Contact: Mark Weller
For Immediate Release: September 26, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC – To honor the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth in 2009, legislation was enacted in late 2005 suggesting four new penny designs. The new designs, for the back of the coin with the Lincoln Memorial, are to depict different aspects of Lincoln’s life: his birth and early childhood in Kentucky; his formative years in Indiana; his professional life in Illinois; and his presidency in Washington, DC. From 38 Lincoln designs prepared by U.S. Mint artists, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) yesterday selected designs for three of the four proposed themes.
To honor Lincoln’s birth and humble beginnings, the CCAC opted for two designs of a log cabin symbolizing the place of Lincoln’s birth (images 1-02 and 1-05). The two designs differ only in the location of the date of Lincoln’s birth, 1809.
Representing Lincoln’s formative years in Indiana, a straight-on design of Lincoln taking notes as he reads a book was selected by the Committee (image 2-06). Several competing designs also showed Lincoln reading and writing and some showed him with an ax in his hand.
Emblematic of Lincoln’s professional life in Illinois, the CCAC recommended a scene of Lincoln in the Illinois legislature standing by a table (design 3-08).
The Commission could not recommend a design intended to honor the Lincoln presidency and remembrance of him during Civil War years. Members of another advisory group, the Commission on Fine Arts, earlier selected a scene of the partially completed U.S. Capitol dome. Lincoln ordered work on the Capitol dome continue during the war as a symbol that the union would be preserved, but the CCAC was concerned that the public would not understand what was meant by the image of the unfinished Capitol.
The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission may be consulted before the Mint sends its final recommendation to the Department of Treasury. Each of the four new designs on the back of the penny will be released at the start of the calendar quarter in 2009. After 2009, the back of the penny will have a new design replacing the Lincoln Memorial.
Americans for Common Cents is a broad based and informal coalition of charitable organizations, historians, coin collectors and those involved in penny production who share a common interest in the penny’s history and continued circulation.