Four New Penny Designs Unveiled!

The Treasury Department showed off four sexy new designs for the back of the penny, a facelift to commemorate the 2009 bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. One image shows Lincoln’s log cabin, one of him taking a break from splitting rails to read a book, one of them with the Capitol mid-construction, and the last of him gesturing towards the state capitol building in Springfield, Illinois! Yeah. Pennies. In the middle of the financial implosion, we’re worrying about what the pennies look like.

Design changes unveiled for Lincoln penny [AP]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Nothing like collectors’ editions of nearly useless currency.

  2. 11hawkinst says:

    This should definitely boost investor confidence!

    Screw $700 billion, we’ve got pennies.

  3. MyPetFly says:

    So if I have one of each, I’ll have about a penny’s worth of change.

  4. OMAC says:

    A penny saved is a penny earned

  5. B says:

    Think how many pennies we could get for $700 billion……
    Also, are they going to be not copper?

    • MyPetFly says:


      70 trillion pennies… 70,000,000,000,000.

      Actually, pennies are copper-plated zinc (since 1982), and of course they were minted in steel during WWII. There have also been aluminum pennies (just over 1.5 million) and tests with bronze-plated steel.

      • TouchMyMonkey says:

        @MyPetFly: The aluminum pennies never circulated. As for steel, that’s probably the next step in finding an even cheaper garbage metal to make pennies with. The jokesters have it right; just get rid of the damn thing already.

        My question is how the Mint expects to get that much detail on a penny, particular one made of such a poor material as copper-plated zinc. The current Lincoln Memorial design pushes the envelope as it is. I could see making some 50-cent pieces in silver; that would rule, but pennies? Somebody at the Mint must think their engravers and sculptors need busy work.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @B: 98% Zinc and 2% Copper.

  6. azntg says:

    Always good to see our government having their priorities straight.

  7. Sam Glover says:

    Well, I know I was worried, at least.

  8. chrisgeleven says:

    You mean the U.S. Capitol, not the White House.

  9. Mr.Purple says:

    One day I am going to get 800 pennies and hand them out to people on the street.
    I’ll feel so rich, then somebody will mention that they are pennies. Then I will cry at 8 dollars lost.

  10. mackpayson says:

    Does anyone else have the nagging feeling as I do that this whole “collectible currency” publicity is just somekind of coverup for the fact that our nation’s financial value is sinking faster than…

    Nah, it’s just me.

    • What The Geek says:

      @mackpayson: Actually collectible coins are deliberately designed to take currency out of circulation. Or at least that was the case with the quarters – in the case of the pennies I suspect the govt became aware of the fact that, given the state of the economy, we’d all be seeing more of our friend the penny, so they wanted to spruce it up a bit.

  11. MercuryPDX says:

    Just so you know who to “point the daggers” at:

    The legislation directing the U.S. Mint to create new pennies for the Bicentennial was introduced in Congress by two of the ALBC’s three co-chairs, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL).
    Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson made the final selection.


  12. micasaessucasa says:

    The fourth penny is actually the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, IL not the Capitol building.

  13. says:

    i thought they were going to get rid of the penny. whats going on nowwwww?!?!

    i like the log cabin myself…because it reminds me of Maine. what a beautiful state.

    • swintronix says:
      I dont like the idea of getting rid of pennies. The price of everything would be rounded up… just that much more inflation. Nobody is going to round their prices down. Let’s not give up on pennies.

  14. eviladrian says:

    Guh? Down here in Australia we got rid of 1 and 2-cent coins about 10 years ago. Apart from changing the price of stuff from $X.99 to $X.95 it didn’t have much effect on society at large, and it at least made that big pile of change on my bedside table weigh about one-fifth as much when I take it in to the bank.

    • Phas3Sh1ft says:

      @eviladrian: Here in Japan, there’s a flat 5% sales tax on all goods, and that tax is included in the price. The 1 yen coin looks and feels like it was cut from a coke can. Just like the penny, it’s for people that don’t want to round, can’t use it in vending machines, etc. Why the hell do we need more useless currency floating around?

  15. Dansc29625 says:

    Ill bet they will stop minting pennies within 10 years. And I wouldn’t be surprised if 2010 is the last year for it. I hope nickels will go next. Nickles are pretty near melt value.

  16. SayAhh says:

    A penny minted is .67 pennies wasted (from 2007 US Mint: it costs 1.67 cents to make a penny). Maybe we should bail out the US Mint instead of Wall Street!

  17. PricklyPete says:

    Why the hell are we wasting money to mint more pennies? For some reason this really pisses me off.

    My retirement account has dwindled to nothing, but I shouldn’t worry because I’ll have shiny new pennies to play with?

    I feel like punching someone.

  18. 2kids3martinis says:

    They should make them very red.

