Stacks Bowers Galleries
By Matthew A. McIntosh / 03.24.2016:
The first penny – which sold at auction for $1.2 million, minted in 1792, shows Lady Liberty on the front with circular text reading:
LIBERTY PARENT OF SCIENCE & INDUSTRY
HERESY! Who committed such a tragic transgression!
Well, the sinners in question happened to be President George Washington and his Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson. The two exchanged letters discussing the design in August 1792 prior to presenting it to Congress for approval.
As Craig Biddle writes at The Objective Standard, “This is yet another indication of how secular and progress-oriented the Founders were—and of the fact that the United States is not and never was a Christian nation.”
It would be a full 72 years before “In God We Trust” would appear on any U.S. coins, after the Founders had died away. It wasn’t until the 20th century that efforts ramped among a new breed of Fundamentalists to rewrite the history of this nation, which they were almost successful in doing.
The end of the 20th century and and now 16 years into the 21st has seen a retaliation to that effort in a desire to restore honest historicity to its rightful place – both the good and bad.
Long live Lady Liberty!