President’s Day gives us the chance – at least once a year – to recognize Abraham Lincoln’s immense contributions to the country and a legacy that continues to enrich us daily.
President Lincoln is a unique cultural and historical figure,” said Mark Weller, Executive Director of Americans for Common Cents. “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,” Weller added “He possessed all the qualities we want in a president — the ability to unite a divided nation, honesty, strength, and humility,” Weller concluded.
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.”
Polling shows overwhelming and increasing support for the penny by the American public. Over 68% of those surveyed favor keeping the penny in circulation, representing consistent and growing support for our lowest denomination coin according to Opinion Research Corporation.
The penny also just got less expensive to make. The US Mint reports the cost to produce pennies is down 14 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since level since 2008 due to lower metal prices. The lower production cost for the billions of new U.S. pennies put into circulation every year means the government spent over half a million less on pennies in 2015 on pennies than it did in 2014.
The American public continues to have a strong appreciation for both President Lincoln and the penny. The penny has become embroidered into the social and commercial fabric of society. In these uncertain economic times, the last thing consumers need is price rounding, inflation or reduced charitable assistance and savings that would accompany penny elimination. President Lincoln recognized the value of thrift, it’s a lesson modern Americans can follow as well.
Americans for Common Cents was established in 1990 to conduct research and provide information to Congress and the Executive Branch on the need to retain the penny. The organization is broad-based and comprised of, and endorsed by, many of the nation’s leading coin and numismatic organizations, charitable organizations that benefit from penny donations, and companies involved in the manufacturing and transport of the penny.