Alloy recovery program keeps Canadians’ pocket change fresh

Coin sorting machines such as those owned by Coinstar, are at the front line of a program to remove older coins from circulation.

Thanks to a little-known program operated by the Royal Canadian Mint, Canadians may have the newest coins in their pockets at any time since Confederation. Called the alloy recovery program, it is system where older-composition coins are culled out of circulation and replaced with new versions. The old coins are mutilated and then melted for the value of the metal, mostly nickel for most coins. The program was instituted in 2004, shortly after the introduction of plated-steel coins. It was introduced for the recovery of coins from five cents through to 50 cents. While the older five-cent coins were struck in cupro-nickel, the other values were all solid nickel. The program also solved a problem for the vending industry, as the newer coins were slightly lighter than the old nickel pieces. That meant machines had to be calibrated with broader tolerance for differences in weight than normal. Continue reading →

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