First Redesigned Lincoln Cent Launched
first newly designed Lincoln cent in 50 years
was officially launched into circulation
Thursday morning at Abraham Lincolnís birthplace
in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
In total, four new circulating cents will be
issued in 2009 to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of Abeís birth and the 100th
anniversary of Lincoln cent first issued in
The first coin released Thursday depicts a log
cabin, which represents Lincolnís birth and
early childhood in Kentucky.
"The new Lincoln cent is a milestone moment for
the United States Mint and for our country,"
said United States Mint Deputy Director Andy
"The coin is a tribute to a humble man who rose
to great heights living by principles of
honesty, integrity and loyalty, principles that
never go out of fashion.
More importantly, Americans will forever hold
dear Lincolnís legacy ó an enduring Nation,
united in the pursuit of equality for all."
The three remaining circulating cents will
follow throughout 2009 at equal intervals, with
each coin representative of a different period
in Lincolnís life: his formative years in
Indiana, his professional life in Illinois and
his Presidency in Washington, D.C. (See all 2009
Lincoln Penny Images.)
Thursdayís ceremonial launch was a momentous
occasion for attending children. Mr. Brunhart
and Kentucky Governor Steven L. Beshear handed
each child a freshly minted cent that was
designed by US Mint Artistic Infusion Program
Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by
US Mint Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz. Adults
present were able to exchange their money for
new coins as well.
The rest of the public may be waiting some time
before seeing new pennies in purses and pockets.
It could take weeks or months for some local
banks to start ordering and receiving the coins
from the Federal Reserve.
With the current economic climate, the reported
demand for pennies is down ó people are
exchanging their saved pennies for cash, not
asking for them. Most banks carrying a large
inventory of earlier-dated pennies will be less
likely to order new coins until needed. (Read
what a coin dealer giving away 1 million pennies
did to get his new cents.)
95% copper cents struck for collectors
The first minted 1909 Lincoln cents were made
from 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. Metal costs
increased through the years resulting in later
cost-saving measures with the Mint changing the
penniesí composition to todayís less expensive
copper-plated zinc ó each cent is now struck
from 99.2 percent zinc and 0.8% copper.
As part of the anniversary celebration this
year, the Mint said Thursday it will issue
collector versions of the bicentennial cents
that contain the same metallic content as the
1909 coins. Collectors will have to wait,
however, as the coins will only be minted in
proof and uncirculated conditions, and will only
be included in the United States Mintís annual
2009 product offerings yet to be released.