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    Lucky Penny day at Isle Casino Black Hawk

    They’re in-between your couch cushions, strewn across your car, and always weighing down your wallet. While pennies might not always seem like the most practical way to pay for things, they’re as American as apple pie and have an interesting, storied history. In honor of Lucky Penny Day on May 23, here are the top ten interesting facts on these one-cent coins.

    1. The Anglo-Saxons made the first English penny around 790 A.D. Made out of silver at this time, the penny evolved through a series of cultures to become the copper piece we recognize today.

    2. While we think of the penny as quintessentially American, the official term in the States is the “one-cent coin.” The word “penny” actually finds roots in Europe with the German “pfennig,” the Swedish “penning” and the British “pence.”

    3. Pennies might not seem so economically important today, but in 1793, they were the first coins to be minted in the United States. Even now, the U.S. Mint produces 1,040 pennies every second—that’s nearly 30 million pennies a day!

    4. Take a good look at any penny to know where it was produced. On the heads-side of the coin, you will see a “D” for Denver, an “S” for San Francisco, or no letter, which means it was made in Philadelphia.

    5. You might also notice a signature on certain pennies. “VDB” is a very small set of initials just below Lincoln’s sleeve and is for Victor David Brenner, the Lithuanian designer of the Lincoln portrait. On shield pennies, “LB” appears below the banner and stands for Lyndall Bass, the designer of this model. The engraver, Joseph F. Menna has initials “JFM” on this penny as well. The Lincoln Memorial penny features the initials “FG” of its engraver, Frank Gasparro.

    6. “A penny saved is a penny earned,” wrote Benjamin Franklin who also designed the first one-cent coin in 1787. This design features a sun above a sundial and declares “Mind Your Business” on the heads side. The reverse features the motto “We Are One,” as well as a chain with 13 links, one for each colony.

    7. The Lincoln penny is the first U.S. coin to feature the image of an actual person. Teddy Roosevelt introduced it in 1909 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

    8. In 1943, copper supplies became very important for weapons-making in World War II, so the U.S. Mint relinquished its copper and cast a zinc-coated steel penny with the nickname “Steely.”

    9. The penny was once made of 95 percent copper and 5 percent tin and zinc, but due to inflation, this amount of copper became too valuable to stand in place of one American cent, and it is now produced with only 2.5 percent copper, with and the rest made up of zinc.

    10. Today, the price of production per penny is 1.8 cents, and therefore many groups believe the penny should be phased out of production. Several other countries have already said goodbye to their pennies, but the coin seems to have a permanent place in the hearts of Americans.

    To celebrate Lucky Penny Day and to take advantage of all those one-cent pieces laying around and weighing you down, take a trip to the Isle Casino Black Hawk for the last Make You Happy Mystery Multiplier on May 23rd. This promotion features 1,100 of the latest slots and you can use denominations on these as low as (you guessed it) one cent!

    The Make You Happy Mystery Multiplier takes place every Monday in May and culminates on Lucky Penny Day (May 23) from 8 a.m. to midnight. Make Monday the happiest day of the week all month with this fantastic promotion! Receive up to 20 times the points on all slots and get a free buffet after your first 100 points earned! The Point Multiplier excludes video poker and can’t be combined with any other multiplier.


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