11 Facts about the Penny

You find them everywhere: in the couch cushions, in the car, in the bottom of your purse or pocket. The penny or one cent coin may be a nuisance to some but it has a special place in history. Here are a few facts about the penny you might not know about.

1. The one cent coin was first distributed by United States in 1793. 11,178 copper cents came into circulation on March 1. In 2019, the U.S. Mint produced almost 12 billion coins.

2. It was composed of 100% copper until World War 2. Then pennies changed to a zinc-coated steel.

3. According to the U.S. Mint, The first penny was designed by Benjamin Franklin with interlinked chains to symbolize the unity during the Revolutionary War era. However, many mistook the meaning to be a reference to slavery. A wreath quickly replaced the chains.

4. Before 1909, Lady Liberty graced the coins. Now President Lincoln’s profile graces the one cent coin.

5. If you toss a penny into a fountain, make a wish! The most popular fountain to throw coins in resides in Rome, Italy: The Trevi Fountain. Coins tossed into fountains are donated mostly to charities.

6. Casinos regard the Penny slots the most profitable games. You can still find penny slots that allow you to play one penny at a time.

7. It is said that when you find a penny on the street, the heads up is for luck and tails is for bad luck.

8. Each year, celebrate National One Cent day on April 1st.

9. In 2009, the reverse (tails) side of the penny changed to four different designs depicting various times in Lincoln’s lifetime for his 200th birthday. The Union Shield shows thirteen vertical stripes on the penny, which represents 13 states joined in a union.

10. Did you know it is not called a penny? The official name is the one cent coin. The actual idea for the term penny derives from the British denomination of the same name.

11. If you save a penny a day from the day you are born, the grand total after 80 years would be $292.20 give or take a few depending on leap days.

We hope you enjoyed these penny facts. If you’re looking to save a few cents on your electric bill, check out how you can save in the kitchen.