Paper Or Plastic?


That used to be the question when grocery stores asked how you wanted your purchases packed. Now, here in Canada, it could be the question of how you want your change.

In my Funny Money post of about a year ago, I mentioned that Canada was switching over from paper money, to bills made of polymer plastic.  Working from the Hundred, they’ve finally changed all the bills over, down to the Five, which is the smallest Canadian bill printed, since we replaced the One and Two-Dollar bills with coins several year ago.

Often kidded by Americans about our “Monopoly Money”, I thought they, and perhaps other non-Canadians, might like to see the changes.  These are the most recent, non-plastic 20s, 10s and 5s, first the fronts, and the backs.

SDC10603 SDC10605









These are the new polymer versions, again, first fronts, then backs, showing the uneven-shaped clear strip, the security strip, and (hopefully) the holograms.  The first thing I found is that they “talk” to your computer/scanner, and refuse to resolve, to prevent color-copier counterfeiting – after the third try, and checking the computer, and then the scanner.  I finally had to use the digital camera, upload to the computer and hope that they publish.

SDC10599  SDC10600









At our income levels, hundred-dollar bills don’t enter the house very often, but thanks to a son who lives at home and doesn’t have to rely on government pensions, and the wife’s stash from selling candles, we have the three most recent iterations of the fifty-dollar bill, the ten-year-old, pure-paper version, the modified version with the security strip, and the new, all-polymer edition, bottom to top.











Despite some snide, condescending, redneck comments about our cash, Canada doesn’t even come close to having the most flamboyant bills.  I have some very pretty, and colorful, foreign examples with my coin collection.  Perhaps later I could publish pictures of bills from places where it’s a good thing you’re already wearing sunglasses.

19 thoughts on “Paper Or Plastic?

  1. wildbilbo says:

    Australia’s had polymer notes for decades – they are excellent. 🙂


    • Archon's Den says:

      They have their pros and cons. I’d wonder what took the Canadian politicians and bureaucrats so long to switch over….but we’re talking about Canadian politicians and…. Can you say hidebound?
      Does the British one pound coin look like the Oz dollar coin? Just read of an expat bar-tender(ess) who got one and adopted it, for a feel of home. Canada’s gold-colored $1 Loonie is only mistaken for real money. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. benzeknees says:

    I find the new bills so slippery, I’m always trying to click my fingers to make sure I’m only giving 1 bill at a time. Luckily, since I rarely leave the house, I don’t have to worry about handling cash too often. I recently went through a 6 month period with 1 loonie & a bit of change in my wallet. I didn’t even realize I had no paper money at all!


    • Archon's Den says:

      Yes, very slippery, and like cling-wrap. You have to be very careful you only peel off one at a time.
      Oh dear! And I thought my wife didn’t get out much. If nothing else, we have quite a collection of doctors’ appointments to go to, which we use as an excuse to occasionally stop for lunch at Burger King or Arbys.
      How is K doing with his new(ish) job?? Does he still get out? 😕 😀


  3. Dan Antion says:

    We’ve never had any luck in the US with dollar coins or two dollar bills. They’ve issued both several times but no traction.


  4. Jim Wheeler says:

    I listened to a podcast about the history of U.S. paper currency a year or two ago and was surprised to learn that its makeup is more like cloth than paper. The stuff is made by a single company with a proprietary process up in the northeast somewhere. The movement to coins is probably moot because cash is used less and less – it’s mostly going electronic.


    • Archon's Den says:

      Even made of a type of papery cloth, the average bill has a one and a half year expected lifespan. You can imagine what the life of real paper would be. One of the reasons Canada changed the most-used bills – the one, and the two – to coins, which cost more to mint, but are expected to last 20 years or more.
      Electronic, especially debit cards, have really caught on in Canada. There are still places, like the Mennonite vendors at the Farmers’ Market who prefer/demand cash. 😀


  5. BrainRants says:

    Like the metric system, we ‘Murricans steadfastly resolve to not become part of the 21st century in some ways. Polymer, you say? Can you write on that shit?


    • Archon's Den says:

      I haven’t tried, and haven’t seen any written on, now that you ask. Probably like waxed paper….Just tried it – almost impossible with a ballpoint. Marker might leave ink, but would probably wipe right off.

      There goes the Where’s Willy (Wilfrid Laurier) game on some $5 bills. Enter the serial number and your Postal Code, and a program tells you when that particular bill was registered with the game and where, and every time since. Most bills hang around within a 50/100 mile radius, but I got one that started in B.C. one day.

      I’ve heard there is a $10 game, but have never seen one. Have you run into anything like this down there, or is D.C. a big enough money game without it?? 😕 🙄


  6. Sightsnbytes says:

    if at any time, you grow tired of the new polymer money, feel free to send them to me. Will provide address upon request.


  7. Interesting, Archon. In India they have the Rs 1, 2 & 5 coins mostly, When you get change at the bank, you have to be sure they don’t put filty paper notes in the middle of better ones. They can really get dirty here. The bank will exchange them, but it’s a bother. If I get any, I save them until it’s worthwhile. There’s a big problem with counterfeit notes here. I leave the bank worry about that.


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