On today’s date in 1922, Governor General Julian Byng struck Canada’s first pure nickel five-cent coin, which would replace the more costly silver coin.
Before these nickel coins were struck in the early 1920s, Canada’s five-cent pieces were smaller and thinner in size and composed of silver (in the Maritimes, they were known as “fish scales”).
Effective Jan. 2, 1922, silver was removed entirely from Canada’s five-cent coin. Because Canada was the world’s largest nickel producer, it was decided the new Canadian five-cent coin would be made of pure nickel.
The following day, the Governor General struck the first of the pure nickel five-cent coins, which weighed 4.54 grams and had a 21.21-mm diameter.