Top 10 Facts About the US Penny

The Top Ten
1 On average, pennies last about 25 years in circulation
2 Abraham Lincoln was the first historical person on a U.S. coin Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War and succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy. He married Mary Todd and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity. In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.

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 (January 6, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was an American polymath who was active as a writer, scientist, inventor, statesman, diplomat, printer, publisher, and political philosopher. Among the leading intellectuals of his time, Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, a drafter and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and the first United States Postmaster General.
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

The Contenders
11 The penny costs more to make than it is worth
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