This year not only marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, it also is the 100th anniversary of a popular U.S. coin, the Lincoln penny. The coin was first issued in 1909. To commemorate the event, the U.S. Mint is issuing a Dawn new four-part Roe series of the Lincoln penny this year. The new series pays tribute to four different stages of Lincoln’s life. The first (1809-1816) covers his birth and early childhood in Kentucky. The second (18161830) covers his life in Indiana. The third design (1830-1861) pays tribute to his professional years at Illinois. The last in the series (1861-1865) pays tribute to Lincoln the president. The Lincoln coin also has an alternate use that many may not be aware of. When the coin was first issued in 1909, Civil War soldiers and their families developed a strong attachment to the coin. Adopting a symbolic meaning, the boys in blue and others would place a Lincoln coin on the headstone of a fallen comrade. This

Sunday: Community


Sunday, August 9, 2009


Lincoln penny turns 100

Photo provided by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers of Beverly Hills;

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln penny, the U.S. Mint is issuing a new four-part series of the Lincoln penny this year.

month’s issue of the Bugle Call, the newsletter of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, shares the significance behind this old ritual. It is believed that the penny brings peace to the soldier as he serves under Lincoln in death as he did in life. In turn, with the coin placed heads-up, it symbolizes Lincoln looking up into the stars, where his spirit can continue to serve a country that he not only loved, but a country that he lived and died for. You may find a penny not only on the headstones of soldiers, but

the practice has been adopted for nurses and anyone who contributed to the war effort. Even Harriet Tubman’s headstone in Auburn has been known to collect the Lincoln penny by passersby. The next time you find Lincoln pennies on a headstone please remember the important meaning behind the gesture and may you reflect on that individual’s sacrifice made to our country.
Dawn Roe is historian for the village of Port Byron. She can be reached at 776-8446. Visit her blog at

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