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Encyclopedia > Cent (U.S. coin)
Penny (United States)
Value: 0.01 U.S. dollars
Mass: 2.5 g
Diameter: 19.05 mm
Thickness: 1.55 mm
Edge: Plain
Composition: Copper-plated Zinc
97.5% Zn, 2.5% Cu
Years of Minting: 1982–present
Catalog Number: -
Obverse
Design: Abraham Lincoln
Designer: V.D. Brenner
Design Date: 1909
Reverse
Design: Lincoln Memorial
Designer: Frank Gasparro
Design Date: 1959

The United States one-cent coin, commonly called a penny, is a unit of currency equaling 1100 of a United States dollar. Its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. Since 1959 (the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's birth), the reverse has featured the Lincoln Memorial. The coin is .75 inches in diameter. This article is about general United States currency. ... The gram or gramme, symbol g, is a unit of mass. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter), symbol mm is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter), symbol mm is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... General Name, Symbol, Number copper, Cu, 29 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d Appearance metallic brown Atomic mass 63. ... General Name, Symbol, Number zinc, Zn, 30 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 4, d Appearance bluish pale gray Atomic mass 65. ... General Name, Symbol, Number zinc, Zn, 30 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 4, d Appearance bluish pale gray Atomic mass 65. ... General Name, Symbol, Number copper, Cu, 29 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d Appearance metallic brown Atomic mass 63. ... Download high resolution version (910x910, 596 KB) Penny (U.S. coin). ... Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), sometimes called Abe Lincoln and nicknamed Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, and the Great Emancipator, was the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first president from the Republican Party. ... Victor David Brenner (1871-1924) was the designer of the Lincoln Cent of United States around 1909. ... 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... The Lincoln Memorial, built 1915 - 1922 Aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial. ... Frank Gasparro (August 26, 1909 – September 29, 2001) was the 10th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint and held this position from February 23, 1965 to January 16, 1981. ... 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article is about general United States currency. ... In logic (and usually without being paired with reverse), obverse has a meaning close to contrapositive. ... For the pop band, see Presidents of the United States of America. ... Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), sometimes called Abe Lincoln and nicknamed Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, and the Great Emancipator, was the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first president from the Republican Party. ... 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... A centennial is a 100-year anniversary of an event, or the celebrations pertaining thereto. ... 1959 (MCMLIX) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... An anniversary (from the Latin anniversarius, from the words for year and to turn, meaning (re)turning yearly; known in English since c1230) is a day that commemorates and/or celebrates a past event that occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. ... In logic (and usually without being paired with reverse), obverse has a meaning close to contrapositive. ... The Lincoln Memorial, built 1915 - 1922 Aerial view of the Lincoln Memorial. ...


Despite the prevalence of the common term "penny", the U.S. Mint has never actually minted a coin for which this is the official name. A variety of coins considered to be lower-value, including an Irish 2p piece and many US pennies. ... Mrs. ...

Contents


History of composition

See also: History of the Lincoln cent
1982–present 97.5% zinc, 2.5% copper
19621982 95% copper, 5% zinc (about 3.04 grams)
19441961 bronze (95% copper, 5% zinc and tin)
1943 zinc-plated steel
18641942 bronze
18571863 88% copper, 12% nickel (a.k.a. NS-12)
18371856 bronze
17931836 copper

