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New coins in a New Year
By Dave Perry

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Peter Spooner, numismatist at American Stamp and Coin, says 2009 is the year of the Lincoln penny.

Watch for Lincoln pennies, territorial quarters

Newly designed coins are making appearances in 2009, among them four new Lincoln pennies, changes to the Sacagawea dollar coin, six new quarters and placement of “In God We Trust” on the front of new presidential dollar coins.

Peter Spooner, numismatist at American Stamp and Coin on North Oracle Road, said the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth motivated the U.S. Mint to make commemorative changes.

The new Lincoln pennies feature new “reverses,” or back-side images, of a log cabin where Lincoln was born, Lincoln reading on a log, Lincoln standing before the Illinois State House, and the U.S. Capitol dome under construction.

These pennies are going to be 95 percent copper, and 5 percent tin and zinc, Spooner said. Those are the same percentages used in the 1909 Lincoln pennies. Since 1982, pennies have been 99.2 percent zinc and .8 of 1 percent copper.

“This is a throwback,” Spooner said.

In addition to the 50 state quarters, the U.S. Mint is adding a territorial quarter series, with coins for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. A District of Columbia quarter is being issued as well.

New presidential dollars feature William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James Polk and Zachary Taylor. “A difference, from the earlier dollars,” is that the phrase “In God We Trust,” now on the edge of the coins, is being moved to the “obverse,” or front side of the coins, Spooner said.

The 2009 Sacagawea dollar, commemorating the Native American woman who guided Lewis and Clark, first was issued in 2000. It is being renamed to The Native American Dollar, and each year, a different Native American scene shall be depicted, Spooner said. The 2009 scene is a woman planting corn, bean and squash seeds in the “three sister” method.

The legend “e pluribus unum” – translated as “out of many, one” — is being placed on the coin’s edge, as with the dollar coins, Spooner said.

Two new commemorative dollars are being issued. One honors Lincoln, and is 90 percent silver. One honors Louis Braille, born 200 years ago, who created a reading and writing system for the blind. It, too, is 90 percent silver.


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