Shopping these days is a free-for-all. Some people prefer a credit card for the rewards or convenience, some people prefer to draw from their chequing account or use bank notes to make purchases.
You can use apps, phones, cards, or coins to buy things or pay friends. Some people rejoice and others worry that digital payments may become the only accepted currency in the future. Don't get me started on paying with cryptocurrency.
Although apps and cards are convenient, there are a few good reasons to use coins. When you pay with coins, you avoid the risk of credit card fraud.
While people can steal cash, the negative effects are limited. Your personal information is safe. If someone gets your identification or account information, they can do a lot of damage very quickly.
Using cash also helps you avoid fees and interest payments, which is something everyone can appreciate.
Lastly, people who pay with cash and coins usually end up spending less money overall. This is because you actually see the money leaving your hand and your wallet feels a little emptier afterward.
When you use a card or phone app, the money is less concrete. You don’t really notice how much you were spending until you check your bills at the end of the month.
It’s hard to use cash and coins if you don’t know what they are worth or how many are in a roll. Here is a guide with everything you need to know about Canadian coins.
One dollar, two dollar, $25, $500, and $1,000 Canadian banknotes are no longer considered legal tender. However, if you find paper bills in old pockets or underneath furniture, you can still take them to any bank of Canada and exchange them for legal tender.
Paper money is cheaper than coins to produce, but it is also destroyed more easily. By removing the paper one dollar and two dollar bills and replacing them with coins, the Canadian government saves a significant amount of money.
Just so you know, amendments to the bank of Canada act in 2018 made it legal to remove legal tender status from bank notes.
Currently, the Bank of England, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden), Norges Bank (Norway), European Central Bank, Swiss National Bank, and Reserve Bank of New Zealand are the only other governments legally allowed to change money to remove its legal tender status.
Since they are no longer being printed, some banknotes are worth more than their face value. If you find old paper money laying around, double check to see if it can be sold as a collector item.
How many quarters in a roll?
The official name for this coin, according to the Royal Canadian Mint, is a 25- cent piece. However, most people simply call it a “quarter”.
The quarter is the coin that most often has its reverse side image changed for special events. The “small crown” uncirculated 1905 quarter has an estimated value of $42,000 and is almost impossible to find.
However, most quarters are just 25-cent prices. The most recent quarter features a caribou on one side, and Queen Elizabeth II on the other.
The Caribou was adopted onto the coin in 1937, where it has remained with the exception of special production quarters. The Canadian quarter has been in circulation since 1870, about three years after Canada became its own entity.
A quarter is worth one-fourth of a dollar. A Canadian quarter is a silver coin with a composition of: 94% steel, 3.8% copper, and 2.2% nickel plating. It has a weight (g) of 4.4 and a diameter (mm) of 23.88. Its thickness (mm) is 1.58.
There are 40 quarters in a Canadian quarter roll. At a value of .25 cents each, this adds up to $10 for a roll. Rolls of quarters are wrapped in orange and weigh 176g.
The Canadian dime, or ten cent piece, is the smallest of the Canadian coins. It has the smallest diameter and is the thinnest. The dime has been in circulation since 1858. Until 1999 it was made entirely of nickel. Now, it has a steel core with a nickel and copper coating.
Its composition is: 92% steel, 5.5% copper, and 2.5% nickel plating. It’s weight is 1.75 g with a diameter of 18.03 mm, and a thickness of 1.22 mm.
It features the Sovereign on the front and the Bluenose schooner on the reverse. The Bluenose was a famous fishing and racing boat that one international fishing and racing championships in 1921, 1922, and 1923.
A roll of dimes has 50 coins, adding up to $5 total value. This is the highest number of coins in a single Canadian roll. Rolls of dimes are wrapped in green and weigh 87.5g.
The Canadian nickel, officially called the 5-cent piece, is worth 5 cents. It’s the smallest-valued coin accepted as currency in Canada today.
Interestingly, the nickel is made mostly of steel. Its composition is 94.5% steel, 3.5% copper, and 2% nickel plating. Its mass is 3.95 g, and its diameter is 21.2 mm with a thickness of 1.76 mm.
The nickel, like all other coins, has a picture of Queen Elizabeth II on the front side. On the reverse, the nickel has an image of a beaver. The beaver is a national Canadian symbol and is significant to the history of early Canada when trappers relied heavily on fur trade to support their way of life.
A roll of nickels contains 40 coins for a total value of $2 per roll. To identify a roll of nickels, look for the color blue on the outside of the package.
The production of the penny stopped on February 4, 2013 but it is still legal tender. Some businesses no longer accept the penny. These stores are required to round their price down to the nearest increment of 5 cents.
You can still deposit pennies into any Canadian bank, but since production stopped almost ten years ago, it is unlikely that you will be able to withdraw any pennies. This coin is officially a one-cent piece, but everyone knows it as a penny. One collectible 1936 “dot” penny made headlines when it sold for $400,000 at an auction in 2010.
The penny weighs 2.35 g, with a diameter of 19.05 mm. It’s thickness is 1.45 mm and it has a smooth edge. It’s composition is 94% steel, 1.5% Nickel, and 4.5% Copper plating.
The Sovereign remains the face of the penny, and a maple leaf is on the back. The Maple Leaf has been used to represent Canada since the 19th century. It remains one of the most recognizable Canadian symbols today.
