A University of Wisconsin Oshkosh art professor’s work will be among the most widely circulated art in the country, beginning Feb. 12, 2009.
Richard Masters’ design of Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin was selected as one of four new designs for the reverse of the circulating U.S. penny. The four coins each represent a different era of Lincoln’s life. Masters’ design features a log cabin that represents his humble beginnings in Kentucky with the inscriptions, “United States of America,” “E Pluribus Unum,” “One Cent” and “1809.”
“The Lincoln penny will also be 100 years old having been first minted back in 1909 making our penny the longest coin design type in U.S. history,” said Masters. “The last and only time the penny’s design was changed was in 1959 from the old ‘wheat ears’ reverse design to the ‘Lincoln Memorial’ design we have today.”
Masters’ also designed the reverse side of the Nebraska quarter in 2005.
The new pennies will be released into circulation on Lincoln’s 200th birthday, Feb. 12, 2009.
The obverse (heads side) of the one-cent coins will continue to bear Victor David Brenner’s likeness of President Lincoln, introduced in 1909, and the motto “In God We Trust.” At the end of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Coin Program, the reverse of the penny will feature a design emblematic of President Lincoln’s preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country.
The winning designs were unveiled Monday in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
“This is a momentous occasion in the history of our nation’s coinage because these designs represent the first change in the Lincoln cent in half a century,” said United States Mint Director Ed Moy. “These coins are a tribute to one of our greatest presidents whose legacy has had a lasting impact on our country. He believed all men were created equal, and his life was a model for accomplishing the American dream through honesty, integrity, loyalty and a lifetime of education.”