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This document is an attempt to bring various published sources together to present a timeline about Canadian Coins. I have limited it to circulating and collector coins of the Province of Canada (1841-1867), and the Dominion of Canada (1867-present). I have excluded other pre-confederation coins and tokens (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, etc.).
References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.
Last updated: 2015 May 11.
- Inspector-General for the Province of Canada, Francis Hincks, introduces a bill in Parliament, to amend the Currency Act of 1841, giving the Governor General the power to have coins struck for circulation in Canada. [306.133] [571.26]
- The parliament of the Province of Canada passes acts 13 and 14 to amend the Currency Act, allowing authorized banks to produce coins. [16.19] [276.187]
- An Act to amend the 1841 Currency Act receives royal assent, with the signature of Lord Elgin, Governor General of Canada. The Act sets the value of the American dollar in Canada at 5 shillings. The Act also gives Canada’s Governor General the power to have silver coins struck for circulation in Canada, in denominations of 5 shillings, 2 shillings 6 pence, 2 shillings, 1 shilling 3 pence, 1 shilling, 6 pence, and 3 pence. These values correspond directly to American currency values of $1, 50c, 40c, 25c, 20c, 10c, and 5c. Gold coins are also provided for, in values of 10 shillings, 12 shillings 6 pence, 1 pound, and 1 pound 5 shillings. The Act is set to become law on January 1, 1851. [176.90] [306.133] [378.182] [571.26]
- The British Treasury sends a memorandum to the Colonial Office severely criticizing Canadian Inspector-General Francis Hincks’ proposed Currency Act of 1850, and demanding its disallowance. [306.134]
- Colonial Secretary Earl Grey informs Lord Elgin that the Currency Act of 1850 should be disallowed, as it was not contingent on the acceptability of the British Government. [306.134]
- Francis Hincks replies to the British Treasury stating reasons for Canada to issue its own coinage, and that the Currency Act of 1850 should be allowed to stand, and let the legislature repeal certain sections if they are deemed inappropriate. [306.134]
- Earl Grey writes to Lord Elgin, agreeing with Francis Hincks that the Canadian Legislature should have an opportunity to amend the Currency Act of 1850. [306.135]
- The chairman of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, William Lyon Mackenzie, recommends to parliament that public accounts be kept in a decimal currency based on the U.S. dollar rather than on the British sovereign. No action is taken at the time. [306.142] [571.26]
- The government decides to replace the 20c piece with a 25c coin. [661.51]
- The government of the Province of Canada sends part of its stock of 1-cent coins to the New Brunswick for temporary use there while that colony awaited the arrival of its own coinage from England. [661.48]
- The first issue of the book The Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal is published. [359.214]
- Joseph LeRoux publishes a catalogue of Canadian coins. [350.36]
- Joseph LeRoux publishes the book Numismatic Atlas for Canada. [350.36]
- The government returns $50,000 worth of 20c pieces to England, to be melted. [350.37]
- The government returns $17,174 worth of 20c pieces to England, to be melted. [350.37]
- Joseph LeRoux publishes the book The Canadian Coin Cabinet. [359.183]
- The government returns $16,585 worth of 20c pieces to the Royal Mint, to be melted and recoined as 25c pieces. [337.25] [350.37]