|MMA M2013.32.1, Gift of Stephen Innocent in memory of Tom Rodgers|
These are the large 2.5 mm wide old-style pennies which were often called "coppers". (Canada switched to the smaller 1.9 cm pennies in 1920.) The 1907 penny at the top of the melted stack was minted in Britain for Canada as the Royal Canadian Mint did not open until 1908.
|A detail of the top penny, MMA M2013.32.1, photo by Gerry Lunn|
The Museum's conservator Chris Lavergne explored how the pennies could have reached this state. These pennies were 95% copper which begins to melt at 1,084 degrees Celcius. House fires reach 1,100 degrees, easily enough to soften and fuse copper coins. The stack was perhaps in a coin holder which held them together. They may have been strewn into the street by the collapse of a burning building.
|The pennies would have come from burned-out ruins such as these in Richmond, seen in this photograph looking down from Fort Needham Hill towards the Halifax drydock. Note SS Imo beached on the Dartmouth shore.|