9.12.2022 – it’s unexpected

it’s unexpected
in a way, it was exciting
was among the first

The article, King and country: brief delay as new Canadians swear oath to Charles III, with its sub-headline, Citizenship ceremony starts belatedly as officials adapt oath in moments following death of Queen Elizabeth II, caught my eye.

The article told the story of a citizenship ceremony that took place in Canada via ZOOM with 140 ‘excited, polite faces’ waiting for presiding judge to come on screen to greet attendees.

The Judge was late and the ceremony was delayed.

When the Judge did log in and show up he said, “Now, just to inform you, the Monarch of the United Kingdom, the Queen, has passed away. Our sovereign is now King Charles III, the King of Canada.”

It reminded me how here in the United States, we are citizens united by a Constituion.

In Canada, the UK and other places, they are subjects of the realm, united by a common monarch.

That’s what 1776 was all about, in a nutshell.

I also read how not only will oath’s have to be updated but after 70 plus years of Elizabeth, with 5 different likenesses, there will be some new looks to the money.

I happen to have some older Canadian coins in a box and I found some nickels with King George VI and a penny (that I bought a long time ago) with King George V.

If you are around my age, and you grew up in Michigan you saw a lot of Canadian coins.

If you are really old, you will remember how vending machines had stickers that said, NO CANADIAN COINS.

I don’t think the warning was so much for the difference in value as much as it was the weird 12 sided Canadian nickels that would jam up the machine.

The 12-sided shape had been introduced in 1942 to help Canadians distinguish the wartime bronze-coloured tombac coins from copper cents.

Tombac, also used on British three-pence coins, was adopted to save on nickel, in high demand during the Second World War for the production of armaments and munitions.

The coin had returned to nickel after war, while the shape had been retained for 20 years.

While distinctive and popular, it was causing problems at the Mint.

The coin was composed of nickel, a notoriously hard metal which required a high striking pressure.

The unusual shape created a weakness in the collar dies, which tended to develop cracks at the corners.

On Nov. 8, 1962 the Government of Canada issued a proclamation to authorize the production of round five-cent coins.

Oddly enough when I started working in a bookstore in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1979, the 12 sided nickel was still common enough that I collected a box full.

My plan was to save up enough to make a $2 roll of 12 sided nickels that I could turn in at the bank.

I was in the bank near the bookstore almost everyday and I figured that whoever ended up with that roll of nickels would have screamed and gone back to the bank to complain.

The thought of being in the bank and hearing about it and then looking at the tellers and saying ‘now who would have gone to all the trouble to save up all those nickels’ was a funny thought.

I never followed through and here I sit with a box of Canadian nickels from 1962.

They all have the likeness of the Queen as she looked in 1960.

As I said, I understand the likeness of the Queen was updated 5 times and she got older.

Charles III gets to start out older.

And don’t bother looking for any Edward VIII coins.

They were all set to start being minted but a month before the start date, the feller walked out on the job.

ABOUT THE PICTURE – You can see the likeness of George VI on the Canadian nickel and quarter – in the center in the George V penny from 1920 with the inscription GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: REX ET IND: IMP which translates “George V, by the grace of God, the King and Emperor of India” Also in the photo is a gold colored 3 Penny Piece or thruppence from 1953, with the inscription ELIZABETH II DEI GRA BRITT OMN REGINA F D or Elizabeth II by the Grace of God, of all the Britains Queen, Defender of the Faith – The copper colored coin with George VI is the famous Brass Farthing as in the line from My Fair Lady, “Not a brass farthing” when Eliza’s mooching father comes around.

At some point in my life, when I realized I was never going to travel I would tell friends and coworkers they had to bring me coins back from wherever they went.

This led to lots of bizarre stories of people leaving planes and boats to buy quickly, something, anything to get some change and ‘coins for Mike.’

Once when a friend left for England I asked for some old money coins which is how I got the thruppence and farthings.

My friend had to go into an antique store to find them and actually pay for them. A fact I always felt a bit bad about but I always loved having the coins.

Old Money you ask?

Prior to 1971, there were 12 pennies to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. There were guineas, half crowns, three penny bits, sixpences and florins. This old system of currency, known as pounds, shillings and pence or lsd, dated back to Roman times when a pound of silver was divided into 240 pence, or denarius, which is where the ‘d’ in ‘lsd’ comes from.

To add to those 12 pennies, each penny was worth 4 farthings so a brass farthing was 1/4 of a penny.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote “… puzzled with adding the farthings, taking out the fours and carrying them on; adding the pence, taking out the twelves and carrying them on; adding the shillings, taking out the twenties and carrying them on.

Jefferson was one of the earliest Americans to consider a decimal currency. He gave it, in 1784, its most articulate and persuasive expression in his “Notes on Coinage.” Congress, convinced by these arguments, adopted it with little dissent. It was eventually implemented because of the agreement of major figures in the U.S. government with the basic principles of Jefferson’s argument. Jefferson also became part of the realization of the system through his involvement with the establishment and first years of the U.S. Mint.

It only took the Brits another almost 200 years to catch on.

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