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Thread: Lincoln Cents 1909-Present

  1. #1

    Lincoln Cents 1909-Present

    The United States one-cent coin, often called penny, is a unit of currency equaling one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is . Its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 (the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's birth) to 2008, the reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial. Four different reverse designs in 2009 honored Lincoln's 200th birthday and a new, "permanent" reverse – the Union Shield – was introduced in 2010. The coin is 0.75 inches (19.05 mm) in diameter and 0.0598 inches (1.52 mm) in thickness. Its weight has varied, depending upon the composition of metals used in its production (see further below).

    The U.S. Mint's official name for the coin is "cent" and the U.S. Treasury's official name is "one cent piece". The colloquial term penny derives from the British coin of the same name, the pre-decimal version of which had a similar place in the British system. In American English, pennies is the plural form. (The plural form pence—standard in British English—is not used in American English, except in reference to British currency.)

    Although the coin's abolition has been proposed because it is now worth very little, there are currently no firm plans to eliminate the penny. As of 2015, based on the U.S. Mint Annual Report released for 2014, it costs the U.S. Mint 1.67 cents (down from 2.41 cents in 2011 and 1.83 cents in 2013) to make one cent because of the cost of materials, production, and distribution. This figure includes the Mint's fixed components for distribution and fabrication, as well as Mint overhead allocated to the penny. Fixed costs and overhead would have to be absorbed by other circulating coins without the penny. The loss from producing the one cent coin in the United States for the year of 2013 was $55,000,000. This was a slight decrease from 2012, the year before, which had a production loss of $58,000,000

    In honor of Lincoln's 200th anniversary, special 2009 cents were minted for collectors in the same composition as the 1909 coins.

    The isotope composition of early coins spanning the period 1828 to 1843 reflects that of copper from Cornish ores from England, while coins after 1850 that reflects that of Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan ores, a finding consistent with historical records.

    In 1943, at the peak of World War II, zinc-coated steel cents were made for a short time because of war demands for copper. A few copper cents from 1943 were produced from the 1942 planchets remaining in the bins. Similarly, some 1944 steel cents have been confirmed. From 1944 through 1946, salvaged ammunition shells made their way into the minting process, and it was not uncommon to see coins featuring streaks of brass or having a considerably darker finish than other issues.

    During the early 1970s, the price of copper rose to the point where the cent contained almost one cent's worth of copper. This led the Mint to test alternative metals, including aluminum and bronze-clad steel. Aluminum was chosen, and over 1.5 million of these pennies were struck and ready for public release before ultimately being rejected. The proposed aluminum pennies were rejected for two reasons: vending machine owners complained the coins would cause mechanical problems; and pediatricians and pediatric radiologists pointed out that the radiodensity of the metal inside the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts was close to that of soft tissue, and the coins would therefore be difficult to detect in X-ray imaging. One aluminum cent was donated to the Smithsonian Institution.

    The cent's composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in the coin started to rise above one cent. Some 1982 pennies used the 97.5% zinc composition, while others used the 95% copper composition. With the exception of 2009 bicentennial cents minted specifically for collectors, United States cents minted after 1982 have been zinc with copper-plating. In Fiscal Year 2013, the average one-cent piece minted cost the U.S. Mint 1.83 cents, down from 2.41 cents apiece in FY 2011.

    The bronze and copper cents can be distinguished from the newer zinc cents by dropping the coins on a solid surface. The predominantly copper coins produce a higher-pitched ringing sound, while the zinc coins make a lower-pitched "clunk". In addition, a full 50-cent roll of pre-1982/3 coins weighs 5.4 oz compared to a post-1982–83 roll which weighs 4.4 oz.

    Mintage figures for the Lincoln cent can be found at Lincoln cent mintage figures.