  19. AgentTuttle says:

    The really super-awesome thing about this is that since 2006, it costs more to make a penny than it is worth.

  20. QrazyQat says:

    They should get rid of the penny (Australia and New Zealand have). We were in NZ a few years ago and it’s great; the way they handle it is if your bill comes to, say, $3.88 you pay $3.90, if it comes to $3.87 you pay $3.85. You win some, you lose some, it evens out.

    Then we should do a proper dollar and two-dollar coin, like the Loonie and Toonie in Canada. They’re great too. We in the USA have a nutty thing about our money; it’s time we entered the 21st century, or at least the last half of the 20th.

  21. Antediluvian says:

    What the heck is up with all this anger here over the penny? Frankly, I like pennies, and I like the fact that they’re getting updated.

    And while it might cost more to mint them than their face value, so what? As an argument, it’s a red (cent) herring.

  22. CRSpartan01 says:

    The redesign will make them easier to see on the ground. That’ll come in handy when the next Great Depression occurs (in the next couple months).

  23. Thaddeus says:

    I agree cent could go, however, this being the U.S., any bureaucracy or creation of the U.S. govt is so hard to get rid of I don’t see it going anywhere.

    I like the penny, I have no problem with them. If you collect 100 you can even get a dollar. Yes, I realize thats it’s costing us money to make them, time in transaction involving them but the day you go to buy something and it comes out to $5.97 and you hand the clerk six bucks and they stare at you, you’re going to want your three cents.

    • @Thaddeus: No I’m not going to want my 3 cents! You must be freaking kidding me. The LAST thing I want is 3 more of these damn things rolling around the bottoms of my cupholders, etc.

      Pennies are 75% of the reason why I stopped paying cash for almost anything. For me it’s credit cards because I HATE having to either A. carry around pennies to even out a cash transaction or B. be given pennies back on every transaction. Why the hell must 80% of all transactions (assuming an even distribution of final digits of your total) involve trading back and forth this worthless shit?

      Oh i’m sorry, I forgot–pennies are worth more than their face value–IF YOU MELT THEM DOWN FOR THE FREAKING ZINC!

      This is a big hint from the laws of reason that we need to stop minting them. The free market, if not prohibited to do so by law, would be “purchasing” pennies for $0.01 and melting them down for slightly more. Same goes doubly so for nickels which one guy did one time but got shut down by the Feds. Google it.

      So anyway in case i wasn’t clear, I hate pennies. Melt them all down and be done with it please!

  24. eelmonger says:

    I don’t understand all these redesigns. It must cost a fortune to hire artists, go through the whole design process, make new dies, etc. I could understand if it was something useful like making the bills different sizes and colors for those with disabilities, but this is just stupid. No one cares what the penny looks like. (Does this count as blaming the OP?)

  25. forgottenpassword says:

    I really hate it when the government starts changing how our money looks. You get used to how penny is after 30+ years & then they decide to play around with the design just because of the so-called popularity of the 50 state quarters designs (hate those as well).

    WHen you start changing how the money looks…. it starts to feel as if there is no permanence (or trust) behind it.

    And yeah I realize the mint changes the designs of coins every certain amount of years (I am in the metal detecting hobby & have seen/found most old coins). It still just doesnt give me much confidence when things are disrupted & changed. Especially in THESE financially troubled time.

    • johnva says:

      @forgottenpassword: The Fed can just make money out of thin air. Money isn’t any more real than a number in a computer somewhere. The design on the trinkets we use to represent it is totally irrelevant, and isn’t going to make our money any more “real”.

    • @forgottenpassword: Well now i know why we are the last country on earth that clings to 150-year-old currency designs with only slight cosmetic changes–even those slight changes piss you off.

      As for me, it’s just paper. It’s not sacred. I say change it often.

      • @West Coast Secessionist: “I say change it often. “

        But then foreign hookers don’t want to accept it as currently because they’re not sure if the new design is valid!

        Seriously. It requires education programs aimed at foreign black market activities every time we change the design of dollars, because having black market activity conducted primarily in dollars is good for the dollar’s value. It’s been bad news since euros got more popular on the black market!

  26. spidra says:

    Given that it looks like they’re going to make pennies anyway: I don’t love any of the designs. The log cabin looks best but I’d probably vote for Lincoln reading given that kids born during the Bush Administration would have a hard time believing that Presidents once used to be literate…

  27. drierp says:

    It’s time for useless money to be retired.. The penny should go!

  28. ogremustcrush says:

    Pennies? Really? Those things are so worthless now days that they aren’t even worth keeping. I guess if they want to keep pennies in circulation, they have to keep minting them though, since many people just throw them away.If I find one in my pocket I will often just drop it on the ground as its value is less than how much I value the pocketspace.

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    Why do I get the feeling that these redesigns cost 15,000,000 times the value of the coin?
    And, no Ford Theater version in the series?
    I feel doubly cheated.

