What is Penny? A Comprehensive Look at One of the Most Widely-Used Coins
Penny, the most widely-used currency in America, is a diminutive coin that has been in circulation since 1787. Pennies are typically composed of zinc-coated copper, but historically, they’ve been made from many other metals. While often overlooked due to their small size and low value, we’ll take a closer look at pennies in this article.
The History of the Penny
Pennies were initially minted in 1787 as a solution to the need for smaller coins in everyday transactions. The first pennies were sizeable and made of pure copper, but as copper prices increased, their size and composition changed. In 1857, the United States Mint reduced the size of the penny and changed its makeup to 88% nickel and 12% copper. World War II saw the penny produced in zinc-coated steel as copper was required for the war effort. However, they were swiftly taken out of circulation because of their similarity to dimes. In 1982, the composition of the penny was altered to 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper, and this is the current composition in use.
The Design of the Penny
The obverse of the penny showcases the profile of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, and the reverse features the Lincoln Memorial. Although there have been some trivial modifications, such as the addition of “In God We Trust” in 1959, this design has remained largely unchanged since 1909.
The Value of the Penny
Due to its low value, the penny tends to be overlooked, but it is still a valuable part of the currency system in the United States. Pennies are used in daily transactions, and their value can add up quickly. Additionally, hobbyists and numismatists frequently collect pennies and value them for their unique design and historical significance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are pennies valuable for collectors?
Yes, pennies can be valuable for collectors due to their design and historical significance. Some rare pennies can even fetch thousands of dollars.
2. Can I use pennies for transactions?
Yes, pennies are still legal tender in the United States and can be used for everyday transactions.
3. Why hasn’t the penny been abolished?
While some argue that the penny is no longer useful because of its low value and production cost, others argue that it is an essential symbol of American culture and history.
4. How many pennies are produced annually?
The United States Mint produces billions of pennies each year, making them one of the most commonly used coins in circulation.
5. Is melting pennies legal for their metal worth?
No, it is against the law to melt pennies or any other American coins for their metal value.
To conclude, pennies may seem insignificant, but they have a long and rich history and remain an essential aspect of daily transactions. With their unique design and historical background, pennies are worth including in any coin collection. So next time you come across a penny, take a second to value its importance and significance.