  2. #2
    Designs

    The coin has gone through several designs over its two-hundred-year time frame. Until 1857 it was about the size of the current U.S. dollar coins (Susan B. Anthony through present dollars).
    A 1937 Wheat cent


    Proof Lincoln cent with cameo effect, obverse


    Obverse side of a cent after 17 years of circulation


    Detail of reverse showing Lincoln statue inside the memorial


    The following types of cents have been produced:
    Large cents:

    • Flowing Hair Chain 1793
    • Flowing Hair Wreath 1793
    • Liberty Cap 1793–1796
    • Draped bust 1796–1807
    • Classic Head 1808–1814
    • Coronet 1816–1839
    • Braided Hair 1839–1857, 1868 (not a regular issue)

    Small cents:

    • Flying Eagle cent (1856–1858)
    • Indian Head cent (1859–1909)
    • Lincoln cent (1909–present)
      • Lincoln Wheat (1909–1958)
      • Lincoln Memorial (1959–2008)
      • Lincoln Bicentennial 4 reverse designs (2009)
      • Lincoln Union Shield[14] (2010–present)


    Throughout its history, the Lincoln cent has featured several typefaces for the date, but most of the digits have been old-style numerals, except with the 4 and 8 neither ascending nor descending. The only significant divergence is that the small 3 was non-descending (the same size as a 0, 1, or 2) in the early history, before switching to a descending, large 3 for just one year in 1934 and then permanently (as of 2014[update]) in 1943. Similarly, the digit 5 was small and non-descending up to 1945, then from 1950 and on, it became a large descending 5. From 1959 until 2008, the Lincoln Memorial was shown on the reverse of the United States cent. Because the Lincoln Memorial was shown in sufficient detail to discern the statue of Lincoln on the reverse of cent, Abraham Lincoln was at that time the only person to be depicted on both the obverse and reverse of the same United States coin. In 1999, the New Jersey state quarter was released, which depicts George Washington on both sides, crossing the Delaware River on the reverse side and in profile on the obverse. (The state quarter for South Dakota, released in 2006, also features Washington on both sides: the typical profile on the obverse, and Washington within Mount Rushmore on the reverse.) Some of the 2009 reverse design series no longer showed Abraham Lincoln, and the 2010 Lincoln Union Shield has removed the president from the coin reverse for the foreseeable future.

    An additional design detail that is not readily visible to the naked eye is found on the obverse side of the 1918 onward United States cent. The letters "VDB" stamped on the bottom sleeve of Abraham Lincoln represent the initials of Victor David Brenner, the primary designer of the Wheat cent.

    Lincoln cent

    Main article: Lincoln cent
    The Lincoln cent is the current one-cent coin of the U.S. It was adopted in 1909 (which would have been Lincoln's 100th birthday), replacing the Indian Head cent. Its reverse was changed in 1959 from a wheat-stalks design to a design which includes the Lincoln Memorial (to commemorate Lincoln's sesquicentennial) and was replaced again in 2009 with four new designs to commemorate Lincoln's bicentennial. There are more one-cent coins produced than any other denomination, which makes the Lincoln cent a familiar item. In its lifespan, this coin has weathered both world wars, one of which temporarily changed its composition as part of the war effort. The obverse is the longest design used for any circulating American currency.

    History

    Obverse design

    When the Lincoln one-cent coin made its initial appearance in 1909, it marked a radical departure from the accepted styling of United States coinage, as it was the first regular coin to bear a portrait other than the mythical Liberty which appeared on most pre-1909 regular coins. Previously, a strong feeling had prevailed against using portraits on coins in the United States, but public sentiment stemming from the 100th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth proved stronger than the long-standing tradition.

    A variety of privately minted tokens bearing Lincoln's image circulated as one-cent pieces during Lincoln's presidency; legitimate coinage had become scarce during the Civil War. These early tokens undoubtedly influenced the denomination, appearance, size, and composition of Lincoln cents.

    Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th U.S. President, thought American coins were so common and uninspiring that he attempted to get the motto "In God We Trust" removed as offending religion. Roosevelt had the opportunity to pose for a young Lithuanian-born Jew, Victor David Brenner, who, since arriving nineteen years earlier in the United States had become one of the nation's premier medalists. Roosevelt had learned of Brenner's talents in a settlement house on New York City's Lower East Side and was immediately impressed with a bas-relief that Brenner had made of Lincoln, based on a Mathew Brady photograph. Roosevelt, who considered Lincoln the savior of the Union and the greatest Republican President, and who also considered himself Lincoln's political heir, ordered the new Lincoln cent to be based on Brenner's work and to be released just in time to commemorate Lincoln's 100th birthday in 1909. The likeness of President Lincoln on the obverse of the coin is an adaptation of a plaque Brenner created several years earlier which had come to the attention of President Roosevelt in New York.

