My Coin’s Story: 1861 Indian Head Penny

December 15, 2014 By ekr

**Every day this week we will highlight submissions from the My Coin’s Story Young writing contest. Young Numismatists were asked to write a historical fiction story based on a favorite coin. The winners will be revealed on the blog on Friday, Dec. 19. 

By Elizabeth Rice

Hello. I am an 1861 Indian Head Penny, and believe it or not, I actually belonged to President Abraham Lincoln. Yes, I know you might not believe me, but it is true. I promise you. I jangled around in Honest Abe’s pants pockets for a couple of years, and sometimes he would rub me for good fortune, as I was his lucky penny.

One day as I tumbled in Abe’s pockets while he was walking the streets of Washington D.C. visiting with the people, he passed me on as a token of good will to a bright eyed, brown haired, young girl named Jane. As Jane carried me to her house, I was so happy to enjoy all the new scenery, including the beautiful cherry blossom trees with their emerging blooms of springtime. Upon arriving at Jane’s log cabin home, she shared me with her parents, her younger brother, and her older sister. I was chosen to be her family’s most valuable treasure. Her family put me in a tiny, wooden box to be kept on the mantle. From time to time, I would see daylight when Jane shared me with family and friends. Eventually, Jane passed me on to her daughter, and I was eventually given to her daughter’s grandchild, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, a young numismatist, took care of me in a whole new way. She loved taking me to her fourth grade class at school in Louisville, Kentucky for show and tell. I enjoyed being looked at by the students and the tender feeling of their fingers sliding along my smooth, brown, worn edges. I always heard, “Oohs” and “Aahs” as the kids passed me around. All the children made me feel so special by recognizing me as an important part of history. I was even brought by Elizabeth to old Abe’s birthplace in Hodgenville, Kentucky one day during a school field trip. Now, Elizabeth shares me with the world. As she travels from coin show to coin show, the bright display lights at each event warm my insides.

1861 indian head cent obverse
Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions
indian head cent reverse
Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions
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