It’s happened two days in a row: my habit of taking a glance at the coins I get as change resulted in some uncommon penny sightings. Yesterday I had a trio of ìnewî pennies. Today it was three oldies — wheat cents that were minted from 1909 to 1958.
I can understand seeing the new pennies, as the U.S. Mint this year is marking the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny. The face of the new coins still sport Abe’s right-looking profile, but the flip sides feature new designs. Instead of the Lincoln Memorial, these coins have one of four scenes from Lincoln’s early life.
— Lincoln log cabin penny, featuring an image of the cabin near Hodgenville, Ky., where Lincoln was born.
— Lincoln rail-splitter penny, depicting an image of Lincoln on a log reading a book and taking a break from rail splitting.
— Illinois Lincoln penny, representing Lincoln’s professional life and showing him in front of the Old State Capitol in Springfield.
— Lincoln presidency penny, which shows a half-finished U.S. Capitol dome, symbolizing a nation torn apart by civil war and the resolve Lincoln showed as he guided the country through the crisis.
The new pennies jingling in my pocket were two log cabins and one Illinois Lincoln.
You can learn more about the new coins at http://www.newpenny.net
Finding the wheat pennies, which I got in change at a local sandwich shop, may be a sign of tough times. I wondered whether someone raided a coin collection or piggy bank to get them. Two of the wheats are 1956 D’s and the third is a 1946 D. (The D’s mean the coins were minted in Denver.) I poked around online and learned the coins have a value between 3 and 99 cents each.
Wheat Cents (Not mine)
I’ll hang onto them, as I’ve been a very amateur coin collector since childhood. My folks got me coin books that held several decades’ worth of pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters. Some are full; most are not.
You can learn more about wheat cents here: http://bit.ly/ZFm0B