    In addition to the prescribed elements on U.S. coins—LIBERTY and the date—the motto In God We Trust appeared for the first time on a coin of this denomination. The United States Congress passed the Act of March 3, 1865, authorizing the use of this motto on U.S. coins, during Lincoln's tenure in office.
    Even though no legislation was required for the new design, approval of the Secretary of the Treasury was necessary to make the change. Franklin MacVeagh gave his approval on July 14, 1909, and not quite three weeks later, on August 2, the new coin was released to the public.

    In 1918, after the controversy over Brenner's name and initials on the reverse had died down, his initials were placed on the obverse with no further controversy. They are to be found in minute form on the rim of the bust, just under the shoulder of Lincoln.

    In 1969, the design was revised to make Lincoln look more like Brenner's original sculptures.
    U.S. coin collection featuring Lincoln cents from 1941 to 1974. Nearly complete set in a folder by Whitman Publishing, LLC. Also features two error coins and a description page.


    Reverse design

    Reverses of the
    Lincoln cent
    Wheat (1909–1958)
    Lincoln Memorial (1959–2008)
    Birth and early childhood in Kentucky (Lincoln Bicentennial, 2009)
    Formative Years in Indiana (Lincoln Bicentennial, 2009)
    Professional life in Illinois (Lincoln Bicentennial, 2009)
    Presidency in DC (Lincoln Bicentennial, 2009)
    Union shield (2010–present)

    Wheat cent (1909–1958)


    A study of three potential reverses resulted in the approval of a very simple design bearing two wheatheads in memorial style. Between these, in the center of the coin, are the denomination and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, while curving around the upper border is the national motto, E Pluribus Unum, Latin for "From Many, One."

    The original model bore Brenner's name on the reverse, curving along the rim below UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Before the coins were issued, however, the initials "VDB" were substituted because officials at the United States Mint felt the name was too prominent. After the coin was released, many protested that even the initials were conspicuous and detracted from the design. Because the coin was in great demand, and because to make a change would have required halting production, the decision was made to eliminate the initials entirely.

    Thus in 1909 the U.S. had six different cents: the 1909 and 1909-S Indian Head cents, and four Lincoln coins: 1909 VDB, 1909-S VDB, 1909 and 1909-S. In all cases the Philadelphia mintages far exceeded the San Francisco issues. While the smallest mintage is the '09-S Indian, the '09-S VDB is the key Lincoln date, and hence is most valuable. Its mintage of 484,000 is only 1.7% of the plain V.D.B.

    Lincoln Memorial cent (1959–2008)


    On February 12, 1959, a revised reverse design was introduced as part of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. No formal competition was held. Frank Gasparro, then Assistant Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, prepared the winning entry, selected from a group of 23 models that the engraving staff at the Mint had been asked to present for consideration. Again, only the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury was necessary to make the change because the design had been in use for more than the required 25 years. The imposing marble Lincoln Memorial provides the central motif, with the legends E Pluribus Unum and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA completing the design, together with the denomination. The initials "FG" appear on the right, near the shrubbery.

    Lincoln Bicentennial cents (2009)

    The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 required that the cent's reverse be redesigned in 2009. This resulted in the mintage of four different coins showing scenes from Abraham Lincoln's life in honor of the bicentennial of his birth.
    These four designs, unveiled September 22, 2008 at a ceremony held at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., are:


    • Birth and early childhood in Kentucky: this design features a log cabin and Lincoln's birth year 1809. It was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Jim Licaretz. This cent was released into circulation on Lincoln's 200th birthday, February 12, 2009, at a special ceremony at LaRue County High School in Hodgenville, Kentucky, Lincoln's birthplace. The mintage was extremely low compared to prior years (see Lincoln cent mintage figures). It has been nicknamed the "Log Cabin Penny".
    • Formative years in Indiana: this design features a young Lincoln reading while taking a break from rail splitting. It was designed and sculpted by Charles Vickers. Nicknamed the "Indiana Penny", it was released on May 14, 2009.
    • Professional life in Illinois: this design features a young professional Lincoln standing before the Springfield Illinois State Capitol. It was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart. Nicknamed the "Illinois Penny", it was released on August 13, 2009.
    • Presidency in Washington, D.C.: this design features the half-completed Capitol dome. It was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna. This fourth cent was released to the public on November 12, 2009.[18] U.S. Mint released collector's sets containing this design in copper prior to the public launch of this design in zinc.