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 cents use the 97.5% zinc composition, while others used the 95% copper composition. In 1943, at the peak of World War II, pennies of zinc-plated steel were made for a short time due to war demands for copper; a few (the U.S. Mint reports forty) copper cents from 1943 were produced. Following that year, 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. This article needs to be wikified. ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... General Name, Symbol, Number zinc, Zn, 30 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 4, d Appearance bluish pale gray Atomic mass 65. ... General Name, Symbol, Number copper, Cu, 29 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d Appearance metallic brown Atomic mass 63. ... 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1982 (MCMLXXXII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... Assorted ancient bronze castings found as part of a cache, probably intended for recycling. ... General Name, Symbol, Number tin, Sn, 50 Chemical series poor metals Group, Period, Block 14, 5, p Appearance silvery lustrous gray Atomic mass 118. ... A special version of the United States penny coin manufactured from zinc-plated steel, rather than copper, during World War II in 1943. ... 1864 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... This article is about the year. ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) is a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar). ... General Name, Symbol, Number nickel, Ni, 28 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 10, 4, d Appearance lustrous, metallic Atomic mass 58. ... Nickel silver is an alloy of copper with nickel and often but not always zinc. ... 1837 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1856 was a leap year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... 1793 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Charles Darwin 1836 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) is a common year starting on Friday. ... Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Commanders {{{commander1}}} {{{commander2}}} Strength {{{strength1}}} {{{strength2}}} Casualties 17 million military deaths 7 million military deaths {{{notes}}} World War II, also known as the Second World War (sometimes WW2 or WWII or World War Two), was a mid-20th century conflict that engulfed much of the... A special version of the United States penny coin manufactured from zinc-plated steel, rather than copper, during World War II in 1943. ... Boxes of ammunition clog a warehouse in Baghdad Ammunition is a generic military term meaning (the assembly of) a projectile and its propellant. ... Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc (a copper alloy), a solid solution. ...

1974 aluminum cent from the Smithsonian.
1974 aluminum cent from the Smithsonian.

During the early 1970s, the price of copper rose to a point where the penny almost contained more than one cent's worth of copper. This led the Mint to test alternate metals, including aluminum and bronze-clad steel. Aluminum was chosen, and over 1.5 million of these were struck and ready for public release before ultimately being rejected. About a dozen aluminum cents are believed to still be in the hands of collectors, although they are now considered illegal, and are subject to seizure by the Secret Service. One aluminum cent was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. Download high resolution version (950x475, 93 KB)An extremely rare 1974 aluminum cent that was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. ... Download high resolution version (950x475, 93 KB)An extremely rare 1974 aluminum cent that was donated to the Smithsonian Institution. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... General Name, Symbol, Number copper, Cu, 29 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d Appearance metallic brown Atomic mass 63. ... Aluminum is a soft and lightweight metal with a dull silvery appearance, due to a thin layer of oxidation that forms quickly when it is exposed to air. ... Assorted ancient bronze castings found as part of a cache, probably intended for recycling. ... USSS redirects here. ... The Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle on the National Mall serves as the Institutions headquarters. ...


The price of copper later returned to profitable levels, so that the Mint would not need to change the cent's composition until 1982. 1982 (MCMLXXXII) is a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Designs

The cent has gone through several designs over its two-hundred year history. Until 1857 it was about the size of the current half-dollar coin. The Half Dollar of the United States has been produced nearly every year since the inception of the United States Mint in 1793. ...

Detail of obverse
Detail of obverse

The following types of cents have been produced: Download high resolution version (1024x768, 157 KB)Photograph of the United States penny. ... Download high resolution version (1024x768, 157 KB)Photograph of the United States penny. ...

  • 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
  • Flying Eagle 1856–1858
  • Indian Head 1859–1909
  • Lincoln Wheat Ears 1909–1958
  • Lincoln Memorial 1959–present
Detail of reverse showing Lincoln Memorial and statue.
Detail of reverse showing Lincoln Memorial and statue.

Snapple's Real Facts campaign states that the motto of the first penny was "Mind Your Own Business" (Real Fact #163), though the accuracy of this is the subject of minor debate. The Flying Eagle cent was a United States one cent coin minted from 1856 to 1858. ... Indian Head Penny The Indian Head one-cent coin was produced by the United States Mint from 1859 through 1909. ... The Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent or Wheat Penny was a United States one-cent coin produced from 1909 to 1958. ... Download high resolution version (999x989, 212 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (999x989, 212 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ...


