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 first design for the penny had the inscription “Mind Your Business”.
- It’s actually not called a “penny.” The official name is the “one-cent” coin. The word “penny” came from the British denomination of the same name.
- The modern one-cent coin is actually composed mainly of zinc with a copper coating
- The early “pennies” were 29 millimeters wide, or roughly the size of a modern half dollar. These so-called “large cents” were made until 1857, and are still popular with coin collectors.
- 16 pennies stacked equals 1 inch and 16 pennies in a line equals 1 foot. Depending on the age of the pennies, your mileage may vary as wear and tear could affect the thickness.
- If you want to collect pennies, there is one year you’ll never see on an authentic U.S. one-cent coin: 1815. That’s because we used to get the copper for them from an English supplier, but the War of 1812 that pitted us against the U.K. stopped those shipments. The Mint ran out of copper in late 1814, and by the time shipments resumed in late 1815, it was too late to mint pennies with 1815 on them.
- 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.
- There are more than 130 billion one-cent coins currently in circulation.
- Since its beginning, the U.S. Mint has produced more than 288.7 billion pennies. Lined up edge to edge, these pennies would circle the earth 137 times.
- During its early penny-making years, the U.S. Mint was so short on copper that it accepted copper utensils, nails and scrap from the public to melt down for the coins.
- 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.
- In 2018 A penny costs 1.82 cents to manufacture. Between production costs and shipping, the one-cent coin cost $0.0182 each. This comes to $69 million in losses compared to their total value.
- The Lincoln penny was the first cent on which appeared the words, “In God We Trust.”
- More than two-thirds of all coins produced by the U.S. Mint are pennies.