- Category: Penny News
Contact: Mark Weller
Washington, D.C. — The House of Representatives approved (422-6) on April 27 legislation to create a new circulating dollar coin with images of U.S. Presidents and to redesign the penny in 2009. The "Presidential $1 Coin Act," which was introduced by Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), includes the text of H.R. 767, "The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial 1-Cent Coin Redesign Act." This penny legislation implements recommendations of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission to honor the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny in 2009. Congress created the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in 2000 to pay tribute to the significant and lasting contributions President Lincoln made to the United States.
Originally introduced by members of Congress from Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, the penny legislation proposes that the reverse of the Lincoln penny be redesigned four times during 2009, representing four different stages of his life:
* His birth and early childhood in Kentucky;
* His formative years in Indiana;
* His professional life in Illinois; and,
* His presidency in Washington D.C.
According to Mark Weller, the Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents, the passage of this bill is an especially momentous occasion because, "Abraham Lincoln's image has graced the coin since 1909; his cultural significance to our nation is 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. Lincoln is what we like to think of as president." Michael F. Bishop, the Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission stated that "A Lincoln penny series would dramatically highlight the important stages of Lincoln's life, and would appeal to Americans as they go about daily transactions."
The success of this initiative, once implemented, should mirror that of the 50 States Commemorative Coin Program for circulating quarters, and the 2005 Jefferson American Bison 5-cent coin.
Americans for Common Cents (http://www.pennies.org) is a broad-based advocacy group of business, charitable, and numismatic organizations. The group formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the 1-cent coin. Information about the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission can be found at http://lincolnbicentennial.gov .