Collecting coins is somewhat of a common pastime, which is often combined with the collecting of stamps. I have collected coins at various points in my life and perhaps you might personally know someone who keeps and maintains a coin collection.
Nobody can know for sure what’s in store for the future of cash, however at least for the foreseeable future coins will remain a mainstay of our daily lives. Here I provide a brief outline of the types of coins that one would come across throughout the US, UK and Canada.
Firstly, there are two types of coin, being coins that are in circulation and commemorative coins. Commemorative coins, generally speaking, are limited edition coins that commemorate, or honour a certain event or individual of importance to a given nation. This brief article will focus solely on coins that are currently in circulation.
Currency: US Dollar
Dollar(singular), Dollars (plural) = $
Cent (singular), Cents (plural) = ¢
American coins can be found in the following denominations: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢ (less common) and $1 (less common).
American coins have nicknames:
1¢= a penny (or a cent) — from Old English ’pening’ (a coin),
5¢= a nickel — composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel,
10¢= a dime — the word ’dime’ comes from the Old French ’disme’ (now ’dîme’), meaning ’tenth part’,
25¢= a quarter — quarter dollar.
25¢ coins (quarters) are frequently embossed with special designs, commemorating the various states and US territories.
Currency: Pound Sterling
Pound(s) = £
Penny (singular) and Pence (plural) = p
’Quid’ is the slang term for a ’Pound’ — “That’ll cost twenty quid (£20)”. ’Quid’ is both the singular and plural form (£1 = a quid)
UK coins come in the following denominations: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, £2.
Much like the US quarter/25¢ coin, the UK 50p coin is frequently embossed with special designs, commemorating various individuals, events or other concepts that are regarded as being quintessentially British.
UK coins do not have commonly known nicknames, however prior to 1971, the UK had an entirely different coinage system. Since 1971, UK coins became decimalised, whereby £1 is made up of 100p (pence); when discussing UK currency, the period before 1971 is known as the ’pre-decimal’ period.
Briefly speaking, £1 was made up of 240 pennies or 20 shillings — 1 shilling was made up of 12 pennies. Additionally, the following coins, the names of which can be heard in nursery rhymes and seen throughout many famous pieces of literature, were prevalent: Farthing, Half Penny, Threepence (confusingly, the plural form of a pre-decimal 1 penny coin is not ’pence’ but ’pennies’), Sixpence, Florin, Half Crown and a Crown.
For more detailed information, see the following link.
Currency: Canadian Dollar
Canadian coins come in the following denominations: 1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1 and $2.
Canadian coins generally have the same nicknames as those of the US, however a $1 coin is known as a ’Loonie’ and a $2 coin as a ’Toonie’.
Canadian coins feature the face of Queen Elizabeth II.
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