Thursday, May 3, 2007

Canada introduces new 'pocket change'...

The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a rather sizable piece of pocket change: a $1M coin. Yes, that's a 1 followed by six zeros all in one single hunk of metal alloy. This reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Burns steals the trillion dollar bill. But if you are one of those annoying people that enjoys jingling their coins while walking down the street (and one would think that with this kind of tender that it would be more of a nervous habit than usual), think again. The coin is made from 99.999% pure gold and weighs in at 100 kg. You'd have to have pretty big pockets and be able to do leg presses as well as Pat Robertson to carry this sucker around.

The mint was surprised that there would be any takers, yet they have managed already to sell several of these monstrosities, perhaps to be used as coffee table tops?

Canada has had a rather interesting history with its coinage over the last 20 years. The original $1 coin, replacing the old $1 and $2 paper bills, had on the opposite side of our usual Queen image, artwork displaying a couple of voyageurs paddling away in a canoe. The dies for this coin, however, were 'lost' and new artwork had to be created. What did they come up with? A loon. The $1 coin thus came to be called the 'looney', and the rest is history. The $2 coin came out some years later, with a rather interesting coin-in-a-coin design and following its $1 predecessor, came to be known as the 'twoney'. The twoney is somewhat larger than the looney, prompting me to predict that by the time the $20 coin came round Canada would produce the greatest discus throwers in Olympic history.

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