  30. elislider says:

    yeah like this is gonna save the penny. just stop issuing pennies and let the rest work itself out. every prive should end in a 5 or 0

    • spazztastic says:

      @elislider: The problem you get into is sales tax. Yes, retailers can easily round thier prices up from $1.99 to $2, but sales tax rates are still ‘odd’ amounts. If you change the rates to an ‘even’ amount, it will most likely be up. If the retailers start rounding, people will feel cheated when their .06 becomes .10, and the government will be cheated when their .04 becomes 0.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @spazztastic: Simple solution: anyone complaining in public will be taken aside by whichever third-grader is handy, who will patiently explain the concept of rounding.

  31. nacoran says:

    Isn’t the point of money redesigns to get people to hoard them, taking the money out of circulation, effectively levying a tax? According to the US Mint


    as of 2004 it was still a little less than a penny to make a penny, since they are zinc clad in copper, not pure copper anymore. Maybe it’s time to switch to something cheaper or just get rid of the penny.

    Looking around I guess it depends on the current price of the raw materials. They haven’t been pure copper since ’82. Maybe

  32. Collection get!

    I love my Presidential #1 coin set. I bet these will look great too.

  33. Triborough says:

    What an utter waste of money.
    This is just going to encourage some people to hoard more pennies. They are quite useless and cost more to produce than they are worth. Just get rid of them. But then the government exists to waste money on utterly useless things like this.

  34. Mfalconieri says:

    We should give Paulson and Bush $700 billion in these new unwrapped pennies. If they can wrap them by themselves before the deadline….they can have the money. That would be a great game show!

  35. Onion_Volcano says:

    I think those pennies look great. Wonder why they went with silver?

  36. SharkD says:

    Glad we’re spending millions of dollars on redesigning a coin that costs vastly more to manufacture than it’s worth.

  37. BumpinUgglas says:

    My favorite is the Emo Lincoln (clearly reading Atlas Shrugged).

  38. Jesse says:

    The penny needs to go but is still around for a couple reasons. First of all, the penny being somewhat of an American icon I’m sure has some effect. More importantly though, retail I think pushes to keep it around since you can play tricks with the price of items by lowering it a few cents.

    You can probably argue the same about the paper dollar as well. Many countries use coins for their lower denomination currency. In the long run, coin dollars would be less expensive. However, they have never caught on here in the US since the vending machine industry does not want to pay in order to modify their equipment, so the Mint has to put sub-par products into circulation (e.g., Sacagawea Dollar, Susan B. Anthony Dollar) and they eventually die into obscurity.

  39. skc15 says:

    This is what a friend of mine used to call “legislation by committee” when things get so gridlocked, all people can agree about is the stupid stuff. “Our money is bo-ring…lets change it!”

  40. HogwartsAlum says:

    I like the newer money – the colors on the bills, and the state quarters. I tried to collect those but I kept needing them for the laundromat.

    The pennies look cool. I always pick them up off the ground. It’s good luck! Really! ;) Then they go in my penny jar.

    I would love to have a dollar coin, but they don’t make them for people to actually use. I only have Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea dollars as collectibles, in a tin with my steel pennies, wheat pennies and a Mercury dime.

  41. Where’s the “Kissing Lincolns” design?

  42. zentec says:

    I think the real story is that how quickly the old pennies will disappear from circulation. I have to believe the government wants to cash out on the copper value and replace them with these “fine collectible real legal tender coins finished in stunning .999 pure real copper leaf”.

  43. jswilson64 says:

    Does this mean that Abe was a Log Cabin Republican?

    • Antediluvian says:

      @jswilson64: You do realize that’s where the LCR got their name, right?

      From their site:

      The name of the organization is a reference to the first Republican President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who was born in a Log Cabin. President Lincoln built the Republican Party on the principles of liberty and equality. The party should return to its roots. When the organization was founded, the name, “Lincoln Club” was already taken by another GOP group, so organizers settled on the name Log Cabin Republicans.

      I still think they’re insane. But I like the penny redesigns.

  44. perruptor says:

    People, people – don’t you see that this is part of the anti-counterfeiting effort? The old pennies were just too easy to counterfeit. Why, any high-schooler with access to diemaking equipment and a punch press could go out and buy some sheet copper, and soon be cranking out pennies that only cost ten cents! Be grateful that the government stepped up and put an end to that economy-subverting activity!

  45. ironchef says:

    I thought the US dollar’s the new penny.

  46. Treefingers says:

    More pennies? I disagree…

  47. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Pennies ain’t going anywhere, because of an alliance between (a) the zinc producers (pennies are mostly made of zinc, and (b) Illinois politicians (that whole Land of Lincoln thing).

  48. femmesavante says:

    Just wasteful.