National One Cent Day is a day dedicated to something many of us may have in our pockets or in a piggy bank: the penny. This coin has been used in United States currency since 1793. The penny we are all familiar with today that features Abraham Lincoln wasn’t made until 1909 however. The name of these small copper coins comes from the English penny. Instead of making the plural Pence as it is said in England the American plural is simply pennies.
History of One Cent Day
The first once cent coin was issued in 1787 in a private mint. It was designed by Benjamin Franklin and featured “Mind Your Business” on one side and “We Are One” on the other side. These coins were made of 100% copper instead of mostly zinc like our pennies today. These coins were also larger than the pennies we are used to today. In 1792, the United States Mint was created and the one cent coin changed once again. The new design had a circle of 13 links of a chain to represent the 13 colonies on one side. The other side of these coins had an image of a woman with long hair who was known as Liberty. In 1850, the one cent coin changed once again and became smaller. This change was more economical to produce and was easier to use in daily life. 1856 brought about another change to this coin as the mint created the Flying Eagle cent that featured a wreath on one side. In 1859, the coin changed again and was replaced with the Indian Head cent. This design was wildly popular and remained in use for decades. The penny that we are all familiar with today took some time but finally appeared in 1959. In 1909, one cent coins began to be made of both copper and zinc and featured the image of President Abraham Lincoln. In 1959, the Lincoln Memorial began to be featured on the reverse side. In honor of Lincoln’s 200th birthday, the United States mint released special designs that featured scenes from his life. Finally, the one cent coin changed once again in 2010 to feature the Union Shield.
How to Celebrate One Cent Day
One Cent Day is a great day to learn about the long history of this little coin. You can celebrate by digging deeper into the history of the penny and other coins. You can also try to make small purchases in only pennies. Finding a penny on the ground is good luck, so maybe you could drop a few to give those around you some good luck. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, maybe you could try your luck at a local casino and try the penny slots. However you’re feeling, today is a day to celebrate a coin that is frequently overlooked.