Does The Lincoln Statue look like a smudge of dirt ?
The US mint held a competition among employee and engravers at the mint where the winning design would be selected. Out of the 23 designs submitted, Gasparro's design was chosen to be the winner. The reverse of the coin originally depicted the words "Lincoln Memorial" and contained 13 stars along the rim of the coin. The Mint requested that both of these features be removed. Although regardless of complaints by the Mint, the coin retained the image of the Lincoln statue seated within the Lincoln Memorial Monument, as well as his initials "FG" in the bottom-right corner of the building. His bosses complained that these two features looked like smudges of dirt, but Gasparro refused to remove them. In the end, folks in the numismatic field loved the new coin and the fact that it was also the only US coin to display the likeness of the same person (Lincoln) on each side of the coin. This new coin would become known as the Lincoln Memorial Cent, which would replace the reverse of the Lincoln Wheat Cent. The coin was released on February 12, 1959, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday, and also by coincidence, the 50th anniversary of Frank Gasparro's own birth year.
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