31 billion Canadian pennies still out there



Blake Wolfe, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:57 PM ET

TORONTO — Four billion down, 31 billion more to go.

Since circulation of the penny was discontinued on Feb. 4, 2013, more than four billion of the copper coins have been recovered, equivalent to a face value of approximately $40 million, the Royal Canadian Mint's 2013 annual report states.

The savings from annual production costs are estimated at about $11 million per year, according to the mint's website.

Spokesman Alex Reeves said the cost of producing and distributing a single penny was 1.6 cents.

The mint estimates more than 35 billion pennies have been produced since 1908, when the British Royal Mint opened a branch in Ottawa, later becoming the Royal Canadian Mint in 1931. Prior to that time, Canadian currency was produced across the pond in London, England.

The last penny was produced on May 4, 2012, in Winnipeg.