Ten Questions About the Lincoln Cent
So You Think You Know Your Money! The Lincoln Memorial Cent was produced from 1959 to 2008. You've probably seen thousands of them. The US Mint began issuing four new designs in 2009, and in 2010 yet another design change occurs.
Think about the Lincoln Cent -- the Lincoln Memorial design, and without looking at a coin, answer these 10 questions.
1. The Lincoln Memorial Design replaced the Heraldic Wheat Design on the penny's reverse in 1959. What was the occasion that caused this re-design?
2. The letters FG appear on the coin's reverse side, to the right of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. What does the FG stand for? (No, it's not "Found on the Ground.")
3. You've looked at the coin hundreds, maybe even thousands of times. The reverse (tails) side of the coin features the Lincoln Memorial. How many columns are depicted on the front of the Lincoln Memorial and for more help please click here Exclusive Founders Room Lincoln Center
4. On which side of the coin does the word "Penny" appear?
5. The alphabet contains 26 letters. How many of those letters appear on the obverse (front) of the Lincoln Cent? For that matter, how many letters are there in total on the "heads" side of the coin?
6. Of course we need bilingual education! There are even two languages on our Lincoln Cent. We know English is there. What other language appears? (Extra Credit Question: What error did Vice President Al Gore make concerning the meaning of the words in that non-English quote?
7. Which direction does Lincoln face on the Lincoln Cent. To the right, to the left, or straight ahead?
8. The little lines that go around the edges or our coins are called reeds. The Roosevelt Dime, for example, has a reeded edge with 118 reeds. How many reeds are on the edge of a Lincoln Cent?
9. At the base of Lincoln's neck on the front (obverse) of the coin are the letters VDB. Those letters are the initials of the designer of the image, Victor David Brenner. Which President championed Brenner to be the Lincoln Cent's designer?
10. The Lincoln Cent was a ground-breaker in that the image on the obverse of the cent was the first to portray something that had never appeared on US Coinage before. What was on the "heads" side of the coin that was a complete break from US Coinage tradition?
How do you think you did? Take a deep breath and read on. Let's see just how well you know your money.
1. The Lincoln Cent first appeared in 1909. That was the centenary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, who was born in 1809. The change in the coin's design celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Lincoln Cent's appearance.
2. The letters FG on the reverse side of the coin are the designer's initials. Frank Gasparro was the tenth Chief Engraver of the US Mint. His Lincoln Memorial design replaced the Heraldic Wheat design.
4. Trick question. The word "Penny" does not appear on the Lincoln Cent. In fact, it doesn't appear on any US coinage because technically the United States has no pennies. The word is a carryover from the time that the English Penny was the coin of the land. The English will tell you that the plural of "penny" is "pence" by the way.
5. 15 different letters appear on the front of the Lincoln Cent. B, D, E, G, I, L, N, O, R, S, T, U, V, W, and Y. There are actually 22 total letters and 4 digits on the obverse of the coin.
6. The motto on the Great Seal of the United States is "E Pluribus Unum." Which is Latin for "Out of many, one." Vice President Gore, in a speech to the Institute of World Affairs in January 1994 said, "We can build a collective civic space large enough for all our separate identities, that we can be e pluribus unum -- out of one, many." (The reverse of the actual meaning.)
7. Another trick question. On the front of the coin Lincoln faces to our right. If you turn the coin over, the image of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial is looking directly at you.
8. There are no reeds on the edge of a Lincoln Cent. The edge is smooth.
9. Victor D. Brenner's promoter was President Theodore Roosevelt.
10. Prior to the minting of the Lincoln Cent, an actual person had never been
depicted on US coinage. Liberty personified, emblems, even animals had appeared, but never a real person.
How did you do? Many people answer fewer than half the questions correctly! I hope this little quiz causes you to look a little bit closer at your change, and think about the people and ideas the designs celebrate!