The first new Lincoln cent reverse in 50 years was officially “born” Feb. 12 at the same location in Kentucky as the 16th President of the United States midwifed by the Deputy Director of the U.S. Mint, Andy Brunhart.
Brunhart was joined on the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth in Hodgenville, Ky., by Gov. Steven L. Beshear at the LaRue County High School gymnasium for the formal ceremonial launch attended by over 1,000 people.
There will be four different 2009 cent reverse designs issued to mark the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.
The first of the new reverses depicts a cabin from the nearby Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site that symbolizes the kind of crude structure in which Lincoln arrived in the world.
“The new Lincoln cent is a milestone moment for the United States Mint and for our country,” said Brunhart.
“The coin is a tribute to a humble man who rose to great heights living by principles of honesty, integrity and loyalty, principles that never go out of fashion. More importantly, Americans will forever hold dear Lincoln’s legacy – an enduring nation, united in the pursuit of equality for all,” he explained.
After the speeches Brunhart and Beshear gave away thousands of the one-cent coins to children ages 18 and under in attendance.
Adults were able to exchange their coins and paper money for the new one-cent pieces afterwards.
The log cabin reverse design was created by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program master designer Richard Masters and it was sculpted by Mint sculptor-engraver Jim Licaretz.
The century-old Lincoln portrait stays on the obverse. It was designed by Victor David Brenner.
The next three designs will be released at three-month intervals. The next ones will show him as a young man in Indiana, as a lawyer in Illinois and the final one will symbolize his presidency.
The standard copper-coated zinc composition is used for the coins struck for use in circulation.
Numismatic versions of the four commemorative cents will have exactly the same metallic content as the 1909 coin (95 percent copper, five percent tin and zinc). These collector coins will be minted in proof and uncirculated condition, and will be included in Mint collector products.
Free lesson plans about the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial cent program are available online at http://www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/.