At the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial located below the west front of the U.S. Capitol Building, the US Mint today launched the last 2009 Lincoln Cent. Known as the ‘Presidency Life in Washington, DC‘ penny, the release brings to a close a year of four redesigned coins which have excited the public and awakened new interests with collectors.
"The fourth and final 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One-Cent Coin design evokes the historical challenges of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency," said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. "The image of an incomplete U.S. Capitol symbolizes the unfinished business of a Nation torn apart by slavery and the Civil War."
Donald R. Kennon, Chief Historian of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society, and Eileen R. Mackevich, Executive Director of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, joined in the ceremonial launch.
Adults waited in lines to exchange cash for 50-coin rolls of the Presidency cent minted in Philadelphia. Some will keep them to remember their historic experience while others will offer a portion for sale. Lincoln launch rolls — if stamped as canceled by the U.S. Postal Service — have commanded significant premiums on the secondary market.
Today the US Mint also released millions of the new cents to the Federal Reserve Bank, which will distribute them via the banking system.
Despite the more than 2 billion new cents minted bearing the prior three designs (see 2009 penny mintages), finding them in circulation can often be challenging throughout much of the country. The economy is to blame as the public has been pushing hoarded change back into the system, and building inventory at banks. With inventories plush with old coins, bank’s order fewer new replacements from the government.
The Mint has a solution — at a price — for those who would like to receive the latest pennies now. At noon ET, the Mint began selling two-roll sets of the new Presidency cents for $8.95, plus shipping and handling. One roll includes 50 coins from the Mint facility in Philadelphia and the other contains 50 coins from the Denver facility.
Unlike the bank-wrapped rolls that were exchanged at face value in D.C., these feature special Mint wrapping. For more information, visit the US Mint product page for further details, or call the Mint directly at their toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
The D.C. Presidency penny was designed by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Susan Gamble and was sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor Joseph F. Menna. The obverse contains a version of Victor D. Brenner’s Abraham Lincoln portrait that has been used on Lincoln cents since they were first issued in 1909.
All 2009 Lincoln cent designs have reflected four distinct phases of Lincoln’s life: his birth in Kentucky, his formative years in Indiana, his professional life in Illinois, and his presidency in Washington, D.C.
Beginning in 2010, the United States Mint will strike and issue a new cent reverse emblematic of "Lincoln’s preservation of the United States as a single, unified country." The design was also revealed at today’s ceremony.
"The reverse features a union shield with a scroll draped across it bearing the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM. The 13 vertical stripes of the shield represent the states joined in one compact union to support the Federal government, represented by the horizontal bar above," the Mint said in a statement.
The union shield, which dates back to the 1780s, was used widely during the Civil War. In addition, the shield device is featured on frescoes throughout the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building by Constantino Brumidi, artist of the Capitol during Lincoln’s presidency.
It was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Associate Designer Lyndall Bass and engraved by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.
The 2010 cent is expected to enter circulation in January.