19 Most Valuable Canadian Penny Worth Money

The Canadian penny, equivalent to a hundredth fraction of a dollar, is an intriguing coin in its own right. If one were to venture into the French-influenced regions of Canada, they might hear the coin referred to by its colloquial term – a descriptor alluding to its dark shade.

A Glimpse into Canada’s Penny and Its Economic Significance

Before diving deep into the notable pennies of Canada, it’s vital to understand the nation’s roots. Predating the colonial era, Canada was home to the First Nations. Today, remnants of this history live on, with several communities still conversing in their native tongues. Given Canada’s colonial experiences, both English and French have risen to be the official languages, symbolizing the influence of the British and French.

A 1939 Anomaly: The Canadian Penny with a Twist

  • Year: 1939
  • Featuring: King George VI
  • Value: Approx. $399

Have you ever imagined a coin that challenges the conventional round shape? In 1939, a Canadian penny did just that! The land that houses the bustling city of Montreal, resting under the shadow of the iconic triple-peaked Mt. Royal, refers to this cent as “sou” in their native Québécois French.

A Glimmer from 1981: A Glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II

  • Year: 1981
  • Featuring: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Value: Approx. $350

The broader backdrop to the Canadian penny is the nation’s connection to The Commonwealth – a conglomerate of nations, most of which share a colonial bond with Britain. This union is not bound by obligation but rather a mutual understanding and shared history. This history echoes in Canada’s choice of featuring reigning British monarchs on its coins, from Queen Victoria and King Edward VII to King George V and VI, and, of course, Queen Elizabeth II.

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The Vibrant 1935 Cent – A Glimpse into George V’s Era

Remember the times when coins bore the likeness of the monarch on one side, and the emblematic maple leaf on the other? The 1935 Canadian cent is a beautiful reminder of that era. Featuring George V, this cent radiates a reddish-brown glow, reminiscent of a setting sun. This particular piece, graded MS64 RB, holds a valuation of $131.50. Although earlier versions of this coin embraced the luster of bronze, this cent adopted a modern touch. Comprising 94% steel, a sprinkle of 1.5% nickel, and a final embrace of copper covering the last 4.5%, it’s a testimony to the metallurgical progression. Measuring exactly 25.4mm across, it has a weight that resonates its metal mix at 4.54g.

The Vintage Album – Echoes from 1920 and Beyond

Canadian cents, with their rich history, have seen a colorful palette of metals in their makeup. The album, showcasing coins from 1920 onwards, captures this essence beautifully. These coins were predominantly copper in their early days, with a hint of tin and zinc, forming what many coin enthusiasts refer to as French bronze. As time moved forward, the composition slightly changed, embracing more tin and zinc to keep up with the demands and availability of metals. However, post-war coins took on a brighter, brassier feel, with the 1970s seeing a heavier inclination towards tin. This treasure trove of an album values at $138.01 and is a true delight for collectors.

Transitioning through Time: The 1920-1972 Collection

Change is the only constant, they say, and Canadian cents are a testament to that. While maintaining a consistent diameter after 1920 at 19.05mm, the metals that formed these coins told tales of their times. The late 90s introduced us to the lighter coins, almost ethereal at just 2.25g, with a composition leaning heavily towards zinc, crowned with a delicate layer of copper. As the new millennium dawned, the coins saw yet another transformation, with steel making up the majority at 94%, accompanied by nickel and crowned with copper. Priced at $124.22, this collection is a chronicle of changes, culminating in 2012.

The Tale of the Substantial Cent (1858-1920)

If one were to venture back in time and lay their hands on Canada’s early pennies, their size would probably catch them by surprise. These coins, spanning from 1858 to 1920, bore a generous diameter akin to contemporary coins from neighboring nations. Yet, while coins of the era from the US, UK, and Spain felt rich and weighty due to their precious metal content, the Canadian version opted for more readily available metals, rendering them noticeably less robust in hand.

  • Timeline: 1858-1920
  • Rulers: Diverse
  • Quality: Varied
  • Worth: Approximately $166.27

Their less than hearty feel wasn’t well-received by the Canadian populace, used to a certain heft in their coins. To remedy this dissatisfaction, 1876 saw the introduction of a revised version, graced with Queen Victoria’s visage on one side and encircled maple leaves on the other. To the delight of many, this new coin also brought back some of the familiar weight, tipping the scales at about 1/5 of an ounce or 5.67 grams.

Transition to the Petite Penny (1920-2012)

Back in 1867, Queen Victoria sat on the throne of a realm that wasn’t just limited to England, Scotland, and Wales. Indeed, with Ireland under its umbrella, it was the mighty United Kingdom. Around the same time, Canada wasn’t the vast nation we know today. It was a budding Dominion, formed by the union of four distinct provinces: Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The monumental agreement on July 1, 1867, led to this union, placing these territories under the watchful eyes of Queen Victoria.

