The Penny Gets a Retro Make-over

Abraham Lincoln has lived on the heads side of the penny since 1909 but in 2010 there will be a new tails side! I think this is so cool – I think it will give the oft-maligned penny a boost of confidence.

The 13 vertical stripes of the shield represent the states joined in one compact union to support the federal government, represented by the horizontal bar above.  The horizontal bar features the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM—”out of many, one”—while the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is depicted along the upper rim of the coin.  The union shield, which dates back to the 1780s, was used widely during the Civil War.  The shield is also featured on frescoes by Constantino Brumidi throughout the halls of the U.S. Capitol Building completed in the mid-19th century.”

Since 1982 the penny, including this new one, has been made of 2.5 percent copper and 97.5 percent zinc. Should we then refer to it as a “zinc penny”?

Sidenote: I thought these pennies would make penny loafers look that much more fabulous! But why are they called penny loafers? Because when American prep school students in the 1950s started a fashion statement of inserting a penny into the diamond-shaped slit on their shoes, the name penny loafer became popular and just stuck.


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