YEARS: 1793-1799 | 1800-1824 | 1825-1849 | 1850-1874 | 1875-1899 | 1900-1924 | 1925-1949 | 1950-1974 | 1975-1999 | 2000-
On April 21, 1787, the Continental Congress of the United States authorized a design for an official copper penny, later referred to as the Fugio cent because of its image of the sun shining down on a sundial with the caption, "Fugio" (Latin: I flee/fly). This coin was reportedly designed by Benjamin Franklin; as a reminder to its holders, he put at its bottom the message, "Mind Your Business". The image and the words form a rebus meaning that time flies, do your work. This design was also used on the "Continental dollar" (issued as coins of unknown real denomination, and in paper notes of different fractional denominations) in February 1776.'; break; case ( ($year == 1793) ): $qty=3; $info='Three pennies were minted in 1793.
1) The Flowing Hair Chain cent was Americaīs first large cent and the first circulating coin officially produced by the United States Mint. It was struck only during 1793.
2) The Flowing Hair Wreath cent was an American large cent. It was the second design type, following the Chain cent in 1793. It was produced only during that year.
3) The Liberty Cap Large Cent was a type of large cent struck by the United States Mint from 1793 until 1796, when it was replaced by the Draped Bust large cent.
The first US penny was minted in 1787 as can be seen by clicking here.'; break; case ( ($year > 1793) && ($year <= 1796) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The '.$year.' U.S. Penny was composed of 100% copper and weighed 13.48 grams.
The coin has gone through several designs over its two-hundred-year time frame. Until 1857 it was about the size of the current U.S. dollar coins (Susan B. Anthony through present dollars). The Liberty Cap large cent, designed by Joseph Wright, was issued by the Mint from 1793 to 1796. The Mint created this type of cent in an attempt to satisfy the public objections to the Chain cent and Wreath cent. It appears to have been a little more successful than its precedents, as it was continued into 1797, unlike the previous two issues, which were issued for one year only. In 1795, the planchets became too thin for the use of edge lettering on the coins, so coins from late-1795 onward have no edge lettering.'; break; case ( ($year > 1796) && ($year < 1808) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The '.$year.' U.S. Penny was composed of 100% copper and weighed 10.89 grams
"Draped Bust" was the name given to a design of United States coins. It appeared on much of the regular-issue copper and silver United States coinage from 1795-1808. It is possible that Anne Willing Bingham was the model for these coins, but that has not been proven.
In 1796, Congress responded to the almost universal dissatisfaction of the first coins (Flowing Hair dollars) and decreed a new design. As was the custom of the time, all denominations bore the same design or, in this case, the same obverse. By Congressional decree, certain features were required: The eagle, the word Liberty, stars and United States of America. It was not considered necessary to include the value of the coin since it could be discerned from its size based on the precious metal content. Thus, the half dime was the smallest silver coin (containing 1/20 of the amount of silver in a dollar) and each denomination was larger up to the silver dollar.'; break; case ( ($year > 1807) && ($year <= 1814) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The '.$year.' U.S. Penny was composed of 100% copper and weighed 10.89 grams
The Classic Head Large Cent was a type of large cent issued by the mint from 1808 until 1814. It was worth 1/100th of a dollar.'; break; case ( ($year > 1814) && ($year <= 1839) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The '.$year.' U.S. Penny was composed of 100% copper and weighed 10.89 grams
The original Coronet Large Cent, sometimes nicknamed "Matron Head", was a type of cent issued by the United States Mint in Philadelphia from 1816 until 1839. It was one of two similar designs of the Coronet Head Large Cent, the other with a slightly altered profile, produced from 1839 until the end of the production of large cents in 1857.'; break; case ( ($year > 1839) && ($year < 1857) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The '.$year.' U.S. Penny was composed of 100% copper and weighed 10.89 grams
Facing more negative public reaction, the Coronet cents were redesigned in 1835 by new Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht. This last major change to the coin updated the obverse by giving Liberty a slimmer, more youthful appearance. Minor tweaks continued through 1843, and the 1843 design prevailed through the end of mintage in 1857. Some 11 years after the large cent was discontinued, a mint employee coined several large cents dated 1868, almost certainly for sale as instant rarities to numismatists. Fewer than a dozen of these unofficial issues, struck in both bronze and copper-nickel, are known to survive.
The first official mintage of the large cent was in 1793, and its production continued until 1857, when it was officially replaced by the modern-size one-cent coin (commonly called the penny).
First struck in 1793, the large cent was coined every year from 1793 to 1857 (with the exception of 1815, due to a shortage of copper, although 4 are known to exist). The Philadelphia Mint produced all large cents, which contained twice the copper of the half cent. This made the coins bulky and heavy, bigger than modern-day U.S. Quarters.'; break; case ( ($year > 1856) && ($year < 1859) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The '.$year.' U.S. Penny was composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel (also known as NS-12) and weighed 4.67 grams
The Flying Eagle cent is a one-cent piece struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint as a pattern coin in 1856, and for circulation in 1857 and 1858. The coin was designed by Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre, with the eagle in flight based on the work of Longacreīs predecessor, Christian Gobrecht.
By the early 1850s, the large cent (about the size of a half dollar) being issued by the Mint was becoming both unpopular in commerce and expensive to coin. After experimenting with various sizes and compositions, the Mint decided on an alloy of 88% copper and 12% nickel for a new, smaller cent. After the Mint produced patterns with an 1856 date and gave them to legislators and officials, Congress formally authorized the new piece in February 1857.
The new cent was issued in exchange for the worn Spanish colonial silver coin that had circulated in the U.S. until then, as well as for its larger predecessor. So many cents were issued that they choked commercial channels, especially as they were not legal tender and no one had to take them. The eagle design did not strike well, and was replaced in 1859 by Longacreīs Indian Head cent.'; break; case ( ($year > 1858) && ($year <= 1909) ): $qty=1; $info = 'The Indian Head one-cent coin, also known as an Indian Penny, was produced by the United States Mint from 1859 to 1909 at the Philadelphia Mint and in 1908 and 1909 at the San Francisco Mint. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the engraver at the Philadelphia Mint 1844–1869, as well as typography design by Steven Chayt.

