You know all too often things just fly beneath my radar completely.
The other day I took some loose change out of my pocket and started
counting it. As usual, I separated out the pennies first. As I did so
I noticed one penny that was a lot shinier than the rest.

I took the penny and looked at it. On the face it was a normal penny
with the face of Abraham Lincoln on it. But then I turned it over. On
the reverse side was a relief of Lincoln sitting on a log in the woods
reading a book. Surprised, I turned the coin around again and looked
at the issue date. The coin was issued in 2009. Which meant that the
penny, terminus post quem, had been minted within about the
last year. Which was at least one reason for its shiny appearance.

So I got curious and did some research. As it turned out there were not
1 but 4 new types of pennies minted in 2009. And evidently there is
another one due to be issued February 2010.

Lincoln's head is still on the front of each coin, but the backs show a
representation of the various phases of our great President's life. Here's
the breakdown:

  • Birth and early childhood in Kentucky (1809-1816) — (2009)
  • Formative years in Indiana (1816-1830) — (2009)
  • Professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861) — (2009)
  • Presidency in Washington, DC (1861-1865) — (2009)
  • Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America — (February 11,

I particularly like the presidency in Washington one, which shows the
U.S. Capitol dome still under construction as it was when Lincoln first
arrived in Washington.

There's been a lot of talk over the years about getting rid of the penny
altogether. But I have always opposed that. For one thing I can't see
how it will make things any simpler given that the nickel will in a sense
merely become the new penny. The only people that would benefit is
retailers, who would then increase costs by at least a nickel instead of
a couple of pennies. I think it also would be a shame that Benjamin
Franklin's old adage "a penny saved is a penny earned" would become
only metaphorical.

So I applaud the new coin. It indicates a re-commitment to the penny,
and that at least for the foreseeable future that the penny will still
be with us.

Viva la penny!

The new penny to be issued February 2010. Be
the first person in your neighborhood to own one!