    Special 2009 cents struck for sale in sets to collectors had the metallic copper content of cents minted in 1909 (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc). Those struck for circulation retained the normal composition of a zinc core coated with copper.

    Union shield cent (2010–present)

    The 2005 act that authorized the redesign for the Bicentennial stated that another redesigned reverse for the Lincoln cent will be minted which "shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country".] Eighteen designs were proposed for the reverse of the 2010 cent. On April 16, 2009 the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) met and selected a design that showed 13 wheat sheaves bound together with a ring symbolizing American unity as one nation. Later this design was withdrawn because it was similar to coinage issued in Germany in the 1920s. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee later met and chose a design showing a Union shield with ONE CENT superimposed in a scroll; E Pluribus Unum was also depicted in the upper portion of the shield.[ In June 2009 the CFA met again and chose a design featuring a modern rendition of the American flag. As a part of the release ceremony for the last of the 2009 cents on November 12, the design for the 2010 cent was announced. The design chosen was the one that was chosen earlier by the CCAC. According to the Mint, the 13 stripes on the shield "represent the states joined in one compact union to support the Federal government, represented by the horizontal bar above."[26] The Mint also noted that a shield was commonly used in paintings in the Capitol hallways painted by Constantino Brumidi, an artist in the Capitol active during the Lincoln Presidency. The obverse of the cent was also changed to a modern rendition of Brenner's design. The new Union Shield design replaces the Lincoln memorial in use since 1959. The coin was designed by artist Lyndall Bass and sculpted by U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna. In January 2010, the coins were released early in Puerto Rico; this was caused by a shortage of 2009-dated pennies on the island. The new design was released at a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois on February 11, 2010.

    "Capped cents"

    To commemorate the Fire at the SS Morro Castle, local coin dealer Louis Werner made copper caps depicting the Morro Castle surrounded by the legend "The Morro Castle Fire" These would then be encased over one side of a Lincoln cent. According to "Mrs. Astor's Horse" by Stanley Walker:
    Concessionaires inside the hall carried on a lively business. A man at a stamping machine put copper caps on pennies with the head of Lincoln on one side and the inscription ff Morro Castle Fire, September, 1934, Asbury Park" on the other. Postcard sellers in the hall disposed of 150,000 pictures of the burning ship during the first few days after the disaster. As soon as they came off the press, heart-rending poems and ballads about the fire were hawked about.
    Later, to commemorate the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, Werner made another design depicting the Hunterdon County Courthouse, where the trial was held, and surrounded by the legend "HAUPTMANN TRIAL, Flemington, NJ." Another part of the text in "Mrs. Astor's Horse" states:
    A man with a metal press did a fair sort of business. He set up for business on the porch of the hotel. He had constructed a die depicting the Hunterdon County courthouse, surrounded by the legend, Hauptmann Trial, Flemington, N.J. On the stand beside the press lay several hundred bright new pennies and several fine strips of copper. By running the copper strips through the press, together with the pennies, he turned out Lincoln heads backed by the courthouse and the legend. The pieces sold for five cents each, three for a dime.
    Also, from 1935 to 1938, during the Christmas season, Werner made a design depicting Santa Claus. By donating 10 cents, shoppers in Manhattan would receive these. Additionally, if they donated an extra 5 cents, their cent would come in a greeting card holder. Other capped cents by Werner include commemoratives for Admiral Richard E. Byrd's expedition to the South Pole and Joe Louis. There was also a design featuring the Lord's prayer.

    Composition


    Bronze, 1909–1942. Initially the alloy of the Lincoln cent followed that established for this denomination with the Indian Head design in 1864, 95% copper and 2.5% tin and 2.5% zinc.