The obverse of the coin shows "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", the head of Liberty wearing a feather head dress of a Native American and the year of production. The word "LIBERTY" appears on the band of the head dress. From 1859 to 1864 the design did not feature any mark of the designer. After the change to bronze occurred in 1864, Chief Engraver Longacre modified the portrait by sharpening the details. He added his initial "L" on the ribbon behind Libertyīs neck as well. thus creating two varieties for the year. This design would continue until the end of the series, with a minor modification by William Barber in 1870. A more noticeable change was made by Charles E. Barber in 1886 when the portrait was slightly modified and lettering on the right side of the coin shifted, again making two varieties for one date.

Two reverse designs were used for the series. In 1859 the reverse featured "ONE CENT" within a wreath of laurel (or properly olive). From 1860 until the end of the series the reverse featured "ONE CENT" within a wreath of oak and olive tied at the base with a ribbon with a Federal shield above. This design continued until the end of the series in 1909.

The coins struck between 1859 and 1864 contained 88% copper and 12% nickel. During this time, prior to the issuance of the Five-Cent nickel coin, the cent was commonly referred to as a "Nickel" or "Nick," for short. Due to the hoarding of all coinage during the Civil War, the nickel cents disappeared from daily use and were replaced in many Northern cities by private tokens. The success of these copper tokens prompted the change of the cent to a similar metal. In 1864, the alloy changed to bronze (95% copper and 5% tin and zinc), and the weight of the coins was reduced from 72 grains to 48 grains. This weight continued for copper-alloy U.S. cents until the 1982 introduction of the current copper-plated zinc cent (about 38.6 grains).

