A Brief History of the U.S. Cent

The one-cent coin, commonly known as the penny, was the first currency of any type authorized by the United States, and for over two centuries, the penny's design has symbolized the spirit of the nation, from Liberty to Lincoln. The design for the first one-cent coin was suggested by Benjamin Franklin.

The original one-cent coin was over five times heavier and almost 50% lager than its contemporary counterpart. The word "penny" is derived from the original British coin of the same name. Over 300 billion one-cent coins, with 11 different designs, have been minted since 1787.

The first one-cent coin was struck in 1787 by a private mint. This coin, known as the Fugio cent, was 100% copper and this composition would continue until the mid-1800's. Paul Revere, a noted blacksmith, supplied some of the copper for one-cent coins minted during the early 1790's.

No one-cent coins were minted in 1815 due to a copper shortage caused by the War of 1812 with Great Britain.

The Flying Eagle cent was first produced in 1856. This coin was notable for its change in composition - - 88% copper and 12% nickel.

The Indian cent was first introduced in 1859 and depicted an Indian princess on the obverse. A popular story about its design claims a visiting Indian chief lent the designer's daughter his headdress so she could pose as the Indian princess. Most Indian cents minted during the Civil War went primarily to pay Union soldiers. After the Civil War, in 1864, the composition of the one-cent coin was changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc.

The one-cent coin was made legal tender by the Coinage Act of 1864.

In 1909, Abraham Lincoln was the first historical figure to grace a U.S. coin when he was portrayed on the one-cent coin to commemorate his 100th birthday. The Lincoln penny was also the first U.S. cent to include the words "In God We Trust."

During part of World War II, zinc-coated steel cents were struck due to a copper shortage.

In 2009, to honor the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, four penny designs depicting different aspects of the 16th President's life were circulated.

In the current 2010 design, "Preservation of the Union", the reverse design is emblematic of President Abraham Lincoln's preservation of the United States as a single and united country, with a union shield with a scroll draped across and the inscription ONE CENT. The obverse (heads) continues to bear the familiar Victor David Brenner likeness of President Lincoln that has appeared on the coin since 1909.

 

President's Day - A Time to Celebrate Abraham Lincoln and Cheaper Pennies

President's Day gives us the chance - at least once a year - to recognize Abraham Lincoln's immense contributions to the country and a legacy that continues to enrich us daily.


President Lincoln is a unique cultural and historical figure," said Mark Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents. "It's not just that the front of the penny has had Lincoln's image since 1909, it's what Lincoln did for our nation," Weller added "He possessed all the qualities we want in a president -- the ability to unite a divided nation, honesty, strength, and humility," Weller concluded.


For the full press release, please click here

 

Special Announcement!

Pennies for Pasta and Pennies for Patients

These are run by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through its local chapters as part of its renamed Student Series program:  www.studentseries.org

For more information, you should call your local Chapter which may be found by going to the Society's website at: www.lls.org

Please note Americans for Common Cents does not get actively engaged in any fundraising activities.

Collapse of the zinc market means the penny is cheaper to make; saves taxpayers!

A collapse in metals prices means U.S. coins, including the penny, are less expensive to make. The penny has reached its lowest cost in seven years. Each 1-cent coin, made almost entirely of zinc, now costs the taxpayer much less to produce and its likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Click here to read more.

More than Two-Thirds of Americans Still Favor Keeping the Penny

Recent Poll Shows Increasing Penny Support and Concern About Price Increases If Penny Is Eliminated

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A poll released today by Americans for Common Cents (ACC) continues to show overwhelming and increasing support for the penny by the American public. 68% of those surveyed favor keeping the penny in circulation, representing a slight increase since the last poll in 2012.

"These results confirm the strong and unwavering support the penny continues to receive from Americans," said Mark Weller, Executive Director of ACC. Weller's group includes more than 50 organizations that support continued production of the penny.

For the full article, please click here

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