- Category: Penny News
Contact: Mark W. Weller
July 15, 2003 — President Bush signed July 14 a bill (S. 858) that would extend the duration of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to 2010. The Commission, created by an act of Congress in 2000 to pay tribute to the life and accomplishments of President Lincoln, was set to expire next year. "Keeping the Commission alive through 2010 is a terrific development for supporters of the penny, Lincoln enthusiasts and Americans," said Mark Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents, which includes more than 50 groups that support continued production of the penny. According to Weller, the Commission is comprised of accomplished historians, collectors and elected officials who are planning and organizing the national celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday on February 12, 2009.
Notably, the duties of the Commission include the possible minting of an Abraham Lincoln bicentennial penny in 2009. "Support for a bicentennial penny in the context of paying tribute to Lincoln's legacy is linked to the coin's enduring value and Americans' affinity for it," Weller said. Polling over the past decade continue to show public support for the penny ranging from 65% to 76%. Weller also cited a December 2002 GAO (General Accounting Office) report which shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans want the Mint to continue penny production. On the occasion of the bill signing, Americans for Common Cents noted that people may view the penny only in terms of its exchange value, but Abraham Lincoln's image on the coin and cultural significance to our country are noteworthy. "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. He is what we think of as a president," Weller concluded.
Americans for Common Cents is a broad-based coalition of business and charitable organizations dedicated to keeping the penny. ACC was formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the one-cent coin (www.pennies.org).