The New York Times may have disapproved when the government decided to put Lincoln on the penny (“The Time Machine,” August/September), but Carl Sandburg thought it was a stroke of genius. He wrote an editorial in the Milwaukee Daily News when the coin was issued in 1909: “The penny is strictly the coin of the common people. At Palm Beach, Newport, and Saratoga you will find nothing for sale for one cent. No ice cream cones at a penny a piece there.
” ‘Keep the change,’ says the rich man. ‘How many pennies do I get back?’ asks the poor man.
“Only the children of the poor know the joy of getting a penny for running around the corner to the grocery.
“The penny is the bargain counter coin. Only the common people walk out of their way to get something for nine cents reduced from ten cents. The penny is the coin used by those who are not sure of tomorrow, those who know that if they are going to have a dollar next week they must watch the pennies this week.
“Follow the travels of a penny and you find it stops at many cottages and few mansions.
“The common, homely face of Honest Abe looks good on the penny, the coin of the common folk from whom he came and to whom he belongs.”