Thursday, November 17

About Myself, Part III: Pennies

One of my more recent hobbies has been collecting pennies, specifically the Lincoln Cent. This past summer, I discovered about 100 of these coins in my grandmother's farmhouse after she had moved into an assisted living facility. This small discovery spurred my interest in the one-cent piece. What I found were mostly Wheat Ear pennies, where the reverse side of the coin (the side opposite of Lincoln's image) shows two wheat stalks encompassing the words One Cent and United States of America. This version of the coin was first minted in 1909, marking the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. Minting continued until 1959 when the current design showing the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side began production. My current collection includes various dates and mint marks from 1920 through 1982, the last year the mostly copper penny was minted. The composition of the copper penny is actually 95% copper and 5% zinc with trace amounts of tin in certain years. Since 1982, however, the Lincoln Cent has been made up of nearly 98% zinc and only 2% copper.