Canadian Dime

Want to learn more about Canadian dimes? Read on for interesting facts and info to discover what makes the Canadian dime different from its American counterpart…

A dime in North American (United States and Canada) parlance is a ten-cent coin. The word comes from the Latin decima, via the French dime, meaning a tenth part of something, in this case meaning a tenth of a dollar. The official name for the coin is the 10 cent piece. The Canadian 10 cent is the smallest Canadian coin and about equal in size to the US dime.

Composition of the Canadian Dime Through the Ages

The original 1858 Canadian dime was made mostly from silver with a thirteenth part copper and was two-and-a-third gram in weight.  The silver content was reduced in 1920 with one part copper and four of silver. In 1967, the silver content was further reduced to fifty percent.

The 1968 Canadian dime was made of nickel and weighed 2.07 grams even though the size was about the same at a little over eighteen millimeter across. In 2000, the dime was changed to a ninety two percent steel composition with some copper and nickel, making the 10 cent very much attracted to magnets. While the coin diameter is the same as before, the weight has now been reduced to one-and-three-quarter gram.

The Current Canadian Dime

The current Canadian ten-cent had a first minting of nearly two thousand pieces in 2005. It features the Queen of England on the obverse as Canada is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, a grouping of former British colonies. The reverse is a somewhat stylized illustration of the famous Canadian schooner Bluenose. The coin was re-issued in 2006 with a new mint mark and a first mint of five thousand pieces.

The schooner Bluenose was launched in 1921 in order to win back the International Fishermen’s Trophy. It was designed to be a fishing boat as well as a racing craft and not only did it win back the trophy and remained undefeated for seventeen years but it spent its life working the Atlantic coast as well. The schooner became the symbol of her province Nova Scotia and indeed her name itself is an old nickname for the people of Nova Scotia.

Old Canadian Dimes

The original 1858 Victoria dime had a picture of Queen Victoria on the obverse and a laurel and crown on the reverse. A few varieties were issued in some years and the rarer of the 1858 and 1893 Victoria dimes may be worth up to twenty five thousand dollars at auction.

The Edward VII ten cent piece was issued from 1902 to 1910 and some rare varieties are worth a few thousand dollars in near mint condition. The George V dime was issued from 1911 to 1936 and a rare coin from the last year has been valued as high as half a million dollars. George VI dimes were issued from 1937 to 1952 and the original Elizabeth II from 1953 to 1964. The 1967 Elizabeth II had a mackerel on the reverse but most George VI and Elizabeth IIs have had a schooner.


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