2009 Lincoln Bicentennial cents are currently being struck by the United States Mint. But collectors and the U.S. Government are already looking toward 2010, when the U.S. Mint will begin minting Lincoln cents with a brand new, permanent design on the reverse (tail’s side) of the penny.
As you may have heard, the old Lincoln Memorial reverse image, which was designed by Frank Gasparro and struck on the penny from 1959 through 2008, will no longer be used on the one-cent coin.
In 2009, 4 different reverse designs are being used to honor the life and contributions of President Abraham Lincoln.
However, when the last of the 4 special 2009 designs no longer is struck, a new design will be used on the reverse of the Lincoln cent.
Changes To The Penny In 2010
Lincoln’s portrait will remain on the obverse (heads side) Lincoln cent from 2010 and beyond. It will look as it has since it was first placed on the penny in 1909.
That’s right, it is only the tails side of the new penny that will change in 2010.
The U.S. Mint has said the new reverse design "shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln’s preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country."
What such a design requirement entails is open for interpretation, as there are many ways that a coin design can express Lincoln’s success in maintaining the United States as a whole nation, despite the Confederate’s efforts to secede Southern states from the Union.
By the way, the metal composition of the Lincoln cent in 2010 and in later years will be copper-plated zinc, which has been the penny’s composition for circulation strikes since 1982.
What Will The New Penny Look Like?
There have been 18 different designs for which the U.S. Mint has released design proposals.
The final choice for the reverse design of the 2010 Lincoln cent ultimately lies in the hands of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.
The Wheat Stalks Controversy
Have you heard? There already has been a bit of controversy regarding the proposed designs for the 2010 Lincoln cents!
It involves LP-18 – the wheat stalk design (which is the last design seen in the link above).
The Commission of Fine Arts actually had chosen the wheat stalk design as their favorite among the choices. However, a major issue arose upon further investigation. The wheat stalk design is strikingly similar to Germany’s pfennig (a type of German coin) design from the 1920s and 1930s!
Take a look and see for yourself.
The wheat stalk design has since been removed from consideration.
The Final Design
So what will the final design choice be?
That decision has yet to be officially announced, but the Commission of Fine Arts is now backing LP-10, which bears an image of the 34-star American Flag.
The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee endorses LP-13, which depicts a shield with bearing the motto "E PLURIBUS UNUM" and a banner declaring the coin’s denomination, "ONE CENT."
Which of the designs do you like?