The impending removal of the 1-cent coin from circulation, while inevitable, is still lamentable for coin collectors. For the first time in living memory, an entire coin denomination will cease to exist. It may be a bit of a stretch to compare this with the introduction of decimal currency of the 1850s, but in the more than 150 years since decimal coins became legal tender, there has always been a 1-cent coin. I remember assembling date sets of 1-cent coins out of the family penny hoard. The collection was only worth face value, but it was fun and may in some way contribute to where I am now. It is a memory I am sure most of my readers share. But some of the talk surrounding the coin is just plain foolishness.
Just because the coin is being taken out of circulation does not mean the word cent, or penny, is being expunged from the English language. I am also quite confident that in most cases it will be impossible for any business to effectively manipulate price-rounding to their advantage, since purchases are usually made up of several items. But I do see a positive aspect of this for coin collecting. As the deadline draws near, there is bound to be more talk and speculation about how this works. Members of the general public are going to wonder about the rounding off, and if their little hoard of 1-cent coins will become valuable. There will also be the usual misinformation implying that the coin was first made in 1908, as opposed to first made in Canada that year. Mainstream journalists are often amazingly uninformed about coins and their history.
Here is where I see the opportunity. Local newspapers and radio stations will be following this story as a matter of national news interest. They will be very receptive to the idea of running a local angle on this big story, such as the inclusion of an interview with a local coin expert who can provide accurate information and speak authoritatively on the subject. Such an expert could very well be a representative of the local coin club. No, I don’t think it is the place for coin clubs to speak about the government’s reasons, or even to say that withdrawing the coin is a good thing. That is a matter of personal opinion, but it is a chance for the local club to get some free publicity. I encourage every coin club out there to take advantage of this opportunity to promote themselves. Try to set up an interview with local media, and when you do, don’t forget to mention where and when the local club meets.