New Penny Information

Lincoln Penny - Basic Obverse Design Used Since 1909 - Click to Enlarge

Lincoln Penny - Basic Obverse Design Used Since 1909 - Click to Enlarge

2009 kicked off an exciting year as a new penny with a fresh design has been introduced at a rate of about one coin every three months.

These four 2009 Lincoln cents, which honor the 16th President of the United States, are a part of the bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the very first penny struck in 1909.

The Lincoln cent will again change in 2010, with what will be a final design for many years to come.

Old is Still the New Penny Obverse Design

On thing has and will remain a constant, the obverse or "heads side" penny design. It features Victor D. Brenner’s portrait of Abraham Lincoln facing to the right — unlike the portraits from other U.S. coinage where presidential images face left.

Also marking an extreme departure from previous coinage, the Lincoln Penny was the first coin struck for normal circulation to incorporate a real individual, instead of a mythical character or national symbolic design, such as Lady Liberty.

This design has remain nearly identical since it was introduced with the first 1909 penny, and in each of the redesigned 2009 cents. It will remain the same with the forthcoming new 2010 cent.

New Cent Designs on 2009 Pennies

As mentioned, 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent. To celebrate the occasions, Congress created and former President Bush signed off on the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-145). The Act includes a section that authorized the United States Mint to strike four new pennies to commemorate different aspects of Abraham Lincoln’s life.

The Four New 2009 Lincoln Cents - Click to Enlarge

The Four New 2009 Lincoln Cents - Click to Enlarge

When the new 2009 designs were first revealed by the United States Mint on Sept. 22, 2008, U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy aptly summed up the historic significance of the new Lincoln cents.

"This is a momentous occasion in the history of our Nation’s coinage because these designs represent the first change in the Lincoln cent in half a century,” said Moy.

"These coins are a tribute to one of our greatest Presidents whose legacy has had a lasting impact on our country. He believed all men were created equal, and his life was a model for accomplishing the American dream through honesty, integrity, loyalty, and a lifetime of education."

The four aspects of Lincoln’s life depicted on the new pennies are:

    2009 Lincoln Log Cabin Penny
  • Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816): Designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Jim Licaretz, this coin has an image of a log cabin reminding all of the humble beginnings of Lincoln where he grew up near Hodgenville, Kentucky. The cent is often described as the 2009 Lincoln Log Cabin Penny. The United Sates Mint launched the coin on Feb. 12, 2009, which is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth

  • 2009 Lincoln Rail Splitter Penny

  • Formative Years in Indiana (1816-1830): Depicting a sitting image of Lincoln on a log reading a book and taking a break from rail splitting, this coin was designed and sculpted by Charles Vickers. During the launch ceremony for the coin, US Mint Director Ed Moy described it as reflective of " formative years of Abraham Lincoln’s life in Indiana, when he developed the qualities that served as the foundation for his extraordinary life,” Moy said. The cent is often refereed to as the 2009 Lincoln Rail Splitter Penny.

  • Illinois Lincoln Penny

  • Professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861): Designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart, this cent has an image of Lincoln in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, representing the professional life of Lincoln. US Mint Director Moy described Illinois as the place where "Lincoln evolved into a successful lawyer and politician," and where his "service in the state legislature and Congress, and his debates with Stephen Douglas, paved the way to his election as President." The cent is often referred to as the 2009 Lincoln Professional Life Penny or the Illinois Lincoln Penny.

  • 2009 Lincoln Presidency Penny

  • Presidency in Washington D.C. (1861-1865): Featuring a half finished United States Capitol Dome, the fourth and final installment of the 2009 cent series was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna. It symbolizing a Nation torn apart by civil war and the resolve Lincoln showed as he guided the country through its most grave crisis. The cent is most often referred to as the 2009 Lincoln Presidency Penny.

Each new coin launch by the United States Mint has garnered huge public and collector interest. There is just one more cent to be released.

2009 Penny Release Dates

Lincoln Cent Design Dates
Birth and Childhood in Kentucky February 12, 2009
Formative Years in Indiana May 14, 2009
Professional Life in Illinois August 13, 2009
Presidency in Washington, DC November 12, 2009

Upcoming 2010 Cent

Favored 2010 Lincoln Penny Design - Click to Enlarge

Favored 2010 Lincoln Penny Design - Click to Enlarge

At the conclusion of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program, the 2010 (and beyond) cent will feature a new reverse design that will be emblematic of President Lincoln’s preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country.

This change to the penny was also mandated in the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-145).

A final design is yet to be officially chosen, although the Commission of Fine Arts has recommended a design featuring a 34-star flag.

"The image’s strength and simplicity spoke to commission members, Thomas Luebke, CFA commission secretary was quoted on Numismatic News. It also “clearly conveys the American identity in accordance with the Mint’s principles of artistic excellence," he added.

An unveiling of the latest penny will occur soon, as the U.S. Mint will begin striking the coins by Fall in preparation for their release in Jan. 2010.

Modern Penny Specifications

Mintmark: ‘D’, Philadelphia strikes have none
Composition: Copper-Plated Zinc: 2.5% Copper, 97.5% Zinc
Weight: 2.500 g
Diameter: 0.750 inches or 19.05 mm
Thickness: 1.55 mm
Edge: Plain

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