Newfoundland becomes Canada’s 10th province

On today’s date in 1949, the Dominion of Newfoundland joined the Canadian Confederation to become the 10th Province of Canada.

Prior to joining the Confederation as Newfoundland and Labrador, the province used a variety of coins as currency. The last decimal currency to be used in Newfoundland before joining the Confederation were the George VI 1-cent, 5-cents and 10-cents pieces, used between 1938 and 1947.

In 1937, the government of Newfoundland considered switching to a smaller cent to cut costs. The new reverse would feature the Pitcher plant – native to Newfoundland. During the Second World War, the Newfoundland cents were manufactured in Ottawa rather than in England to avoid the risks of trans-Atlantic shipping. Although coins manufactured in Ottawa between 1940 and 1947 have a “C” Mint-mark to signify that the coins were manufactured in Ottawa, the Mint-mark does not exist on the 1940 and 1942 issues.

As for the 5-cents denomination, there was considerable debate over whether to produce a silver 5-cents coin or adopt a nickel 5-cents coin. Eventually, the decision was made to change only the cent. The reverse design was continued while the obverse had the standard effigy of British colonial coinages.

The obverse for the George V 10-cents pieces used a portrait of George VI for British colonial coinages and the existing Edward VII/George V reverse.

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