The total production of the Indian Head cent was 1,849,648,000 pieces. The 1909-S had the lowest mintage, only 309,000. It is not considered as scarce as the 1877 issue (852,500), since fewer of those were kept, particularly in the higher grades.'; break; case ( ($year > 1909) && ($year != 1932) && ($year != 1933) && ($year != 1934) && ($year < 1956) ): if ($year < 1930) { $qty=1; } else { $qty=3; } $info = 'Cents with and without Brennerīs initials were struck at both Philadelphia and San Francisco in 1909. Coins struck at Philadelphia bear no mintmark; those struck at San Francisco were marked with an S. The 1909-S with Brennerīs initials (commonly called the 1909-S VDB) is the rarest Lincoln cent by date and mintmark, with only 484,000 released for circulation. In 1911, the Denver Mint began striking cents with the mintmark D, and in most years in the following decades, all three mints struck cents. In 1916, Barber modified the design, causing Lincolnīs cheek and coat to appear less wrinkled. This modification was done to extend die life.

In 1917, a year which saw Barberīs death in office at age 77, the wartime economy caused a shortage of cents. At this time, the Lincoln cent had not yet become dominant in circulation; four-fifths of the cents in circulation were of the older Indian Head design. Demand for the cent continued to increase when a luxury tax was instituted, and cents were needed to make change. In 1918, Brennerīs initials were restored to the coin, appearing where Lincolnīs shoulder is cut off by the rim of the coin.

The recession year of 1922 saw a lower-than-usual demand for coins in commerce, and few cents were coined. At the time, dies were only made at Philadelphia; the Denver Mint had outstanding orders for cents that year. When Denver applied to the Philadelphia Mint for more dies (cents were not struck at either Philadelphia or San Francisco that year), it was told that the Philadelphia Mint could supply no more cent dies, as it was fully engaged in preparing dies for the Peace dollar. Denver filled its orders by striking with a worn-out obverse die, which impressed the design fainter than usual. On many strikes, the mintmark on the die filled with oil and dirt, producing coins on which the mintmark does not appear, or appears only faintly. The 1922 plain piece is another relatively rare one in the Lincoln cent series.

When the 25-year period during which the Lincoln cent could not be changed without congressional approval expired, there was no interest in replacing the design as the coin had remained popular. Beginning in 1936, proof coins were struck for collectors for the first time since 1916. Made only at Philadelphia, these pieces were coined from dies polished to mirror smoothness.

With the US entry into World War II in 1941, copper and tin, which were both used in the cent, were in short supply. Experiments were carried out by several corporations under contract from the Mint; they tested various metallic and non-metallic substances, including fiber, tempered glass, and several types of plastic. These experiments used various designs, since actual Lincoln cent dies could not leave government custody. As the experiments proceeded, production of bronze cents was cut back drastically in July 1942, and ceased in December. On December 18, 1942, Congress gave the mint authorization to change the composition of the cent for a three-year period, and five days later, Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau announced that the coin would be made out of zinc-coated steel. Zinc and iron form an electromagnetic "couple"; the two metals soon corrode when in contact with each other in a damp atmosphere. The public soon complained that the new coins were becoming spotted and stained. Another common complaint was confusion with the dime, and some letters suggested that a hole be punched in the center of the new coins. Morgenthau responded that the new pieces would soon become darker, and that the Mint would be willing to darken them if it could figure out a suitable process.

In December 1943, the Treasury Department announced that the steel cent would be discontinued after 1943, to be replaced with coins containing 95% copper and 5% zinc (pre-1943 cents contained the same percentage of copper but might also contain tin in place of some of the zinc). The Treasury also stated that some of the metal for the new coins would be obtained by melting down small arms ammunition shells. However, numismatic writer Shane Anderson, in his study of the Lincoln cent, doubts that any shells were melted down, except perhaps ceremonially. After the war, the Treasury quietly retired as many steel cents as it could from circulation, while denying it was doing so—no public admission of the program was made until 1959, as the Treasury feared that were it publicly known, the coins would be hoarded. A few 1943 bronze cents and 1944 steel cents are known to exist, and are valuable. Only one 1943-D cent in bronze is known; it sold in September 2010 for $1.7 million. One of the four known 1943-S cents in bronze was sold to Texas Rangers baseball team co-chairman Bob R. Simpson for $1 million. There are also many cents dated 1943 that were coated with copper to imitate the genuine rarity. These pieces may be distinguished from genuine off-metal strikes by the use of a magnet. The planchets from which the 1943 and 1944 off-metal strikes were coined were most likely concealed in the coining equipment and were struck when coinage resumed after year end. The cent returned to its prewar composition in 1946.

