The United States one-cent coin, commonly known as a 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. The colloquial term penny derives from the British coin of the same name, the pre-decimal version of which had a similar value.

In 1959, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lincoln, the reverse of the cent was changed from the wheat heads to an image of the Lincoln Memorial, designed by Mint engraver Frank Gasparro. This first major design change in 50 years would itself last 50 years.

The US Mint issued the Lincoln Memorial Cent from 1959-2008. In 1981, faced with the rise in the price of copper, the United States Mint decided to change the composition of the cent to copper-covered zinc.


Abraham Lincoln (the 16th President of the United States, led the United States through its Civil War, abolished slavery) bust right, date lower right. The lettering LIBERTY and the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.

When the Lincoln one-cent coin made its initial appearance in 1909, it was the first regular coin to bear a portrait. In fact, the first President of the United States George Washington is said to have refused to allow his likeness to be incorporated into any coins. He felt, and most agreed for decades, that a portrait of a real individual was too similar to the practice of using images of royalty on coins used by the monarchal governments of Europe. But public sentiment stemming from the 100th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth proved stronger than the long-standing tradition. The motto In God We Trust appeared for the first time on a coin of this denomination.

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 (1909–1958).



The imposing marble Lincoln Memorial provides the central motif, with the legends E Pluribus Unum (Latin for "Out of many, one") and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA completing the design, together with the denomination. The initials FG appear on the right, near the shrubbery.

The Lincoln Memorial reverse designed by Frank Gasparro (FG) was introduced in 1959 to mark the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. The Memorial reverse made the Lincoln cent the first U.S. coin struck for circulation to depict the same person on both the obverse and reverse, since a statue of Lincoln can be seen inside the memorial on the reverse.

The Lincoln Memorial is an American national monument built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the western end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon; the designer of the primary statue – Abraham Lincoln, 1920 – was Daniel Chester French; the Lincoln statue was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers; and the painter of the interior murals was Jules Guerin. Dedicated in 1922, it is one of several monuments built to honor an American president. The building is in the form of a Greek Doric temple and contains a large seated sculpture of Abraham Lincoln and inscriptions of two well-known speeches by Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address. The memorial has been the site of many famous speeches, including Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered on August 28, 1963, during the rally at the end of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

• UNUM •


1 Cent

Lincoln Memorial Cent
KM# 201b
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Material Copper Plated Zinc
Weight 2.5 g
Diameter 19 mm
Thickness 1.3 mm
Shape round
Alignment Coin
Denver Mint (D)
Philadelphia Mint (no mintmark)
San Francisco Mint (S)

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