A Shilling for Your Thoughts

All of this talk about the abolition of the penny got me wondering just when Canada first started using the penny in the first place.

Being a colony, first of France and then England, the first European currencies were metal coins. To deal with a shortage of coins in the 1600s, the colonists of New France used playing cards for a short while. This was happening between 1685 and 1713, when the practice was banned.

After the British conquest, the main currencies were British coins. Furs were also a kind of currency .. sort of like a barter system.

There were also a lot of Spanish coins making their way up to Canada. In Prince Edward Island, someone had the idea of creating a Canadian shilling by punching out the centre of these Spanish coins.

In 1821, Banks in Canada started issuing their own bank notes. They also issued coins sometime around then, based on shilling and pence.

In 1858, the first Canadian coins were issued, and the penny made its appearance. The first coins were minted in London (England) and had the image of Queen Victoria on one side.


Posted on March 31, 2012, in commerce and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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