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Revamping our couch change

Dig out those pennies. Even if you can’t spend them, they might just be worth hanging on to.

I read yesterday that the U.S. Mint is giving the penny a facelift. Four new images on the coin’s flipside will commemorate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth.

The first of these images is the Kentucky log cabin said to be Lincoln’s birthplace (I have seen the cabin in person; it’s housed in a stone structure in central Kentucky).

The images to follow are of Lincoln sitting on a log with an open book, a young lawyer Lincoln standing before the Illinois State Capitol, and finally the U.S. Capitol dome under construction during the Civil War (as ordered by Lincoln to show a nation united).

The first image will debut Feb. 12, 2009, and the additional images will be released every three months.

There’s more. In 2010, the Lincoln Memorial image we are used to seeing on the tails side of the penny will be replaced permanently by another tribute to the 16th president that has yet to be announced.

The last redesign of the cent was in 1959, when the Lincoln Memorial replaced the two sheaves of wheat dubbed the “wheat penny.” Fifty years earlier, in 1909, Lincoln’s profile replaced that of an eagle to commemorate the Centennial of his birth.

Today’s mostly-zinc penny has come a long way from the first penny in 1793, which was pure copper and displayed a woman with flowing hair as a symbol of liberty.

Unfortunately, the penny’s value has dwindled faster than its copper content. It was reported recently that it would cost more than a cent to manufacture a penny. And yet, we are spending money on five redesigns.

Can somebody explain this logic to me?

I don’t know about you, but I think Honest Abe might feel more offended than honored.

– Scott Mims is the news editor for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Friday. He can be reached at scott.mims@clantonadvertiser.com.