Last updated on October 14th, 2022 at 12:51 pm
Last Updated on October 14, 2022 Posted by Colonial Acres Coins
Collecting coins has always been quite an exciting and interesting hobby. You get a chance to be a person who has a great and valuable collection, speaking in both financial and emotional terms. And among the storied and popular Canadian coins is the two-dollar coin, fondly known as the Canadian toonie. Depending on how old you are, you may not even remember the Canadian two-dollar bills that predated the toonie. You may have questions such as, “When did toonies come out?” or “What is a toonie made of?”
Why Did the Canadian Toonie Replace the Two-Dollar Bill?
Government economists had determined that the usable lifespan of the Canadian two-dollar bills was only about a year on average. Given its relatively low value, it was not cost-efficient to have to keep printing replacement bills on a yearly basis. The Canadian toonie coin offered a solution to this problem. While the upfront cost to mint two-dollar coins would be much more than the cost to print paper bills, the coins would last at least 20 years, meaning that the savings would accumulate over time. The government projected that, after two decades, the switch to the two-dollar coin would save the Canadian public approximately $250 million.
What Year Was the Toonie Introduced?
The first year of the toonie was 1996. The official release date was February 19th. Prior to that date, Canadians had been using $2 bills that were part of the Birds of Canada series of banknotes, first introduced in 1986. Each denomination of bill in this series featured a painting of a different bird species native to Canada on the back. The two-dollar bill featured a pair of robins in a bucolic setting of hills and grass.
The obverse of the two-dollar bill in the Birds of Canada series featured a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It was one of only three bills in the series that featured an image of Her Majesty; the other two were the $20 bill and the $1,000 bill. Based on a photograph by Anthony Buckley, the engraving was a product of Henry S. Doubtfire of De La Rue.
With the introduction of the toonie, the government gradually phased out these bills because it wanted people to use the new two-dollar coins instead. Thus, the two-dollar bill in the Birds of Canada series only enjoyed its status as a circulation note for approximately 10 years.
Before the toonie was introduced, the Royal Canadian Mint conducted polls of the Canadian public showing that 79% of respondents agreed with the reasons behind the switch and would accept the new coins. However, not everyone was enthusiastic about the change.
Some people worried about having too many coins weighing down their pockets, while banks were concerned that the coins would be too cumbersome to count and store. As with any significant change, there was an expected period of adjustment. Nevertheless, individuals and financial institutions alike adapted, and now, over 25 years later, the toonie has become an iconic piece of Canada.
What Are Toonies Made of?
The Toonie is a bi-metallic coin. The first issues consisted of aluminum bronze (the inner core) and pure nickel (the outer ring). It had been made this way for as long as 15 years until things changed in 2012. The composition of the outer ring switched to steel coated with multi-plated nickel, while the inner core switched to an aluminum bronze coated with multi-plated brass. The reverse side of the coin bears an image of a polar bear which was created by artist Brent Townsend. Coins minted up to 2022 feature Susanna Blunt’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse.
How Did This Coin Get Its Name?
The ‘Toonie’ is certainly an interesting name for a coin. It is actually a portmanteau combined from the number ‘two’ and the name of the loonie, that is, the Canadian one-dollar coin. You can find different spellings of it, such as ‘twonie’ or ‘twoonie’, but the Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian newspapers decided to use the ‘toonie’ spelling. When the coin was first introduced, a number of nicknames were suggested. Just to name a few: ‘bearie’ (which is analogous to the loonie), ‘bearly’, ‘doubloonie’ (as in “double loonie”), the ‘deuce’ and the ‘moonie’ (because of the depiction of the Monarch with a bear behind).
The year 2006 marked the 10th anniversary of the Canadian toonie. By that point, it had become an integral part of Canadian life. To mark 10 years of the toonie, the Royal Canadian Mint introduced a commemorative re-creation. The design and artwork on the coin are the same as you would find on a regular toonie, but the outer ring is made of 22-karat gold.
Is There a Way To Find Rare Canadian Toonies or a Specific Toonie?
Of course, there is — all you need to do is to get in touch with Colonial Acres. Here you can find the Toonie separated into three categories: from 1996 to 1999, from 2000 to 2009, and from 2010 up to the present day. In each of these categories, you will be able to find a number of Toonies in various finishes, including commemorative designs. You should not miss this opportunity if you like collecting coins, especially those that have been in use for a long period of time.
Find the Canadian Toonie at Colonial Acres
If you’re on the market for a respected household name when it comes to dealers with quality and reliability, it is certainly Colonial Acres. This is the right place for you whether you are a numismatist or you would like to get a present for someone you love. A great variety of coins is at your disposal and you can feel free to contact the expert team at Colonial should you have any questions. Get in touch with Colonial Acres Coins today in order to add the Canadian Toonie, as well as a number of other valuable and rare Canadian coins, to your coin collection.