In 2005, the
U.S. Congress passed the legislation known as Public Law 109-145.
While this law is more famous for the creations of both the
Presidential Dollar coin series and the 2009 Bicentennial
Lincoln Cents, it also included direction for the Secretary of the
Treasurey to create cents with a new design to begin in 2010.
Section 303 of this law allowed for the creation of this new
Lincoln cent, one with the familiar obverse, featuring the Victor David
Brenner Lincoln portrait on the obverse, and a newly designed reverse.
This new design would replace the Lincoln Memorial, which was
featured from 1959-2008 on the back of all cents. This new
design was required to "bear an image emblematic of President Lincoln's
preservation of the United States of America as a single and united
The finalized design of the 2010
Lincoln Cent was chosen in June 2009.
The design was a creation of Lyndall Bass, and includes 13
stripes on the Union Shield with the Inscription "United States of
America" across the top of the design (similar to the designs of the Memorial Cent and
the Bicentennial Cent),
"E. Pluribus Unum" on the top of the shield, and the denomination of
"One Cent" across the shield. The 13 stripes honor the Union
States from the beginning of the U.S. Civil War, and the cap of the
shield signifies their solidarity. The Shield design has been
in use in the U.S. since the 1780's, and was also commonly seen during
the Civil War. It was noted by the U.S. Mint at the unveiling
of the new design that the Union Shield appears many times
within the U.S. Capitol building. These depictions were
produced by the painter Constantino Brumidi, an artist that was active
during Lincoln's presidency.
The Union Shield Cent
was first minted in 2010 and is planned to continue for 49
years. The Shield
Cent is the current circulating cent in United States.
Cents have a composition of .975 zinc and .025 copper,
with a diameter of 19 mm, a mass of 2.5 g, and a smooth edge.
Shield Cent is produced at the Philadelphia, Denver, and
San Francisco Mints.