheen, especially when polished, can really make a piece pop. For the homebodies, think of tabletop mosaics or wall art. A picture frame bordered by pennies? A rustic dream! And for those feeling a bit ambitious, why not dive into sculpture?

If you’re thinking, “This sounds great, but I’m no artist,” don’t fret. Some savvy businesses have penny art kits ready to go, guiding you step by step to create something truly special.

Are Pennies Still Used In Canada?

Although the Royal Canadian Mint stopped producing pennies in 2012, they are still considered legal tender. You can still use them with other coins when paying for items in the grocery store, and you can still deposit them in your bank account.

They’re simply not as common as they once were.

It used to be that you could walk down the street and find pennies littering the ground. Now, you’re more likely to find nickels and dimes than you are pennies (which is good news for the change scrapers).

Why Did The Canadian Mint Stop Producing Pennies?

The first Canadian penny was minted in 1858, and it remained one of the most commonly-used coins in the country up until 2012. So, why did the Royal Canadian Mint stop producing new pennies?

Here are a few of the key reasons:

  • Pennies cost more to produce than they were worth: The production cost of a penny was more than the penny’s face value, which meant that the government was losing money every time it produced a penny.
  • Low purchasing power: Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the penny decreased significantly over time, making it less useful for everyday transactions.
  • Environmental concerns: The production of pennies required a significant amount of energy and resources, which had an environmental impact.
  • Credit cards became more popular: With the increasing popularity of electronic payments, such as credit and debit cards, fewer people were using cash for everyday transactions.

FAQs About Canadian Pennies

Are Coins Still Used In Canada?

Yes, coins are still commonly used throughout Canada. In fact, Canadians regularly use $1 coins (loonies) and $2 coins (toonies) instead of paper dollars. The penny is the only coin that has been taken out of circulation because it costs more to produce and distribute than its worth.

How Valuable Is A Canadian Penny?

Pennies are still only worth $0.01 (one cent). However, since pennies are no longer in circulation, some rare pennies may be worth far more.

When Did They Stop Producing Pennies In Canada?

The Royal Canadian Mint stopped minting fresh pennies in 2012. By 2013, the mint ceased the distribution of all pennies.

How Much Is Copper In Canadian Pennies?

Canadian pennies minted before 1997 were made primarily of copper, composed of 98% copper and 2% zinc. Starting in 1997, though, the composition of Canadian pennies changed to 94% steel, 1.5% nickel, and 4.5% copper plating. This change was made to reduce the cost of producing pennies, as copper prices had risen significantly in the 1990s.

Conclusion – What You Should Do With Your Canadian Pennies

The best way to use your Canadian pennies is just to spend them. I’d recommend keeping a few of the good-looking pennies in case they ever become valuable collectors’ items. However, most pennies will be worthless if they’re not spent.

Want to learn more about Canadian coins? Check out my guide to how many coins are in a roll next!

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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