Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program

Over the years, there have been many design changes for the one-cent coin. Usually, the 25-year minimum has to pass between redesigns. But, thanks to the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program, there were four design changes within 2009!

The year 2009 was not only the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, but also the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent, first appearing in 1909. The Lincoln image remained on the obverse (front) of all four cents in the new program.

On the reverse (back), four different images highlighted four parts of Lincoln’s life. These coins were issued about three months apart in the order they happened.

  • Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky
  • Formative Years in Indiana
  • Professional Life in Illinois
  • Presidency in Washington, DC

The circulating version of these coins used the same standard inscriptions and the same metal content as had been used previously. A special version of these coins for collectors was also made. The coins look the same, but contain the metals that were used in the original 1909 cent (95 percent copper, 5 percent tin and zinc) instead of the modern cent’s mix (2.5 percent copper, the rest zinc).

After the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Program ended, the design on the back of the one-cent coin was changed to represent the unity of the states, which President Lincoln worked so hard to restore and preserve.