Big Nickel – Sudbury, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

Big Nickel

Dynamic Earth Museum

Possibly the world's largest coin stands just outside of a Canadian science center. 


At the Dynamic Earth Museum in Sudbury, Ontario, stands what may be the world’s largest coin, a colossal stainless steel Canadian five cent piece that stands a chart-topping nine meters (30 feet) in diameter, and weighing in at 13,000 kilograms (14.33 tons).

The brainchild of former Sudbury firefighter and now entrepreneur Ted Szilva and sculptor Bruno Cavallo, the Big Nickel stands on a hill and is meant to represent the efforts of Sudbury nickel miners. The massively iconic coin is an exact replica of the actual currency as it was designed in 1951, although much harder to spend. It was constructed in 1964 using a series of steel plates designed to weather the Ontario climes, all attached to an inner frame and welded together to make it look like one solid coin. The Nickel stands on a base that allows visitors to walk under and around the giant bit of spare change.

The huge coin has become something of a mascot for coin collectors and numismatists for whom the oversized currency stands as a symbol of their esoteric interests. When the Big Nickel celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2009, even more coins were brought out from the nearby science center’s collection making it an even more enticing mecca for coin collecting enthusiasts.   

Know Before You Go

There is a parking fee at Dynamic Earth. If you wish to just see the Big Nickel ( and not enter Dynamic Earth), sometimes the attendant will allow you to enter without paying.

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