    Wartime zinc-plated steel, 1943.
    The composition of the Lincoln cent was changed in 1943.
    Further information: 1943 steel cent
    Production of the war-time cent was provided for in an Act of Congress approved on December 18, 1942, which also set as the expiration date of the authority December 31, 1946. Low-grade carbon steel formed the base of these coins, to which a zinc coating 0.0005-inch (0.013 mm) thick was deposited on each side electrolytically as a rust preventive. This coating was applied to the steel before the blanks were made, leaving the rims of these coins extremely susceptible to rust. The same size was maintained, but the weight was reduced from the standard 48 grains (3.1 g) to 42 grains (2.7 g), by using a lighter alloy. Production commenced on February 27, 1943, and by December 31 of that year, the three Mint facilities had produced 1,093,838,670 of the one-cent coins. The copper released for the war effort was enough to meet the combined needs of two cruisers, two destroyers, 1,243 Flying Fortresses, 120 field guns and 120 howitzers, or enough for 1,250,000 shells for large field guns.[34][35]

    Wartime brass, 1944–1946.
    Numerous complaints about the gray color of the 1943 cents, especially that they could be mistaken for dimes, led to a change in composition of the wartime cent. On January 1, 1944, the Mint was able to adopt a modified alloy, the supply being derived from expended shell casings which, when melted, furnished a composition similar to the original, but with a much smaller trace of tin.[citation needed] The original weight of 48 grains (3.1 g) was also restored.

    Bronze, 1947–1962.
    Shell casings were no longer used after 1946 and the original copper-tin-zinc "bronze" composition was again used.

    Brass, 1962–1982.
    The composition of the coin was changed again slightly in 1962. Mint officials felt that deletion of the tin content would have no adverse effect on the wearing qualities of the coin, whereas the manufacturing advantages to be gained with the alloy stabilized at 95% copper and 5% zinc would be of much benefit. Congressional authority for this modification is contained in an Act of Congress approved on September 5, 1962.

    Experimental aluminum cents, 1974.
    During the early 1970s, the price of copper rose to a point where the cent almost contained one cent's worth of copper. This led the Mint to test alternate metals, including aluminum and bronze-clad steel. Aluminum was chosen, and in 1973, a total of 1,579,324 such coins were struck (dated 1974) and ready for public release. A few were distributed to members of the U.S. Congress, but aluminum was ultimately rejected for a variety of reasons. About a dozen aluminum cents are believed to still be in the hands of collectors, although they are now considered illegal to own. One aluminum cent was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. Another is in the hands of the family of a deceased U.S. Capitol police officer, known as the Toven Specimen, and was certified as authentic in 2005.

    Copper-plated zinc, 1982–present.
    In mid-1982, the coin's composition was changed again, this time to copper-plated zinc. The last mostly-copper cents (95% copper metal composition) were produced by the Denver Mint on October 22, 1982. The copper-plated zinc cent coins are still being produced today. They are composed of an inner core alloy of 99.2% zinc and 0.8% copper with an outer plating of pure copper, for an overall composition of 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper, and are minted on blanks produced for the Mint by an outside manufacturer (Jarden Zinc Products). Except for the new lighter total coin weight of 2.5 grams each, these newer coins are identical in diameter and thickness, and nearly in appearance, to the mostly copper (95%) cents issued before mid-1982, which weighed 3.11 grams each. A few pennies were struck by error in brass dated 1983 and are extremely rare.[38]

    Matte Proof Lincolns 1909 to 1916[edit]


    When the Lincoln Cent was introduced in 1909, it was discovered that the coining dies and their curved fields were unable to be polished to proof coining condition by existing Mint equipment. To produce Proof coinage for collectors, the U.S. Mint adopted the French technique of the Matte Proof, which was thought to highlight the design, while leaving the details of the coin as the designer intended. This was done by a sandblasting of the dies prior to use. When struck by the high pressure hydraulic press of the Philadelphia Mint Medal Room, the result was a semi-rough surface, a gentle luster and strongly defined wide square rims. These coins were produced in very small numbers, and the dies quickly developed small marks, known as diagnostics. These marks are used today by Third Party Graders and Collectors to authenticate the coin. Sold for mere pennies over face during the years of production, they were not popular with collectors. When new, the coins were wrapped in a tarnish-proof tissue, which over time proved to be anything but. Since many of these coins sat for decades unsold, vivid colors and toning developed. It is not unusual to see vivid blues, greens, lavender, coppery orange, deep reds and purple hues on these coins. Eagerly collected by numismatists today, they are among the most valuable Lincoln cents. Unencapsulated coins are easily identified by wide, square outer rims, quite unlike the rounded edges of business strikes.

