The Royal Canadian Mint has a secret plan to produce a three- cent coin.
The coin, which is expected to be introduced next year, is for collectors and is not intended for general circulation. But it will still be legal tender.
"All our coins are legal tender," said Pierre Morin, a spokesman for the mint. "But you would not use it because you've paid a lot more for it and it was never meant for that."
The mint is keeping the project under wraps. The only hint of the idea came in an obscure government notice issued this week about a change to the Royal Canadian Mint Act.
The one-paragraph notice mentioned that "three cents" was being added after "five cents" to a schedule in the legislation.
Mr. Morin confirmed the change gives the mint the authority to make the three-cent coin.
"We would not ask to make a change to the mint act if there was no reason," he said coyly.
That was the only information he would offer about the plan.
When asked why Canadians would want a three-cent coin, Mr. Morin replied: "Put it this way; once you see the product you'll understand." He also refused to say what the coin will look like, other than to note that, by law, the Queen's head must appear on one side. Mr. Morin would not say who, or what, will appear on the other side.
He did say, however, the image of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the former prime minister, would not be on the three-cent coin. But he said the mint might consider another commemorative coin for Mr. Trudeau. "But not three cents," he said.
The mint has 19 collector coins ranging in value from one cent to $300. Many are produced with special designs or in solid gold or silver. The silver dollar, for example, sells for $25. A gold dollar coin costs $300.
Many collector coins are also sold in sets, such as one billed the pronghorn antelope set, which includes four coins, costs $2,000 and features drawings of the antelope as it "explodes across the Canadian prairie at 80 km/h."