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Coin Of the Month

Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin

2009 Lincoln Birthplace One-Cent Coin

Greetings from Inspector Collector!  I have the honor of presenting to you the first of the new cent designs for 2009, the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.  There will be four designs this year, and this one starts at the appropriate place:  the beginning!

The log cabin shown on this coin is probably just like the one Abraham Lincoln was born in, in 1809.  The word "probably" plays a big part here, because the actual cabin no longer exists.  A cabin that was probably Lincoln's was taken apart in 1860 and moved to another farm nearby.

But the Lincoln family had moved out a long time before.  In fact, Lincoln was only two years old when the family moved from Sinking Spring Farm to Knob Creek Farm, just a few miles away.

In 1895, the new owners of the property built a model of Lincoln's log cabin on the original site, where the chimney had been found.  The logs that were used to make the model are from that nearby house, so some or all of the Lincoln family's original logs probably make up the walls of the model cabin.  But there are no known records to say for sure.

The real cabin was probably bigger than the model, too, by a few feet.  But what's important is that the model shows how rustic and rough a log cabin was in the early 1800s.  The cabin still inspires awe when we think of how humble were the beginnings of the man who became one of our greatest presidents.

But the cabin's story doesn't end there!  The rebuilt cabin was moved and put on display in expositions in other states, and its materials were stored in a basement in New York for a while.

The Lincoln Farm Association was formed in 1906 to buy and preserve the Sinking Spring site.  The association donated the site to the federal government and it became a National Park 10 years later.

By then, the cabin had been rebuilt and a granite memorial building had been built around the cabin to protect it.  People can visit this historic site, which is cared for by the National Park Service.

It sure is interesting to see a log cabin inside a granite monument!

—Inspector Collector

Back of coin shows Lincoln's log cabin.
Reverse:  This artists' rendering of the back of the coin shows a log cabin featured in the design.

Front of 2009 coin shows Lincoln.
Obverse:  The front of this coin uses the traditional portrait of Abraham Lincoln facing right.

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