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Industrious, enduring–the 5-cent coin

The beaver has a long history in Canada as both commodity and cultural icon. The Hurons honoured the beaver hundreds of years ago as the totem of their tribe. Native peoples used the beaver emblem to sign treaties with the first colonists. Since then the beaver has appeared in the heraldic bearings of Québec City and Montreal and even marked Canada's first postage stamp. The beaver coin design was created by Canadian artist G.E. Kruger Gray and was first used in 1937.

Reverse side designs  |  Technical specifications   |   Mintages

Reverse side designs

1858 - 1921
The crossed maple boughs
The two crossed maple boughs appeared on all 5-cent coins from 1858 to 1921. These coins were nicknamed ?fish scales? for their tiny size; their diameter is only 15.5 mm ? smaller than the current dime!

1922 - 1936
The two maple leaves
W.H.J. Blackmore's redesign of the 5-cent coin coincided with the increase of the coin's diameter.

1937 - 1942, 1946 - 1950, 1952 - 1966, 1968 - present
The beaver
The beaver design was created in 1937 by G.E. Kruger-Gray as part of a coin modernization effort.

1942 - 1963
The 12-sided coin
Five-cent coins were made of nickel from 1921 to 1942. However, nickel's importance in the production of war materials demanded the development of another metal for coinage. Tombac, a kind of brass, was chosen as the replacement and was used until 1946. The 5-cent coin featured 12 sides to distinguish it from the one-cent coin.

1943 - 1945
The victory coin
Thomas Shingles created and engraved this design intended to stimulate the war effort. The message "We Win When We Work Willingly" is engraved in Morse code on the rim of the coin.

1951
The identification of nickel
In 1751, Swedish scientist A.F. Cronstedt successfully identified and named nickel. Canada, the world's largest nickel producer, commemorated the discovery with Stephen Trenka's design depicting a nickel refinery.

1967
The centennial 5-cent coin
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Confederation, Alex Colville created a special set of designs for all coin denominations. The five-cent coin features a hopping rabbit.

2005
Victory Anniversary Nickel
The 2005 Victory Anniversary Nickel honours the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. This special circulation coin is a representation of the 5-cent coin created in 1943 to promote the Canadian war effort.

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Technical specifications

1908 - 1919
Composition: 92.5% silver, 7.5% copper
Weight (g): 1.167
Diameter (mm): 14.494
Thickness (mm): n/a 

1920 - 1921
Composition: 80% silver, 20% copper
Weight (g): 1.167
Diameter (mm): 14.494
Thickness (mm): n/a 

1922 - 1942
Composition: 99% nickel
Weight (g): 4.54
Diameter (mm): 21.21
Thickness (mm): 1.7 

1942 - 1943
Composition: 88% copper, 12% zinc (tombac)
Weight (g): 4.54
Diameter (mm): 21.21
Thickness (mm): 1.7 

1944 - 1945
Composition: chrome plated steel
Weight (g): 4.54
Diameter (mm): 21.21
Thickness (mm): 1.7 

1946 - 1951
Composition: 99.9% nickel
Weight (g): 4.54
Diameter (mm): 21.21
Thickness (mm): 1.7 

1951 - 1954
Composition: chrome plated steel
Weight (g): 4.54
Diameter (mm): 21.21
Thickness (mm): 1.7 

1955 - 1981
Composition: 99.9% nickel
Weight (g): 4.54
Diameter (mm): 21.21
Thickness (mm): 1.7 

1982 - 1999
Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Weight (g): 4.6
Diameter (mm): 21.2
Thickness (mm): 1.76

2000 - present
Composition: 94.5% steel, 3.5% copper, 2% nickel plating
Weight (g): 3.95
Diameter (mm): 21.2
Thickness (mm): 1.76

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Mintages

1908 - 1909
1908 - 1,197,780
1909 - 1,890,865 

1910 - 1919
1910 - 5,850,325
1911 - 3,692,350
1912 - 5,863,170
1913 - 5,588,048
1914 - 4,202,179
1915 - 1,172,258
1916 - 2,481,675
1917 - 5,521,373
1918 - 6,052,289
1919 - 7,835,400 

1920 - 1929
1920 - 10,649,851
1921 - 2,582,495
1922 - 4,763,186
1923 - 2,475,201
1924 - 3,066,658
1925 - 200,050
1926 - 933,577
1927 - 5,285,627
1928 - 4,588,725
1929 - 5,562,262

1930 - 1939
1930 - 3,685,991
1931 - 5,100,830
1932 - 3,198,566
1933 - 2,597,867
1934 - 3,827,303
1935 - 3,900,000
1936 - 4,400,450
1937 - 4,593,263
1938 - 3,898,974
1939 - 5,661,123 

1940 - 1949
1940 - 13,820,197
1941 - 8,681,785
1942 - 10,243,778
1943 - 24,760,256
1944 - 11,532,784
1945 - 18,893,216
1946 - 6,952,684
1947 - 17,198,848
1948 - 1,810,789
1949 - 13,736,276 

1950 - 1959
1950 - 11,950,520
1951 - 12,642,641
1952 - 10,891,148
1953 - 16,635,552
1954 - 6,998,662
1955 - 5,355,028
1956 - 9,399,854
1957 - 7,387,703
1958 - 7,607,521
1959 - 11,552,523 

1960 - 1969
1960 - 37,157,433
1961 - 47,889,051
1962 - 46,307,305
1963 - 43,970,320
1964 - 78,075,068
1965 - 84,876,018
1966 - 27,976,648
1967 - 36,876,574
1968 - 99,253,330
1969 - 27,830,229 

1970 - 1979
1970 - 5,726,010
1971 - 27,312,609
1972 - 62,417,387
1973 - 53,507,435
1974 - 94,704,645
1975 - 138,882,000
1976 - 55,140,213
1977 - 89,120,791
1978 - 137,079,273
1979 - 186,295,825 

1980 - 1989
1980 - 134,878,000
1981 - 99,107,900
1982 - 105,539,898
1983 - 72,596,000
1984 - 84,088,000
1985 - 126,618,000
1986 - 156,104,000
1987 - 106,299,000
1988 - 75,025,000
1989 - 141,435,538 

1990 - 1999
1990 - 42,537,000
1991 - 10,931,000
1992 - 53,732,000
1993 - 86,877,000
1994 - 99,352,000
1995 - 78,780,000
1996 - 36,686,000
1997 - 27,354,000
1998 - 156,873,000
1999 - 124,861,000 

2000 - 2009
2000 - 108,514,000
2001 - 166,686,000
2002 - 135,960,000
2003 - 101,793,000
2004 - 123,925,000
2005 - 148,082,000
2006 - 184,874,000
2007 - 221,472,000
2008 - 278,530,000
2009 - 266,448,000

2010 - present
2010 - 126,800,000
2011 - 230,328,000
2012 - 202,944,000

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