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U.S. Penny Gets Redesign
September 24, 2008

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The U.S. Mint

For the first time in 50 years, the American one-cent coin will change.

Beginning in 2009, the penny will get a makeover, resulting in four different designs for the back of the coin. The design for the front, which features a profile of former President Abraham Lincoln, will remain the same.

Lincoln was born in 1809, in a Kentucky log cabin, and one of the new designs will be of a log cabin.

Another new design will feature Lincoln standing in front of the Illinois state capitol building, in Springfield. Lincoln served in the Illinois state legislator and in the U.S. Congress before being elected president.

A third new design will feature Lincoln reading a book after taking a break from splitting rails. Lincoln grew up on the frontier, when the railroad was snaking its way across the country, and for a time made a living as a rail-splitter.

A final new design will feature a half-completed U.S. Capitol dome, to symbolize Lincoln's determination as President to maintain the idea of a future Union during the Civil War.

The first new penny will appear on February 12, Lincoln's birthday. Subsequent designs will appear at three-month intervals.

The U.S. Mint, which will distribute the coins, is looking to build on recent successes:

  • the 2003 release of new designs for the back of the nickel, to commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition
  • the recent release of new dollar coins featuring the U.S. Presidents
  • and the yearslong release of new quarters depicting various scenes from all 50 states.

The current design of the penny, with Lincoln on the front and the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse, was finalized in 1959, with Lincoln's image having been added in 1909.


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