  • Timeline: 1920-2012
  • Rulers: Various
  • Quality: Varied
  • Worth: Roughly $169.17

Post this significant union, Canadian pennies took a fascinating turn. Drawing inspiration from the British Isles, Canada began modeling its penny on the British half-penny, melding traditions from both sides of the Atlantic.

The Vintage 1969 Canadian Penny

  • Year of Origin: 1969
  • Ruling Monarch: The illustrious Elizabeth II
  • Assessment: Not rated
  • Worth: A whopping $150

Earlier versions of Canadian pennies, from the reigns of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, to King George V, adorned their regal heads with crowns. The design at the back echoed the nation’s symbol – a beautiful circle of maple leaves. However, as times changed, these coins became more streamlined. They depicted the royals without their regal crowns and decided to forgo the traditional ring of maple leaves.

The Pristine Collection of 1985 Canadian Pennies

Ever since 1920, Canadian pennies underwent a makeover. They became slightly smaller, measuring 19.05mm in diameter. An interesting trivia? These coins portrayed the regal figures without their iconic headwear. In 1953, a special year marked the entrance of Queen Elizabeth II onto these pennies, a reign that continued until 2012, marking the end of an era for the production of pennies.

  • Year of Origin: 1985
  • Ruling Monarch: The iconic Elizabeth II
  • Assessment: In perfect, untouched condition
  • Worth: An impressive $214.04

Queen Elizabeth II’s likeness on these pennies went through three artistic renditions. The 1990 makeover was notably undertaken by Dora de Pedery-Hunt. A tidbit about Dora – she was a Canadian with Hungarian roots, and she became the pioneer Canadian artist to capture the Queen’s portrait on a coin. In earlier times, this honor was typically reserved for expert craftsmen from the UK.

The Dual Maple Leaf Penny

Canada, a nation symbolized by its iconic maple leaf, showcases this emblem prominently on the pennies bearing the visage of Queen Elizabeth II. Think of these leaves as nature’s insignia, etched into the coin’s fabric by the renowned G.E. Kruger Gray back in the late 1930s. This artistic mastermind, often referred to by his initials, G.E., framed his creation with intricate edge designs. Between the symmetrical pair of leaves, you can uncover a treasure trove of details—on one side, the coin’s vintage year and on the opposite, Gray’s hallmark initials, K.G. The leaves seem to sprout from a single unifying branch, harmoniously rooted in the heart of the coin.

  • Mintage Years: Varied
  • Featured Sovereigns: Various
  • Assessment: Varied
  • Appraisal: Approximately $917.33

The coin’s crown and base elegantly sport the denomination and the nation’s name, respectively.

The Centennial Dove Penny

Fast forward three decades from the introduction of the dual maple leaf design, and 1967 painted a celebratory atmosphere across Canada. Marking a century since the confederation, a unique penny was minted. This coin spotlighted Queen Elizabeth II, capturing a moment of her youth, adorned with her regal headpiece on one side.

Flip it, and instead of the common leaf or monarch, an urban avian dancer graces its presence. This bird, often spotted fluttering around city corners with a shimmering plumage that gleams shades of aqua, blue, green, and purple, is none other than the rock pigeon. Some might recognize it as the rock dove or the ordinary city pigeon. Its depicted pose, wings wide open, embodies the spirit of freedom and unity that the centennial celebrations represented.

  • Year of Minting: 1967, marking the Centennial
  • Featured Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Assessment: Not specified
  • Appraisal: Valued at $100

As you hold this coin, it’s not just metal and design—it’s history, artistry, and national pride interwoven in the palm of your hand.

The 2006 Magnetic Penny: A Rarity in its Own Right

If you were to dive into the world of Canadian cent coins, you’d find a unique mark of distinction. The coins issued in the centennial year showcase both 1867 and 1967 inscriptions, a nod to a hundred years of nationhood. In contrast, our southern neighbors, the Americans, traditionally place the mintage year on the coin’s obverse side.

  • Issued Year: 2006
  • Featuring Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Grading Level: MS64
  • Estimated Worth: $152.89

However, let’s briefly journey back in time to the realm of King Edward VIII, a British monarch with ties to Canada. He might be better remembered for his passionate love story than his reign. Falling for Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée, he made the monumental decision to renounce his throne, choosing love over duty.

A Multi-Year Coin Collection: A Mélange of Canadian History

Now, speaking of monarchs, there’s an intriguing tale intertwined with Canada’s penny history. Before he chose to abdicate, Edward was known as the Prince of Wales. His post-abdication title? The Duke of Windsor. Yet, the most riveting detail lies in the realm of numismatics. Since Edward’s reign was ephemeral, the mint hadn’t cast any coins with his likeness.

  • Spanning Years: 1965-2012
  • Featuring Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Grading Level: In Circulated Condition
  • Estimated Worth: $107.01

In the wake of his sudden departure, the Royal Mint faced a unique challenge. The need for new coin designs to honor the successor, King George VI, was imminent. As a result, during this transitional phase, the Mint introduced four intriguing pieces – coins from 1936 but forged in 1937. These became renowned as the “1936 Dot Coins,” aptly named for a distinguishing dot they bore.

