Thursday, January 26, 2012

Penny for Your Thoughts

The U.S. penny has been around for hundreds of years, and just like architecture, the penny is a designed object. There have been many different looks to the penny that have each emphasized an important fact that the designer wanted to show case. For example:

The wheat penny was designed over 70 years ago and features 2 wheat stalks embracing the text in the center. The wheat, when combined with the curved text of "E.  Pluribus Unum", makes a complete circle, which we have learned in class provides importance and emphasis on what is in the center. This design wants to emphasize the worth and value of the penny first, and the place of origin second.

The Lincoln Memorial penny highlights Lincoln's life and service. It has a detailed image of his memorial, in which Lincoln is in the center. This memorial was dedicated to him for his work with freeing the slaves and changing our nation, and this is exactly what the designer of this penny wanted to do. This penny is the only one to feature an image of Lincoln on both sides of the penny. In fact, Lincoln was the only person to be depicted on both sides of a coin until 1999 when George Washington was on the New Jersey state quarter.

 This penny from Lincoln's Bicentennial collection pinpoints Lincoln's birth and early childhood in Kentucky by featuring a log cabin and his birth year, 1808. It was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Jim Licaretz and shows his humble beginning.

 This penny, also part of the Lincoln Bicentennial collection, was designed and sculpted by Charles Vickers. It shows Lincoln as a young boy, taking a break to study while chopping wood. This depicts Lincoln as being a model citizen and shows what he stood for.
This penny shows Lincoln as an adult in Springfield Illinois, standing next to the state capitol, which is where Lincoln started his professional life.  It was designed by Joel Iskowitz, who made Lincoln's scale so much larger than the one of the capitol to show Lincoln's grand impact in compared with the government.

This penny was the last of the Lincoln Bicentennial collection and features the White House, showing Lincoln's influence over the entire nation.

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