Answering Common Questions About Canadian Money: Part 1
Money is something that is part of everyone’s life. For some people, it is purely utilitarian: A necessity needed to conduct daily activities and fulfill basic needs and occasional wants. Other people take a specific interest in collecting coins or Canadian paper money with some significance and value.
Have you ever wondered about where the money comes from and why it looks the way it does? If so, you are not alone. Here is the first part of a two-part series in which we answer common questions that people ask about Canadian money.
What Is Money?
In the days before there was money, people bartered for the things they needed by trading things that they already had. This system was inefficient for many reasons. It was difficult for people to agree on the value of a given product, meaning that it could be difficult to negotiate a trade that was fair to both parties. Also, it was cumbersome to have to carry or pull the goods that you wanted to trade, which could be large, heavy, or otherwise awkward, to the market when you were in need of new supplies.
Money is a tool that makes trading for things much easier. It is portable, meaning that it is easy to take with you when you go shopping. Most importantly, it has an agreed-upon value. No matter where you go in Canada, a loonie is always worth one dollar, a toonie is always worth two dollars, and so on.
Who Is Responsible for Producing Canadian Money?
There are two organizations that produce Canadian money. Canada paper money is printed by the Canadian Banknote Company based on designs from the Bank of Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint is solely responsible for producing all our coins. It has a facility in Winnipeg for circulation coins and one in Ottawa for collectible coins.
Why Are Canadian Coins Different Sizes and Banknotes Different Colours?
The variations of coin sizes and banknote colours both serve the same purpose: to help people tell different denominations apart. It would be awkward and embarrassing to mistake a five-dollar bill for a $50 bill, or vice versa, but that is less likely because they are different colours and you can tell the difference just by glancing at them. Different-sized coins allow you to tell the denomination of the coin by touch without even looking. Generally speaking, the larger the coin, the greater the denomination, with the exception of the nickel and dime, the latter of which is smaller than the former.
Why is the Newest Banknote Design Horizontal?
In the past, all Canada paper money was horizontally oriented. However, after seeing vertical banknotes from countries such as Israel, Switzerland, and Venezuela, it was determined that there is more space for the portrait when the orientation is vertical. The first Canadian banknote to be vertically oriented was the Viola Desmond $10 note released in 2018, but eventually, all the banknotes will follow suit.
Are Special Coins Worth More Money?
Generally speaking, Canadian coins are not worth any more than their face value. However, there are some exceptions. However, there are some exceptions. The rarer a coin is, and the better its condition, the more valuable it will be. So a nickel from a low-mintage year, 1925, that was never circulated could be worth $2000.
The RCM also produces special commemorative coins intended for collection rather than circulation. These typically honour important people and events in Canadian history or the multicultural influences that make Canada such a rich, vibrant place to live. These commemorative coins have a face value, but their actual worth is often much greater, due to their low mintage and precious metals content.
Colonial Acres sells collectable Canadian coins, paper money, world coins, and more. Visit us in store or online and be sure to check out our unique deals where new products are added every Sunday.