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Last day for penny distribution from Canadian Mint tomorrow

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Say good-bye to the penny! As of tomorrow the Mint will no longer be distributing the small, copper coins.

The very first penny to be used in Canada was struck in 1858 but they were made in England.

The first one made by the Royal Canadian Mint was 50 years later.

Brian Grantduss with All Nations Stamp and Coin says don’t bother holding on to your pennies now, unless they are special.

“One condition, if they’re bright and shinny new and very old, they might command a premium in the collector market, or if they happen to be one of those rare dates, which are 1922, 1923 and 1925.”

The pennies back then were bigger, but to save money and because the US was doing it, we started making them the size you see today in 1920.

And while you’ll still be able to use those coppers rattling around your pocket, retailers won’t be required to give them out as change and will round off prices for people paying with cash.

Debit and credit transactions are still settled to the cent.

Dave Wilkes with the Retail Council of Canada says only cash purchases will be rounded up or down to the nearest nickel.

“So amounts ending in either one or two cents or six or seven cents will be rounded down. The other denominations, three and four and eight and nine would be rounded up.”

He says the net result of rounding transations will be a wash, according to Ottawa. At the end of the day some go up and some go down and it all works out.

You can keep using pennies for the rest of your life, but once they’re in the hands of a retailer — the coins go to the bank, never to be seen again.

And if you’ve got a jar full of pennies to get rid of, banks will always accept them rolled.

Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce director Allan Asaph says he doesn’t think people will miss the penny that much.

“In many situations, I think people have pretty much gotten used to it being a less than viable currency. Look how many pennies you can see lying on the ground, people won’t even take the time to stop and pick them up”

Asaph says he’s seen some businesses using it as a promotion, offering to always round off prices in favour of the customer.