Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Lincoln Penny

This is Lincoln's 200th birthday. And 2009 is also the 100th birthday of the Lincoln penny. They honored Lincoln's centennial year in 1909 by putting him on the measly penny. Although maybe it was worth something back then, since you could buy a newspaper for a penny back then.

This site from the U.S. Treasury gives a fact sheet on the subject. The public didn't want portraits on coins but because of everyone's love for Lincoln, they said OK. Get us an artist. It turns out there was only one man for the job, Victor David Brenner. He was "the only person invited to participate in the formulation of the new design." So it's a good thing he did a good job, because if he had messed it up in some way, we'd all be ashamed of the penny.

They had the wheat design on the flipside, which most of us have probably seen. We used to get them occasionally, and I knew someone who would buy them for like a quarter apiece. Then in 1959, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, they came up with the new flipside, the Lincoln memorial artwork that we still have to this day.

Now, it being the 200th year, I see they have some other designs. I only saw one on a photo, a log cabin.

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