Professional Life in Illinois Lincoln Penny

Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program

Background

In 2009, the United States Mint issued four different pennies throughout the year in recognition of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth and centennial of the first year of the Lincoln cent. The themes on the reverses represent the four major aspects of Lincoln’s life.

Professional Life in Illinois (1830-1861)

Thomas Lincoln decided to move the family in 1830 to Illinois, farther west. Abraham worked at different jobs there, including piloting a steam boat. But he was also becoming more and more interested in politics and in studying and practicing law.

He was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834. In 1837, he moved to Springfield, the capital of Illinois. There, he married Mary Todd and they had their first child, Robert Todd Lincoln. Doing well as a lawyer, Lincoln won election to the US House of Representatives in 1846.

Lincoln debated Stephen Douglas for a seat in the US Senate in 1858. Although he lost that election, the debates made him nationally famous as they showcased his debating skills, clear thinking, and moral character. Two years later, the Republicans nominated him to run for president, and he won the election.

This coin design shows Lincoln standing outside the state house of Illinois. It reminds us of his career in law and politics before he ran for the presidency.

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Coin Characteristics

Obverse (heads): Show the familiar Victor David Brenner likeness of President Lincoln featured since 1909.

Reverse (tails): Depicts the young professional Abraham Lincoln in front of the State Capitol in Illinois.

Obverse Inscriptions

  • IN GOD WE TRUST
  • LIBERTY
  • 2009

Reverse Inscriptions

  • UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
  • E PLURIBUS UNUM
  • ONE CENT

Specifications

The circulating version of these coins uses the same metal content as other modern cents (2.5 percent copper, the rest zinc). The uncirculated version contains the metals used in the original 1909 cent (95 percent copper, 5 percent tin and zinc).

Artist Information

Obverse
  • Designer: Victor David Brenner
Reverse Content last reviewed December 23, 2016

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