National One Cent Day

Find a penny, pick it up for good luck, right? Well, there would be no such thing without currency, so why not celebrate the history of coins on April 1st? Sure, this is also a day for pranks (it could be a chance to combine the two!), but we look to the penny with affection on this day. The first version of the one-cent coin came to be in 1793.

History of National One Cent Day

The current version of the one-cent coin, bearing President Abraham Lincoln’s face, has been in circulation since 1909, but for hundreds of years, Americans have been exchanging the small penny for goods. The original was designed by Benjamin Franklin and read “Mind Your Business” on one side. This coin was larger than how we know them today and, therefore, was made smaller in 1857.

This made it easier to handle, and the change was understandable since the US Mint only came to be in 1792. In the past, the one-cent coin has been marked with a flying eagle, then came the Indian Head cent. Today, the one-cent coin is made from a combination of copper and zinc and has featured different reverse designs related to Lincoln since its inception.

Although the coin now is all but useless in terms of how it can be used, stacking a few pennies together may purchase something small. The day of April 1st is a chance to take stock of how currency and coins have changed over time. There was a time during the Second World War when the copper coins were recalled to help with the war effort; this was when they were made from zinc-coated steel. So, you can see that the one-cent coin has had a lively history of its own.

How To Observe National One Cent Day

We would urge anyone interested in the day to delve a little deeper and find out more about the history. Otherwise, try spending your pennies and make tiny purchases, probably on some small confectionery! Why not make a collage out of pennies, style a pattern, and glue them to some card, or a similar craft? Penny slots are still a thing, so why not hit the local casino and see if you can turn National One Cent Day into one to remember.

There is always the hashtag #NationalOneCentDay – this is a good way to find out how others are observing the day. Maybe share a picture of a one-cent coin from the year you were born or an article about the origins of the coin. If you have kids, why not do coin tracings or science experiments using coins (there are plenty to find online)?

It is difficult to say when National One Cent Day became a recognized day of the year, but we are happy to see it getting a bit of recognition. So, the next time you are out and about, and perhaps you find a penny, don’t forget to pick it up, and remember that April 1st is National One Cent Day.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 1 Monday
Next year (2025)
April 1 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
April 1 Saturday
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