The 2010 Lincoln Cent started appearing in circulation in some isolated areas in January 2010. The following month, the US Mint held the official launch ceremony for the coin, followed by a coin exchange. Since this time, hundreds of millions of the newly designed pennies have been produced for circulation.
The new reverse design features the Union Shield, which is intended to be emblematic of President Lincoln’s preservation of the United States as a single and united country. The shield includes thirteen vertical stripes representing the original thirteen states, joined by a single horizontal bar at the top representing the federal government.
In mid-January 2010, the first 2010 Lincoln Cents began appearing in circulation. At this time, distribution was concentrated in Puerto Rico where some banks had rolls available and some coins were given out as change in general commerce.
The official launch ceremony was held on February 11, 2010 at 10:30 AM, about a month after the first coins were already in the hands of collectors. The ceremony took place one day before the 201st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and was held in Springfield, Illinois at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (ALPM). Similar to the launch ceremonies held for the four different 2009 Lincoln Cents, attendees of the ceremony had the opportunity to exchange currency for rolls of the new cents.
The ceremony was attended by United States Mint Director Edmund Moy, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library (ALPLM) acting executive director Jan Grimes, and the ALPLM curator Dr. James Cornelius. Approximately 400 members of the public were also in attendance. The coin exchange had exactly one million pennies (or 20,000 rolls) available for exchange at face value.
In addition issuing the newly designed coins for circulation, the United States Mint will produce and offer certain collectible products incorporating the coins. This includes specially packaged 2010 Lincoln Cent Rolls and Proof 2010 Lincoln Cents included in annual sets.