- Category: Penny News
Contact: Mark Weller
For Immediate Release: November 12, 2009
"The 200th birthday of President Lincoln gives Americans the welcome opportunity to recognize his immense contributions to the country and a legacy that continues to enrich us daily," said Mark W. Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents (ACC).
In examining ways to pay tribute to the significant and lasting contributions President Lincoln made to the U.S., the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission suggested that a redesigned Lincoln penny series would highlight the importance of Lincoln’s life in a visible way. The Kentucky design released today shows a simple log cabin and represents Lincoln's modest roots. Later coins depicting different aspects of the life of our 16th President on the reverse or "tails" side of the coin include:
- Formative years in Indiana (1816-1830) - depicts a young Lincoln reading while taking a break from work as a rail splitter in Indiana.
- Professional life in Illinois (1830-1861) - features Lincoln as a young professional in front of the Illinois state capitol building in Springfield.
- Presidency in Washington, D.C. (1861-1865) - depicts the half-finished Capitol dome. Lincoln ordered work on the Capitol dome to continue during the Civil War as a symbol that the union would be preserved.
All four new penny designs can be found at the following link, http://www.pennies.org/images/stories/pressreleases/ACC_New_Lincoln_Penny_Designs.pdf
The new bicentennial Lincoln pennies demonstrate the enduring value of the penny and area fitting tribute to President Lincoln that every American can own and cherish.
The image of President Lincoln is virtually synonymous with the penny. "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,'" stressed the ACC's Weller.
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. Until today’s new design, the penny was the only U.S. coin to depict the same person on both sides -- upon careful inspection, his statue can be seen inside the Memorial.
The American public continues to have a strong cultural affinity for the penny and Lincoln. A 2006 Coinstar national currency poll found two-thirds of Americans believe the U.S. Mint should continue to produce the penny, virtually the same percentage (65%) as in 2001. "The alternative to the penny is rounding prices, which is something consumers abhor," Weller said.
"People may view the penny only in terms of its exchange value, but Lincoln is a unique cultural and historical figure. 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.