The Jewel of the 1930s: A Dot and Four Coin Legends

In the annals of coinage, few tales rival that of the enigmatic 1936 coin with a discreet dot. Merely four such pieces are known to exist today, making them the crown jewels for many a collector. Imagine, just a decade ago, one of these rarities traded hands for a sum north of US$400,000.

Similarly captivating is the tale of another coin from 1921, portraying Queen Elizabeth II. Not many know that this coin, affectionately termed the “Monarch of Canadian Coins,” saw a limited first run. Today, less than a hundred of these are believed to be extant. Rewind to the year 2000, and one of these fetched a price similar to its dotted counterpart from 1936. Adjust for inflation, and we’re looking at an amount inching towards a million U.S. dollars today.

  • Span: 1920-2012
  • Sovereigns Represented: Various
  • Condition: Varies
  • Estimated Value: $119.75

A Compact Chronicle: Small Cents of Canada 1920-1965

Dive a little deeper, and the 1936 coin with the dot unfolds another facet of its story. It was the final curtain call for a design that had its inception in 1920. Take a trip down memory lane to that year, and you’d find the penny shrinking in size. Along with its new dimensions, it also unveiled a design featuring two maple leaves flanking its value and the year of minting.

Fast-forward to today, and you’d notice a stark difference in where ‘Canada’ is imprinted on these coins. Older versions saw it ensconced within a ring of maple leaves, but post-1937, the design evolved to twin maple leaves gracing a singular branch.

  • Span: 1920-1965
  • Sovereigns Represented: Various
  • Condition: Varies
  • Estimated Value: $137.50

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The Allure of Canadian Cents: From the Empire to Dodecagons

A Journey from British Dominance

In a bygone era, the vastness of the British Empire was unparalleled, its reach stretching to corners of the world so vast that the same regent who ruled the streets of London could also reign over lands as diverse as Canada, Australia, and the sun-kissed beaches of Barbados. However, as is the nature of empires, change was inevitable.

  • Date of Issue: 2012
  • Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Quality: Varied
  • Estimated Worth: $191.11

One significant wave of change washed over in 1947. It was the year when India chose to carve its destiny and broke free from the British shackles. With King George VI no longer holding the title of India’s Emperor, there was an intriguing hiccup in the minting process. The result? A few 1948 pennies, curiously imprinted with the year 1947.

Diving Deeper into Canadian Coinage Quirks

Yet, when talking about peculiarities in Canadian cents, one cannot overlook the enigma of the 1947 Maple Leaf pennies. Crafted in 1948, yet bearing the mark of 1947, their uniqueness was overshadowed by the sheer volume in which they were produced. This abundance diluted their rarity in the collectors’ market. Now, let’s pivot our attention to a truly distinct piece: the 12-faced Canadian cent, a symbol of the millennial generation.

  • Date of Issue: 2012
  • Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
  • Quality: Varied
  • Estimated Worth: $299.99

For 14 years, between 1982 to 1996, Canada brought forth a unique innovation to its smallest denomination: the dodecagon-shaped penny. Eschewing the traditional circular design, these pennies boasted 12 distinct sides, each internally angled at 150°. With a diameter just shy of an inch (specifically, 19.05mm) and a weight of 2.5 grams, their composition was primarily copper, enriched with a hint of tin and a sprinkle of zinc.

The 2006 Penny: A Story of Design and Material

Once upon a time, the land of Canada aimed to make its coins inclusive. To help those with visual challenges, a coin with twelve distinct sides was minted. By merely touching the coin, a person could recognize its unique identity. However, in 1997, a significant change took place. With a whopping 98.4% zinc composition, minting a dodecagon-shaped coin became a complex endeavor. The simple procedure of covering a circular coin in a thin layer of copper became an intricate task when dealing with multiple edges. Thus, the edgy coins had to return to their original circular shape.

Interestingly, by 2012, these pennies were seldom seen in daily transactions. So, Canada made the bold decision to halt its production.

  • Year of Minting: 2006
  • Reigning Monarch: Elizabeth II
  • Coin Quality: MS
  • Estimated Worth: $99.37

The 1923 Penny: A Glimpse into Canada’s Past

Fast forward to the 2010s, when an economic conundrum arose. The humble penny, worth a single cent, took a surprising 1.6 cents to create! This financial imbalance led to the discontinuation of the coin. However, while these pennies stopped rolling off the minting machines, they retained their legal status. But practicality stepped in. To ease transactions, retailers began to adjust their pricing to the nearest nickel.

  • Year of Minting: 1923
  • Reigning Monarch: King George V
  • Coin Quality: Circulated
  • Estimated Worth: $94

By 2013, these pennies had vanished from everyday transactions, becoming relics of the past. Yet, many Canadians had nostalgic collections tucked away at home. On February 4th, a nod to this iconic coin was made by none other than Google with a specially crafted Doodle. And while you may not find them in cash registers, their legacy lives on. In the age of digital payments and credit cards, some prices still echo the value of a penny.