On today’s date in 1907, the Government of Canada issued a proclamation setting a standard fineness and weight for the country’s silver, copper and bronze coins.
Written by Edmund Leslie Newcombe, Canada’s longest-serving deputy minister of justice, the proclamation references a chapter entitled “An act respecting the currency” in the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1906. The legislation “enacted that such silver, copper, or bronze coins as are by authority of the Crown struck for circulation in Canada shall pass current and be a legal tender at the rates assigned to them respectively by royal proclamation, such silver coins being of the fineness now fixed by the laws of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of weights bearing, respectively, the same proportion to the value to be assigned to them which the weights of the silver coins of the said United Kingdom bear to their nominal value.”
“Now know ye that by and with the advice of our privy council of Canada, we do by these presents proclaim and declare that the rates at which the same shall pass current and be a legal tender in Canada are hereby assigned to silver and bronze coins struck for circulation in Canada either at the Royal Mint or at the Ottawa branch thereof when the coining of Canadian coins at the said Ottawa branch is duly authorized as follows:
(a) To the following silver coins, which are to be of the fineness now fixed by the laws of the United Kingdom, namely, thirty-seven fortieths of fine silver and three-fortieths of copper, or a millesimal fineness of 0.925, and are to be respectively of the weights hereinafter specified, being weights bearing respectively the same proportion to the value hereby assigned to them which the weights of the silver coins of the United Kingdom now bear to their nominal value ….”
Newcombe, who served as Canada’s deputy justice minister and deputy attorney general from 1893-1924, also explained:
- the 50-cent coins would be weighed separately with a remedy of 1.024 grains;
- the 25-cent coins would be weighed separately with a remedy of 0.594 grains;
- the 10-cent coins would be sampled in groups of $1 and weighed against the standard dollar weight of 358.6673 grains with a remedy of 2.844 grains; and
- the five-cent coins would be sampled in groups of $1 and weighed against the standard dollar weight of 358.6673 grains with a remedy of 3.485 grains.