There are 50 pennies in a Canadian roll. Even with so many coins, the penny roll is the least valuable of all coin rolls. A roll of penny weighs 117g and comes in a Red colored wrapper.
Toonies are the most valuable Canadian coin. Each Toonie is worth two dollars.
Although the official name for the coin is the two-dollar piece, the nickname Toonie comes from combining two with loonie, and is sometimes spelled “twonnie”. The coin was introduced to replace the two dollar bill in 1995.
The toonie features the Queen on the front and a polar bear on the reverse side. The polar bear represents strength and resilience, and has historical significance for Canada's ancestors.
The toonies’ mass is 6.92g with adiameter of 28 mm and a thickness of 1.75 mm. Composition of the loonie has changed over time. From 1996 to 2012, the outer ring was 99% nickel and the inner core was aluminum bronze (92% Cu, 6% Al, 2% Ni). From 2012 to the present, the outer ring has steel and nickel plating while the inner core is aluminum, bronze, and brass plating
A roll of toonies has the highest value of any of the coin rolls. Like the loonie, the toonie comes in a roll of 25 coins, putting the value at $50 per roll. The entire roll weighs 173g.
The loonie was developed in 1987 to replace the $1 paper bill. It was expected to bring the Canadian government over $40 million each year when compared to the paper bill. The nickname “loonie” is used because of the image of the common loon on the reverse side of the coin.
The term “lucky loonie” started after a loonie was placed underneath the center ice at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. The coin was said to have brought Canada a victory, and sports teams and fans now carry on the tradition, burying coins near stadiums for good luck.
The Loonie has a mass 6.27 g, a diameter of 26.5 mm, and a thickness of 1.95 mm. The composition from 1987 to 2011 was 91.5% Nickel, and 8.5% bronze plating. From 2007 to 2011, some coins used brass plating, and from 2012 to the present, the coin is made of steel with brass plating.
A roll of loonies contains 25 coins for a total of $25 value. It weighs 157g.
Where to buy coin rolls
People who prefer to use cash and coins need to know where to get this currency. Rolls of coins are easier to keep organized than individual coins, and coin rolls make great birthday presents, stocking stuffers, and graduation gifts.
The best place to buy a coin roll is Dollarama, which sells rolls for most Canadian coins for a dollar (or a loonie). You can also purchase coin rolls online from different retailers, and some websites offer special wrappers to commemorate historical events.
Purchasing from an online store will be more expensive since you have to pay for shipping and potentially special wrapping.
Unfortunately, there are people out there creating fake coins in an attempt to make money off of unsuspecting, innocent people. They often sneak fraudulent coins into large transactions with real coins to camouflage them.
Banks look for specific markings on coins and bank notes to be able to determine whether or not they are real. Some people have gotten very good at creating look-alike coins that are difficult for a non-expert to identify.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of fraud or have received counterfeit money, contact your local law enforcement right away. Banks and law enforcement can look closely at coins to determine whether they are real or counterfeit.
If the money is real, it will be returned to you. If it is counterfeit, you can work with law enforcement to try to track the original source of the fake coins, but there is no guarantee that you’ll be reimbursed for turning in the unuseable money.
The future face of the coin
The bank of Canada, the Royal Canadian mint, and the Department of Finance have the final say in any coin design. After the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, many people are wondering if the face of King Charles III will be stamped on future coins. So far, no definitive answers have been given.
Either way, rare coins that feature Queen Elizabeth II are likely to increase in value over time. It is certain that the Queen’s profile portrait will always be an important part of Canadian currency.
Famous Canadian coins
Sports fans will argue that the “lucky loonie” buried at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics should be the most famous Canadian coin.
For collectors, the most significant coin is a 1911 silver dollar that sold for nearly one million dollars in 2003. The “dot penny” is another famous Canadian coin, with only three ever in circulation, they are the rarest penny and worth millions of dollars.
If you are visiting another country, you may need to exchange your Canadian coins for different types of currency. Remember that banks often change exchange fees when you access your money overseas. If you need to change currency for a trip, it might save you money to do it ahead of time.
Frequently asked questions about how many quarters fit in a roll
40 quarters fit in a roll. A roll of quarters weighs 176g.
Since 40 quarters fit in a roll, and each quarter is worth 25 cents, the math adds up to $10 Canadian dollars per roll.
Canadian coins are made of mostly steel, some copper, and some nickel. Coins used to be made of pure nickel and copper, but this has changed in recent years.
A quarter weighs 4.4g, or 176g for a roll. A dime weighs 1.75g, or 87.5g per roll. A nickel weighs 3.95g, or 158g per roll. A Toonie weighs 6.92g, or 173g for a roll. A Loonie weighs 6.27g, or 157g for a roll.
One Loonie is worth $1 in Canada. A roll of Loonies contains 25 coins, giving the roll a value of $25.
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About The Author: Emma Martin
Emma Martin writes about the curiosities of finance. Her obsession with cryptocurrency keeps her writing most days about the best exchanges and wallets, and the wild world of NFTs. Her favourite exchanges right now are Bitbuy, NDAX, and VirgoCX.
Emma also invests in the stock market using Wealthsimple Trade. Other than crypto, Emma spends her time with her dog Brutus and shopping online with her Mastercard® KOHO Prepaid Card.
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