Canada’s Last Cent Coins dated 2012 – Final issue is scarcest in decades
After a 154 year history, Canada's one cent coin was officially discontinued on May 4, 2012, and the penny saw its last day of circulation on February 4, 2013. After this date, all remaining coins in the coin storage and banking system were returned to the Royal Canadian Mint to be “recycled”, and pennies could no longer be obtained from the banks.
Throughout early 2012, most collectors who sought examples of this final issue from the banking system or circulation were disappointed to find that the coins were almost impossible to obtain. The scarcity of this coin in circulation was reminiscent of the rare low mintage 1991 quarter (which now sells for about $500 per roll). The Royal Canadian Mint’s records show nearly a billion coins “recycled” in 2012, and there is wide speculation that most 2012 cents were destroyed without ever entering circulation.
Two Different Types of Coins
Copper Plated Steel (Magnetic) and Copper Plated Zinc (Non-magnetic)
To make this last issue even more interesting, two distinctly different types of coins were produced during the short production run. The first coins were produced using magnetic copper plated multiply steel blanks, while coins produced after this first run were struck using non-magnetic copper plated zinc blanks. While both varieties appear to be scarce, the copper plated steel coins have proved to be the most difficult to obtain. An analysis of 100,000 random cent coins from the banking system in the metro Toronto area done in November 2012 found only 18 coins dated 2012. Of these, 16 were non-magnetic copper plated zinc, and only two coins were copper plated steel.
In early 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint released their last 20,000 original mint rolls of 2012 cents to collectors (with a special collector wrap), all of which were non-magnetic copper plated zinc. These rolls were priced at $9.95 per roll, or $497.50 per 50 roll box. This full quantity sold out immediately, and these rolls now sell in the secondary market above the original issue price. No rolls of copper plated steel issues were made available to collectors from the mint, and the mint no longer has any of these coins.
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