In 1952, the Mint considered replacing the Lincoln cent with a new design by Mint Chief Engraver Gilroy Roberts, but Mint officials feared that the incoming Eisenhower administration would be hostile to replacing a Republican on the cent. Several thousand 1955 pieces were struck with a doubled die, and display doubling of the date. The Mint was aware of the pieces, and knew they were somewhere within a large production lot, but opted to release them, rather than destroy the entire lot. The variety did not become widely known until several years later.'; break; case ( ($year==1956) || ($year==1957) || ($year==1958) ): $qty=2; $info = 'Many collectors began their numismatic career with Wheat Ear Lincoln cents. In circulated condition, "Wheaties" are common and affordable.

Wheat Reverse cents were produced at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco mints. In general, cents from Philadelphia are well made; those from Denver and San Francisco are often poorly struck from worn dies. Key dates in the series include the 1909-S VDB, 1914-D, and 1922 "Plain", plus the 1909-S and 1931-S. Interesting varieties include the 1917 and 1936 Doubled Die Obverse.'; break; case ( ($year == 1932) || ($year == 1933) || ($year == 1934) ): $qty=2; $info = 'Far smaller quantities of Lincoln cents were struck from 1931 to 1933 than what was typical during the Roaring ’20s. What was going on? Demand for coins and notes fell off the cliff due to the Great Depression, and the early ’30s were among the grimmest times of the decade. That meant recently struck coins were gathering dust in vaults, which led to sharply curtailed production by the U.S. Mint. More than 277 million Lincoln cents emerged from Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco in 1929 as compared to a combined total of 24,742,000 (a 90.7 percent decline) in 1931. Most collectors are aware of the 1931-S cent and its puny mintage of 866,000, but just 4,480,000 1931-D Lincolns were struck, making this date attractive as well. No S-mint cents were made in 1932, 1933, and 1934, with mintages remaining low at Philadelphia and Denver. Philadelphia struck 9,062,000 pennies in 1932 and struck 14,360,000 pennies in 1933. Denver struck 10,500,000 pennies in 1932.'; break; case ( ($year > 1960) && ($year < 2009) ): $qty=1; $info = 'On February 12, 1959, a revised reverse design was introduced as part of the 150th anniversary of Lincolnīs birth. No formal competition was held. Frank Gasparro, then Assistant Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, prepared the winning entry, selected from a group of 23 models that the engraving staff at the Mint had been asked to present for consideration. Again, only the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury was necessary to make the change because the design had been in use for more than the required 25 years. The imposing marble Lincoln Memorial provides the central motif, with the legends E Pluribus Unum and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA completing the design, together with the denomination. The initials "FG" appear on the right, near the shrubbery. In his treatise Theory and Practise of Numismatic Design, Steve Crooks states that because the Lincoln Memorial is shown in sufficient detail to discern the statue of Lincoln on the reverse, Abraham Lincoln was the only person to be depicted on both the obverse and reverse of the same United States coin until the release of the New Jersey state quarter in 1999, which depicts George Washington crossing the Delaware River on the reverse.'; break; case ( ($year == 2009) ): $qty=4; $info='The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 required that the centīs reverse be redesigned in 2009. This resulted in the mintage of four different coins showing scenes from Abraham Lincolnīs life in honor of the bicentennial of his birth. These four designs, unveiled September 22, 2008 at a ceremony held at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., are:
1) Birth and early childhood in Kentucky: this design features a log cabin and Lincolnīs birth year 1809. It was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Jim Licaretz. This cent was released into circulation on Lincolnīs 200th birthday, February 12, 2009, at a special ceremony at LaRue County High School in Hodgenville, Kentucky, Lincolnīs birthplace. The mintage was extremely low compared to prior years (see Lincoln cent mintage figures). It has been nicknamed the "Log Cabin Penny".
2) Formative years in Indiana: this design features a young Lincoln reading while taking a break from rail splitting. It was designed and sculpted by Charles Vickers. Nicknamed the "Indiana Penny", it was released on May 14, 2009.
3) Professional life in Illinois: this design features a young professional Lincoln standing before the Springfield Illinois State Capitol. It was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart. Nicknamed the "Illinois Penny", it was released on August 13, 2009.
