Mint replaces silver with nickel alloy

On today’s date in 1968, the Royal Canadian Mint announced it would begin replacing the silver in its coins with a nickel alloy beginning in August 1968.

“As the price of silver rose, the cost of minting silver circulation coins became prohibitive,” explains the Mint website. “In August 1968, the Royal Canadian Mint issues the first nickel-based 50-cent and $1 pieces. Smaller and darker than their silver predecessors, they are accepted with little resistance by the general public.”

During the summer of 1967, the silver content of the 10- and 25-cent pieces were reduced from 80 per cent to 50 per cent, and production of the 50-cent and $1 general circulation pieces was stopped. In 1968, the regular designs continued, with the 10- and 25-cent coins struck in 50 per cent silver. In August 1968, nickel replaced silver entirely for general circulation coins, and reduced 50-cent and $1 pieces were struck in nickel.

As such, Canada’s last true silver dollar was struck in 1967. Its reverse depicts a Canada goose above the inscription “CANADA 1867-1967”, marking the 100th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

By 1968, the Mint was eliminating silver from its regular coinage, and the dollar was reduced in size and produced from 100 per cent nickel. In 1987, the design and metal were again changed to that of the current “loonie.”

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