2010 Lincoln Cent
I’m a closet numismatist, that is, a collector of coins. Up until the latter half of the 20th Century, when we really dropped the ball, America had a rich history of beautiful coinage. Lady Liberty and the eagle featured prominently on our money, in often majestic poses.
Nowadays, we put presidents on everything, and rarely redesign our money (well, very recently, we’ve been on a no-lasting-design binge that has produced few true works of art). The Lincoln Cent, a century old now, is going through a redesign. This year, four different reverse designs depicting scenes from Lincoln’s life are being circulated. They’re hideous.
The good news is that in 2010, there is potential for a very nice redesign. The obverse will not be changing, but the reverse is going to take on a new single lasting image. Numerous designs are currently under consideration:
The prospect of a gorgeous eagle design like LP-15 or LP-17 being chosen is a little exciting. LP-13 and LP-14 are old-school shield designs that would likewise look good on the back of a penny. My hope is that they don’t put the Capitol Building on the reverse design — the idea of a building being depicted on a coin is a little strange to me. I never liked the Lincoln Memorial penny, for example.
The final design is supposed to be “emblematic of President Lincoln’s preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country.” Few of these designs achieve that, in particular few of the attractive designs, so I’m hoping for the sake of my own aesthetic taste that that requirement is largely ignored, and LP-17 wins the day. It can’t be too much longer before a decision is made.
So now when they choose the ugliest conceivable design, which they will, you’ll at least know what could have been.