Sunday, December 17, 2023

Fun Facts Related To The Penny

Once it was hard to tell a penny from a dime... Although they are different colors, pennies and dimes are very close in size. In 1943, copper was needed for war materials, so pennies were made out of zinc-coated steel. Because the color was silvery, it was easy to mistake a penny for a dime. Fortunately, pennies were only made that way for one year.

You might have little round sandwiches in your pocket... Most of our coins are metal sandwiches. The outside layers are three-quarters copper and one-quarter nickel, and the "filling" is solid copper. Pennies are made of zinc coated with copper. Only nickels are one solid material—that same 75% copper/25% nickel alloy. Would you like fries with that?

This penny is almost as big as a half dollar... America's first one-cent piece, called the "large cent," was first struck in 1793, one year after the Mint opened. It was so big that it was hard to use, but it wasn't replaced by a smaller penny until 1857, more than 50 years later.

George Washington was our first President – but not the first President on a circulating coin.... In 1909, President Lincoln appeared on a one-cent coin and became the first real person—as well as the first American president—to have his face appear on a regular-issue American coin.

We used to trade gold, silver, and copper.... A 1792 law directed American money to be made of gold, silver and copper. Gold was used in the $10, $5, and $2.50 pieces. The dollar, half dollar, quarter, dime, and half dime were composed of silver. The cent and half cent were made of copper.

How much was in that first batch?... The Mint produced its first circulating coins—all $111.78 worth of them—in March 1793. That first batch consisted of 11,178 copper cents. Soon after, the Mint began issuing gold and silver coins as well.

Heads, it’s Lincoln; tails, it’s Lincoln.... The Lincoln cent (1959 to 2007) featured this beloved president on both sides of the coin. On the obverse, we see his face in profile; on the reverse, he is seated in the Lincoln Memorial. However, the coin does carry the initials of two different engravers.

There were copper pennies and white cents?... Yes, there were "white cents" that didn't look at all like pennies. These were the Flying Eagle one cent coins of 1856–58 and the Indian Head one cent coins of 1859-64. They were made from metal that contained 88 parts copper to 12 parts nickel, which gave them a light or white color.

Learn more about the penny here...

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