The bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth will be honored next year on four new pennies depicting the life of the nation's sixteenth president.
The U.S. Mint unveiled the designs at the Lincoln Memorial on Monday. The new coins will be released beginning on Feb. 12, 2009, and show Lincoln's Kentucky birthplace, his Indiana education, his career as an Illinois statesman and his work in Washington, D.C.
"These coins are a tribute to one of our greatest presidents, whose legacy has had a lasting impact on our country," U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy said. "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."
The new pennies will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent and be released in three-month intervals throughout the year.
The first design, "Birth and Early Childhood in Kentucky" by Richard Masters, honors the president's humble beginnings with a likeness of the log cabin in Kentucky where Lincoln was born.
In the second, "Formative Years in Indiana" by Charles Vickers, the young Lincoln is seen studying while working as a rail splitter. The third, "Professional Life in Illinois" by Joel Iskowitz, shows Lincoln in front of the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, and the final design, "Presidency in D.C." depicts the construction of the nation's Capitol building.
The U.S. Mint will not change Victor D. Brenner's 1909 likeness of Lincoln on the front of the penny.
The last time the penny underwent a significant change was in 1959, when the U.S. Mint replaced Brenner's Wheat Cent with Frank Gasparro's depiction of the Lincoln Memorial for the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's birth.
A commemorative Lincoln silver dollar will also be released in 2009, officials said.