Our New Penny: Little-Known Facts About The 2010 Lincoln Shield Cent

2010-lincoln-cent-photo-by-us-mint.jpg In 2010, a new penny will enter circulation.

The Lincoln cent coin, which turns 101 years old, will bear a shield on the reverse — the 3rd long-term reverse design in the series.

In November 2009, the U.S. Mint announced a design change to the Lincoln penny that removes the 50-year-old Lincoln Memorial design and replaces it with the union shield.

The design reflects the unity that President Abraham Lincoln helped reestablish when he helped guide the United States from the division between the North and South that erupted during the Civil War era.

The 2010 Lincoln cent will be released to circulation and in coin sets made by the U.S. Mint.


The Lincoln Shield Cent

The Shield cent is 1 of 18 original concepts United States Mint artists created for the new penny.

The new design symbolizes Abraham Lincoln’s ability to restore the wholeness of our union amid the division and strife of the Civil War.

Several proposed design topics were considered, including:

  • The U.S. Capitol
  • Wheat Stalks
  • Eagles
  • American flag

The design proposals were released to the public in May 2009. On November 12, 2009 (the same day the U.S. Mint released the last of the 4 Lincoln Bicentennial cent designs), the U.S. Mint unveiled the new penny design for 2010 and beyond.

Facts And Trivia About The New Penny

Every coin has some interesting and fun info and trivia behind it. Here are a few things you’ll want to know about our new penny:

  • Lyndall Bass is the designer of the reverse on the new Lincoln cent.
  • Joesph Menna is the sculptor of the new penny.
  • The union shield design on the coin is seen on frescoes throughout the U.S. Capitol Building.
  • The union shield design is highly representative of our nation’s oneness in the decades since the end of the Civil War.
  • There are 13 stripes on the shield.
  • “E PLURIBUS UNUM” is inscribed on a banner across the shield.


History Of The Lincoln Cent

The Lincoln cent has a long history. First minted in 1909, the Lincoln cent originally had a design on the reverse showing 2 wheat stalks. The wheat ears design was minted from 1909 through 1958.

In 1959, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth prompted the U.S. Mint to adopt the Lincoln Memorial reverse design. Designed by Frank Gasparro, the Lincoln Memorial design lasted on the Lincoln cent until 2008.

A coin act in 2005 authorized the U.S. Mint to strike 4 special designs commemorating the bicentennial (200th anniversary) of Lincoln’s birth. The 4 reverse designs minted on the Lincoln cent in 2009 show:

  • Lincoln’s birthplace, a Kentucky log cabin
  • Lincoln’s formative years, when he was a log splitter and veracious reader
  • Lincoln’s professional life in Illinois, where he was a senator
  • Lincoln’s presidency, during which the Civil War took place and ended while Lincoln was president from 1861-1865


Collecting Lincoln Shield Cents

The Lincoln shield cent will begin minting in 2010. While none of these coins have actually been made available as of this printing, it’s widely assumed that the new penny will be available in uncirculated and proof versions in the U.S. Mint’s annual offerings of uncirculated sets and proof sets.

The U.S. Mint’s 2010 product schedule shows both the uncirculated set and proof set will be released around June or July.

Collector interest should be heavy, at least during 2010. So, while the Lincoln shield cent will be released into circulation, it’s likely to be hard-to-find, because many people — collectors and non-collectors alike — will probably be snapping these coins up out of circulation.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of both the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, food, and living green.

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