MONCTON, N.B. -- It was the opposite of a big-money theft.

Thieves made off with what the RCMP say is a "significant quantity" of Canadian currency -- all in $1 and $2 bills -- from a collectibles store in Moncton, N.B.

The bills, which went out of circulation decades ago when they were replaced by loonie and toonie coins, are still legal tender.

But such denominations are rarely used, and the stolen notes are now drawing more attention than $100 bills in Moncton.

The theft was discovered after a break-in alarm at the store early Saturday, and police say they've heard people have already tried to use them.

The Coin Cabinet -- which bills itself as Atlantic Canada's largest dealer in precious metals, collector coins and bank notes -- confirmed during a phone call that the currency was stolen from the business, but declined to comment further.

Police are asking store owners to keep an eye out for them.

"We're asking people and local merchants in the Moncton area to be vigilant and if they see $2 and $1 bills being circulated, that they call us and advise us," said Staff Sgt. Jamie Melanson on Monday.

"It's a rare occurrence that we see bills in circulation. So if they see it being used, we have to track it down to see if it's connected to this case."