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MonApr 1

National One Cent Day – April 1, 2024

Those who forget history are doomed to failure, and keeping this in mind, at National Today, we always commemorate National One Cent Day on April 1 by remembering the iconic historical moments that have shaped the U.S. Time teaches important lessons in the shape of events that have been archived in the pages of history. It is crucial to always remember history in the present for a better future — after all, history plays an important role in molding the identity of a place. In the case of National One Cent Day, which honors a major point in the establishment of the American currency, the story begins in the times of Benjamin Franklin all the way to Abraham Lincoln. Did you know, the one-cent coin used to be called the Flowing Hair dollar because of the image of the Statue of Liberty on it?

History of National One Cent Day

Back in 1787, the U.S. issued the first one-cent coin, designed by Benjamin Franklin. On one side, the coin read “Mind Your Business”, and on the other side, “We Are One”. Unlike today’s one-cent coins, Franklin’s design was made entirely of copper and was also bigger. It went on to be called the Fugio cent or the Franklin cent. These coins were handcrafted and minted by workers without the use of machines. 

But in 1792, when the United States Minting was established, a proposal for a new coin design was submitted. By 1793, on April 1, the new one-cent coin was introduced into the market. These new coins were a symbol of the Statue of Liberty. One side depicted an image of a lady with flowing hair, and the other side showed 13 chains representing the 13 colonies. As years went by, the coin’s size was reduced to make it easier to handle. The coin went on to see several other design changes, from an eagle wreath and the head of an American Indian to President Lincoln’s face. The metals it was made from also changed from being 100% copper to being 97.5% zinc and only 2.5% copper. 

So, there you have it. While a one-cent coin can make you feel rich or poor depending on the context, one thing is for sure, and that is people have been celebrating the day to remember the coin’s rich history and its importance in the U.S.A.’s development.

National One Cent Day timeline

Late 1780s
Slavery Claims Over One Cent’s Design

Franklin’s Liberty design is criticized for representing slavery due to its 13 chains design.

Indian Head Put on the One Cent

After a design change, the head of an American Indian is put on the one-cent coin and it instantly becomes popular amongst the masses, staying in circulation for decades to come.

Lincoln's Memorial on One Cent

President Lincoln is honored by his face being imprinted on the one-cent coin starting from 1959 to 2008.

Union Shield on the One Cent

After President Lincoln’s face, the one-cent coin boasts the emblem of the Union Shield.

National One Cent Day FAQs

Why is a one-cent coin referred to as a penny? 

The official name of the one-cent coin is ‘one-cent,’ but due to the British denomination system that was still in circulation during the old times, the word ‘penny’ stuck. ‘Penny’ is still used today, but in Britain, the plural form of a penny is ‘pence’ and, in the U.S., it’s ‘pennies.’ 


Why was the copper ratio reduced in one-cent coins? 

During WWII, copper was being rationed and saved for ammunition shells. This led to copper’s ratio being reduced significantly in copper coins, from a whopping 95% or 100% to a measly 2.5%. The metal’s ratio remains the same today. 


How can I become rich using one-cent coins? 

It’s actually much easier than it seems! During WWII, in 1943, a substantial amount of one-cent coins were accidentally struck from bronze. Today, these bronze one-cent coins are worth $100,000 per coin. So, keep an eye on all your small change to see if you have struck gold!

How to Observe National One Cent Day

  1. Learn about the one cent and more

    You can take a trip down memory lane and explore the different historical aspects related to the one-cent coin — how it came to be, who minted it, what designs were rejected, etc. And while you are on the topic, explore another currency’s history too and see if there are any similarities in the journeys of the notes and the coins.

  2. Appreciate the crafters of old

    Cutting, shaving, and molding metal is a difficult process in itself. It takes the utmost dedication, time, energy, and skills to even begin to make something like a coin without the help of advanced machinery and such. These people deserve to be celebrated and appreciated since it is because of their hard work that we have a reason to celebrate National One Cent Day in the first place.

  3. Collect those one cents

    It is very tempting to spend that one cent for the sake of spending it because, after all, many people do not consider it to have much value. However, you must always remember that with each one cent collected and saved you’re one step closer to getting that pricey product or treating yourself to a much-needed spa day.

5 Facts About Copper That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Copper’s natural beauty and color

    Apart from gold, copper is the only metal with a unique color, while all the other metals have silver or grey hues.

  2. Copper essential for health

    The metal is an important mineral necessary for cell formation and function, and it can be found in grains, potatoes, and leafy greens.

  3. Excess copper can lead to trouble

    Having excess copper in your diet can lead to a number of health issues like jaundice and blue-colored diarrhea!

  4. Copper is environmentally friendly

    Because of its recyclable properties, about 80% of the copper that has ever been mined is still in use today.

  5. Copper turns hair green

    While chlorine gets all the bad rep, it is copper in swimming pools that is the real culprit for turning hair green.

Why National One Cent Day is Important

  1. It’s a celebration of history

    There’s no doubt that history holds important lessons for us to learn and implement in our day-to-day lives. Then there’s also the type of history that allows us to appreciate what we have today. The one-cent coin has gone through a number of changes, all worth remembering and celebrating.

  2. It’s a celebration of perseverance

    Who would have thought that a small coin can become the symbol of determination and perseverance shown by our ancestors? The one-cent coin has stories of freedom and cultural diversity attached to it — all worth knowing!

  3. It’s a celebration of change

    Change — and constant change at that — is a law of nature. Nothing ever stays in one stagnant form, and something seemingly insignificant like a coin has also gone through extensive changes over time, be it in its design or its metals. Constant evolution is unavoidable and should be celebrated.

National One Cent Day dates

2024April 1Monday
2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
2027April 1Thursday
2028April 1Saturday
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