4) Presidency in Washington, D.C.: this design features the half completed Capitol dome. It was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Joseph Menna. This fourth cent was released to the public on November 12, 2009. U.S. Mint released collectorīs sets containing this design in copper prior to the public launch of this design in zinc.
Special 2009 cents struck for sale in sets to collectors had the metallic copper content of cents minted in 1909 (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc). Those struck for circulation retained the normal composition of a zinc core coated with copper.'; break; case ( ($year > 2009) && ($year < 2012) ): $qty=2; $info='The 2005 act that authorized the redesign for the Bicentennial stated that another redesigned reverse for the Lincoln cent will be minted which "shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincolnīs preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country". Eighteen designs were proposed for the reverse of the 2010 cent. On April 16, 2009 the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) met and selected a design that showed 13 wheat sheaves bound together with a ring symbolizing American unity as one nation. Later this design was withdrawn because it was similar to coinage issued in Germany in the 1920s. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee later met and chose a design showing a Union shield with ONE CENT superimposed in a scroll; E Pluribus Unum was also depicted in the upper portion of the shield. In June 2009 the CFA met again and chose a design featuring a modern rendition of the American flag. As a part of the release ceremony for the last of the 2009 cents on November 12, the design for the 2010 cent was announced. The design chosen was the one that was chosen earlier by the CCAC. According to the Mint, the 13 stripes on the shield "represent the states joined in one compact union to support the Federal government, represented by the horizontal bar above." The Mint also noted that a shield was commonly used in paintings in the Capitol hallways painted by Constantino Brumidi, an artist in the Capitol active during the Lincoln Presidency. The obverse of the cent was also changed to a modern rendition of Brennerīs design. The new Union Shield design replaces the Lincoln memorial in use since 1959. The coin was designed by artist Lyndall Bass and sculpted by US Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna. In January 2010, the coins were released early in Puerto Rico; this was caused by a shortage of 2009-dated pennies on the island. The new design was released at a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois on February 11, 2010.'; break; case ( ($year > 2011) ): $qty=1; $info='The 2005 act that authorized the redesign for the Bicentennial stated that another redesigned reverse for the Lincoln cent will be minted which "shall bear an image emblematic of President Lincolnīs preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country". Eighteen designs were proposed for the reverse of the 2010 cent. On April 16, 2009 the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) met and selected a design that showed 13 wheat sheaves bound together with a ring symbolizing American unity as one nation. Later this design was withdrawn because it was similar to coinage issued in Germany in the 1920s. The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee later met and chose a design showing a Union shield with ONE CENT superimposed in a scroll; E Pluribus Unum was also depicted in the upper portion of the shield. In June 2009 the CFA met again and chose a design featuring a modern rendition of the American flag. As a part of the release ceremony for the last of the 2009 cents on November 12, the design for the 2010 cent was announced. The design chosen was the one that was chosen earlier by the CCAC. According to the Mint, the 13 stripes on the shield "represent the states joined in one compact union to support the Federal government, represented by the horizontal bar above." The Mint also noted that a shield was commonly used in paintings in the Capitol hallways painted by Constantino Brumidi, an artist in the Capitol active during the Lincoln Presidency. The obverse of the cent was also changed to a modern rendition of Brennerīs design. The new Union Shield design replaces the Lincoln memorial in use since 1959. The coin was designed by artist Lyndall Bass and sculpted by US Mint sculptor-engraver Joseph Menna. In January 2010, the coins were released early in Puerto Rico; this was caused by a shortage of 2009-dated pennies on the island. The new design was released at a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois on February 11, 2010.'; break; } // End the switch statement echo '

'; if ($year > 1793) { $previousyear = $year-1; echo 'Previous US one cent '.$previousyear.''; } if ( ($year > 1793) && ($year < $curYear) ) { echo " | "; } if ($year < $curYear) { $nextyear = $year+1; echo 'Next US one cent '.$nextyear.''; } echo ''; if ($qty > 1) { for ($a = 1; $a < $qty; $a++) { echo '

'; } // End for loop } // End if statement echo $info; //Print the info based on the year the coin was made. ?>