Throughout its history, the Lincoln cent has featured several fonts 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 "3" was non-descending (the same size as a "0", "1", or "2") in the early history, before switching to descending for one year in 1934 and then permanently (as of 2004) in 1943. Hoefler Text, a contemporary font, uses text figures. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


The Lincoln Memorial is shown on the reverse of the United States penny. In his treatise Theory and Practise of Numismatic Design, Steve Crooks states that because the Lincoln Memorial is shown in sufficient detail to discern the statue of Lincoln on the reverse of the penny, Abraham Lincoln was the only person to be depicted on both the obverse and reverse of the same United States coin, up until the release of New Jersey state quarter in 1999, which depicts George Washington crossing the Delaware River on the reverse side. Obverse of redesigned quarter The 50 State Quarters program is the release of a series of commemorative coins by the United States Mint. ... George Washington (February 22, 1732 – December 14, 1799) was the successful Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), and later became the first President of the United States, an office to which he was elected, unanimously, twice (1789-1797). ... Delaware River Watershed The Delaware River is a river on the Atlantic coast of the United States. ...


Anti-penny efforts

Various commentators have suggested that the penny should be eliminated as a unit of currency. In 2002, for example, United States Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona introduced a "Legal Tender Modernization Act" which would have stopped production of pennies. The House of Representatives is the larger of two houses that make up the U.S. Congress, the other being the United States Senate. ... James Thomas Kolbe (born June 28, 1942) is an American politician. ... Official language(s) English Capital Phoenix Largest city Phoenix Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 6th 295,254 km² 500 km 645 km 0. ...


Arguments for elimination:

  • Relative cost of production — Mint cites 0.81 cents per penny. Some argue that this even higher and it is actually costs more than 1 cent to produce.
  • Diminishing value — effects of inflation.
  • Limited utility — not accepted by most vending machines, not accepted to pay a bus fare, and not accept in bulk.
  • Wrapping charges — one store pays about 60 cents for each roll of 50 pennies.
  • Lost productivity — time lost in making small change during business transactions and then counting it later.

Arguments for preservation: Soda pop and snack machines A vending machine is a machine that dispenses merchandise when a customer deposits money sufficient to purchase the desired item (as opposed to a shop, where personnel is required for every purchase). ...

  • Profit — Mint makes about $24 million a year, though this is disputed
  • Public demand — 65 percent of people polled favored keeping the penny in circulation
  • Higher prices — rounding to the nickel would rip people off. Raymond Lombra, an economics professor at Penn State University, said a rounding bill would force an annual $600 million "rounding tax" on consumers.
  • Dependence of charitable causes — several organizations rely on donations from the collection of pennies.
  • Consumer confidence — people were fearful their money may not go as far
  • Targets lower class — will hurt those who can afford it least, the poor and elderly. Increased prices due to "rounding" would fall disproportionately on those least able to afford it.
  • Historical importance — the first coin authorized to be minted by the government and has been an integral part of the American experience
  • Decrease dependence of copper — the penny is 97.5% zinc, its removal would require more nickels. The nickel is 95% copper, and copper is less abundant than zinc.

Redesign

In 2009 the cent will get a one-year, four-coin commemorative program marking the 100th anniversary of Lincoln being placed on the cent. This redesign was passed as part of the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005. In 2010, the cent will be completely redesigned, with a new, permanent design being released into circulation. Lincoln, however, will remain on the cent. 2009 (MMIX) will be a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Presidential $1 Act of 2005 is a program which directs the United States Mint to produce $1 coins with pictures of the United States Presidents on the obverse. ...


See also

The Coin Coalition is an organization supporting the elimination of pennies and dollar bills from U.S. currency. ...

External links

United States currency and coinage
Topics: Federal Reserve Note | United States Note | United States coinage | United States dollar
Currency: $1 | $2 | $5 | $10 | $20 | $50 | $100 | Larger denominations
Coinage: Cent | Nickel | Dime | Quarter | Half Dollar | Dollar

 
 

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