  3. #3
    History of the Lincoln Cent

    When the Lincoln one-cent coin made its initial appearance in 1909, it marked a radical departure from the accepted styling of United States coins, introducing as it did for the first time a portrait coin in the regular series. A strong feeling had prevailed against using portraits on our coins, but public sentiment stemming from the 100th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth proved stronger than the long-standing prejudice.

    The only person invited to participate in the formulation of the new design was Victor David Brenner. President Theodore Roosevelt was so impressed with the talents of this outstanding sculptor that Brenner was singled out by the President for the commission. The likeness of President Lincoln on the obverse of the coin is an adaptation of a plaque Brenner executed several years earlier which had come to the attention of President Roosevelt.

    In addition to the prescribed elements on our coins -- LIBERTY and the date -- the motto In God We Trust appeared for the first time on a coin of this denomination. Of interest also is the fact that the Congress passed the Act of March 3, 1865, authorizing the use of this motto on our coins during Lincoln's tenure in office.

    A study of three models for the coin's reverse resulted in the approval of a very simple design bearing two wheatheads in memorial style. Between these, in the center of the coin, are the denomination and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, while curving around the upper border is the national motto, E Pluribus Unum, which means "One out of Many."

    Even though no legislation was required for the new design, approval of the Secretary of the Treasury was necessary to make the change. Franklin MacVeagh gave his approval on July 14, 1909, and not quite three weeks later, on August 2, 1909, the new coin was released to the public.

    The original model bore Brenner's name. Before the coins were issued, however, the initials "VDB" were substituted because officials at the United States Mint felt the name was too prominent. After the coin was released, many protested that even the initials were conspicuous and detracted from the design. Because the coin was in great demand, and due to the fact that to make a change would have required halting production, the decision was made to eliminate the initials entirely. They were restored in 1918, and are to be found in minute form on the rim, just under the shoulder of Lincoln.

    There are more one-cent coins produced than any other denomination, which makes the Lincoln cent a familiar item. In its life span, this coin has weathered two world conflicts, one of which changed it materially, because metals play a vital part in any war effort.
    At the time of World War II, the one-cent coin was composed of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. These metals were denied to the Mint for the duration of the war, making it necessary for the Mint to seek a substitute material. After much deliberation, even including consideration of plastics, zinc-coated steel was chosen as the best in a limited range of suitable materials.

    Production of the war-time cent was provided for in an Act of Congress approved on December 18, 1942, which also set as the expiration date of the authority December 31, 1946. Low-grade carbon steel formed the base of these coins, to which a zinc coating .005 inch thick was deposited on each side electrolytically as a rust preventative. The same size was maintained, but the weight was reduced from the standard 48 grains to 42 grains, due to the use of a lighter alloy. Production commenced on February 27, 1943, and by December 31, 1943, the three Mint facilities had produced 1,093,838,670 of the one-cent coins. The copper released for the war effort was enough to meet the combined needs of 2 cruisers, 2 destroyers, 1,243 flying fortresses, 120 field guns and 120 howitzers, or enough for 1.25 million shells for our big field guns.

    On January 1, 1944, the Mint was able to adopt a modified alloy, the supply being derived from expended shell casing which when melted furnished a composition similar to the original, but with a faint trace of tin. The original weight of 48 grains was also restored.

    On February 12, 1959, a revised reverse design was introduced as part of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. No formal competition was held. Frank Gasparro, then Assistant Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, prepared the winning entry, selected from a group of 23 models that the engraving staff at the Mint had been asked to present for consideration. Again, only the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury was necessary to make the change because the design had been in use for more than the required 25 years.

    The imposing marble Lincoln Memorial provides the central motif, with the legends E Pluribus Unum and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA completing the design, together with the denomination. The initials "FG" appear on the right, near the shrubbery.
    The composition of the coin was changed again in 1962. Mint officials felt that deletion of the tin content would have no adverse effect on the wearing qualities of the coin, whereas, the manufacturing advantages to be gained with the alloy stabilized at 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc would be of much benefit. Congressional authority for this modification is contained in an Act of Congress approved on September 5, 1962. In 1982, the coin's composition changed again to copper-plated zinc. These coins, which are still being produced today, contain 97.6 percent zinc and 2.4 percent copper. This coin is identical in size and appearance to the predominantly copper cent issued before 1982.

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