- Category: Penny News
Contact: Mark Weller
Washington, DC (Feb. 25) President Clinton today signed into law the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Act, an act establishing a 15-member commission to determine how the nation should celebrate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth in 2009 and charging the commission to consider the minting of a Lincoln bicentennial penny.
Americans for Common Cents Director Mark Weller said, "Americans for Common Cents applauds the Congress for asking the Commission to consider minting a bicentennial Lincoln penny. The bicentennial coin would demonstrate the enduring value of the penny and would be a fitting tribute to President Lincoln that every American could own and cherish."
Congress created a similar commission in 1906 for the centennial of Lincoln's birth that ultimately led to the minting of the Lincoln penny and building of the Lincoln Memorial.
Lincoln became the first historical figure to grace a U.S. coin upon its release on August 2, 1909. Designed by Victor D. Brenner, the Lincoln penny was also the first U.S. cent to include the words "In God We Trust." Congress passed the law authorizing the use of this expression on our coins during Lincoln's presidency. In 1959, the Lincoln Memorial was added to the reverse of the penny by U.S. Mint engraver Frank Gasparro to mark Lincoln's 150th birthday. It is the only U.S. coin to depict the same person on both sides -- upon careful inspection, the his statue can be seen inside the Memorial.
The commission's 15 appointed members will be selected by the President, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House, and the Majority and Minority leaders of the Senate. The Governors of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky are also asked to recommend one commission member each. The commission is required to submit its report to Congress by February 12, 2004.
Americans for Common Cents is a broad-based coalition of business and charitable organizations dedicated to keeping the penny. The coalition was formed in 1990 in response to Congressional threats to eliminate the one-cent coin.
For additional information regarding the Lincoln penny, please contact Mark Weller at 800/561-7909 or visit the ACC website: http://www.pennies.org.