When you think about it, pennies are a real nuisance. They’re small and seemingly almost worthless, and despite putting them safely in your wallet or purse, they always seem to wind up blocking the filter on your washing machine, slipping down the sides of the cushions on your favourite armchair, or getting sucked up the vacuum cleaner. Nevertheless, on one special day each year we can take the time to gather up those ever-wandering coins and finally do something more useful with them that we usually do by donating them to a charity of our choice. Lost Penny Day is the perfect day to take a moment to recognize that despite the fact that pennies may not seem like they are worth much, they can still be found and used to help those in need to whom each and every penny counts and adds up.
The History of Lost Penny Day
The first penny ever was designed by Benjamin Franklin and minted in 1787. The penny we’re familiar with today, however, adorned with the bust of late American president Abraham Lincoln, was first minted in 1909 and released on February 12th to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. The founder of Lost Penny Day, Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith, wrote a log post about her idea, explaining that what she was trying to demonstrate was: “Petty change can make an astounding difference”, which is a positive message indeed, and one we can suspect Honest Abe himself would have supported. In fact, one of Lincoln’s most well-known quotes was, “I walk slowly, but I never walk backward”.
- The average penny lasts 25 years!
- Pennies were the very first coins minted in the United States. In March 1793, the mint distributed 11,178 copper cents
- There have been 11 different designs featured on the penny.
- The Lincoln penny was first minted and circulated in 1909, the 100th anniversary of his birth.
- Lincoln faces to the right, while all other portraits on coins face to the left. This was not done on purpose — it was simply the choice of the coin designer.
- The penny was the first U.S. coin to have the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”.
- Approximately 30 million pennies per day (1,040 pennies every second) are produced. Each year, the U.S. Mint produces more than 13 billion pennies.
- Over two-thirds of all coins produced by the U.S. Mint are pennies. In fact, the penny is the most widely used denomination currently in circulation and it remains profitable to make. Each penny costs .93 of a cent to make, but the Mint collects one cent for it. The profit goes to help fund the operation of the Mint and to help pay the public debt.
- The Official Name for a Penny is not Penny. The US official name for the Penny, is not a Penny, but actually ‘Cent’ or ‘One Cent Piece’. The widely mis-use of the name Penny in the United States stems from the early equating of it with the British Penny which had similar value. This historic misnomer keeps its place in today’s times.