National One Cent Day
National One Cent Day celebrates the history and origins the one-cent coin, also known as the penny. Although the one-cent coin has been in use in the United States since 1793 the current image of the coin with the portrait of American President Abraham Lincoln was not in circulation until 1909. The coins had the Native American head-dress mark before this date. The colloquialism “penny” derives its name from the English penny. However, it is pluralized in the US to “pennies”, rather than “Pence” in Britain.
President Roosevelt made the decision to improve the artistic merit of America’s currency system. This led to the inclusion of Lincoln’s image on the coins. Augustus Saint-Gaudens was a sculptor who designed the new American coins. His first projects included the redesign of the 1 cent coin and the 4 gold coins in circulation.
This was a very lucky day for the USA’s currency system. Before this, no currency had ever been able to bear the face of a person. This has left a legacy of past presidents appearing on American coins. Although the coins have seen many changes over the years, one thing remains constant: Lincoln’s face has always been honored on the American penny (or “cent”).
There was much speculation about the day that the coins were released to the public on August 22nd 1909. There was much discussion and debate over the new design of the coins, as it had not yet been made public. The level of interest was so high that long lines formed at the Treasury offices across the US on that morning. The coin’s popularity was so overwhelming that those who were first to line could receive the coins as many as they wanted. However, as the day progressed, the Treasury facilities had to ration out the coins to the rest of the population. Each person could only receive 100 of the newly minted coins.
These coins caused quite a stir in the days that followed, with a penny selling for as high as.25c among collectors who wanted to own this new coinage. The price dropped to five cents eventually, and finally the desire to own them faded.
In 1943, the composition was changed to zinc-coated steel for a brief period. The war effort saw a large demand for copper, which led to the conversion from copper to steel. These coins were mostly reclaimed and melted down after the war. However, a few rare coins are still in circulation.
National One Cent Day is an excellent day to remember the history of this coin. Celebrate by buying small amounts of pennies and putting pennies in the ‘needa penny. take a pennies. have a pennies. leave a pennies’ trays in stores. Or, if you feel particularly adventurous, pave an entire floor using pennies. You can play penny slots at your local casino if you have one. No matter what, National One Cent Day is a day to honor this coin’s long history.