Top 10 Facts About the US Penny

The Top Ten
1 On average, pennies last about 25 years in circulation

The Pennies you’d think wouldn’t last that long but surprising enough they can last a long time in fact some can actually last up to 40 years in circulation for comparison 1 dollar bills only last about 18 months

2 Abraham Lincoln was the first historical person on a U.S. coin Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States in its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. Abraham Lincoln was born in Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. ...read more.

In 1909 Lincoln became the face of the penny, it marked the first time a real human as opposed to someone fictitious like Lady Liberty who was once featured on the coin or an animal appeared on regular-issued coinage. Further, despite being the 16th president of the country, Lincoln was the first president to be on a coin.

3 The value of the first batch of coins produced by the mint was $111.78

The U.S. Mint first released pennies into circulation in March 1793. There were 11,178 coins which sounds like a lot but the actual value is just over 100 dollars which is less than I’d expect

4 The modern penny contains barely any copper

From 1793 to 1857, the 1-cent coin was made out of pure copper, but due to the increasing price of the metal, other elements were added to the mix. Over the years, nickel, tin, zinc and steel have all been used. Today, the penny is made with mostly zinc and only 2.5% copper.

5 Ben Franklin designed one of the earliest versions of the penny Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who is associated with the famous phrase, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” designed one of the earliest U.S. pennies, called the Fugio cent. In fact it was the first coin in circulation in the US. On one side it had a sun and sundial and said “Mind your business” on the other side of the coin it had 13 chain links with the phrase “We are One” to represent the 13 independent colonies The association between pennies and Franklin is so strong that visitors to his grave in Philadelphia often leave pennies there for good luck.

6 Paul Revere used to help make pennies Paul Revere was an American silversmith, engraver, early industrialist, and a Patriot in the American Revolution.

Most people might not realize that Paul Revere was actually a silversmith. In fact, he had his own metals company that once supplied the U.S. Mint with rolled copper to make 1-cent coins. So one of our founding fathers actually played an important role in making the pennies

7 Pennies and dimes were once near identical

In 1943, copper was needed for war materials during World War 2 so pennies needed to be made out of a new metallic element. The U.S. decided to make them out of zinc coated steel instead. Since the color was silvery, the coins were often confused with dimes which had the same color. I mean could you really blame them? They were so similar in size it was easy to do

8 The phrase “penny pinching” didn’t originate in America

Surprising enough The term “penny-pinching” was not created by Americans. It was actually first used in Tomas Dekker’s play, “Shoemaker’s Holiday” in 1600, and it was around long before America was officially founded. But America did what we do best we steal something and take credit for it. The phrase didn’t catch on in the U.S. until the 20th century, more than 100 years after the penny was introduced to Americans.

9 In 2009, the penny had 4 different designs

2009 was actually a pretty significant year for the Penny. There were 4 different designs to commemorate the 200th birthday of our 16th President and the 100th anniversary of him first appearing on the Penny. The four designs highlighted important phases of Lincoln’s life: his birth and early childhood in Kentucky, youth in Indiana, a career in Illinois and, finally, the presidency in Washington, D.C.

10 The penny once had 2 Lincolns on it

From 1959 to 2007, both sides of the penny featured President Lincoln. On the front of the design is his bust that we are used to seeing today and on the back, his tiny figure can be seen within the Lincoln Memorial which is pretty cool that they had that much attention to detail

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