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1909 to date Lincoln Wheat and Memorial Cents

When the Lincoln One Cent coin made its initial appearance in 1909, it marked a radical departure from the accepted styling of United States coins to a portrait coin.

President Theodore Roosevelt was so impressed with the talents of Victor David Brenner that he was only person invited to participate in the formulation of the new design.

The likeness of President Abraham Lincoln on the obverse of the coin is an altered copy of a plaque Brenner executed several years earlier which had come to the attention of President Roosevelt. In addition to the prescribed elements on our coins, LIBERTY and the date, the motto In God We Trust appeared for the first time on a coin of this denomination.

A study of three models for the coin's reverse resulted in the approval of a very simple design bearing two wheatheads. Between these, in the center of the coin, are the denomination and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, while curving around the upper border is the national motto, E Pluribus Unum, which means "One out of Many."

1909-S VDB Lincoln Head Cent 1909-S VDB Lincoln Head Cent

1909-S VDB Lincoln Head Cent

The original model bore Brenner's name. Before the coins were issued, however, the initials "VDB" were substituted because officials at the United States Mint felt the name was too prominent. After 1909 the initials were removed from the coin. In 1918 they were replaced just under the shoulder of Lincoln.

1909-Lincoln Head cent VDB location

At the time of World War II, the one-cent coin was composed of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. However copper was in such high demand that zinc-coated steel was chosen as a suitable replacement materials. Production commenced on February 27, 1943 at all three mints. A total of 1,093,838,670 were produced in 1943 only and are commonly referred to as steel pennies.

Lincoln wheat cent
1972-S Lincoln Memorial Cent

On February 12, 1959, a revised reverse design was introduced as part of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. The imposing marble Lincoln Memorial was choosen for the new reverse and remains that today. In 1982, the coin's composition changed to copper-plated zinc. These coins, which are still being produced and contain 97.6 percent zinc and 2.4 percent copper.

The 1909-S VDB is the key coin in the series with only 484,000 made and worth several hundred dollars in any condition. However the some of the 1922-D (Denver Mint) were released with weak or missing mintmarks and sell for thousands of dollars. The next key coin is the 1914-D that is worth several hundred dollars in any condition. The better the condition the more money collectors are willing to pay. Also look for 1955, 1995 double die cent, Lincoln cent Error Coins.

Lincoln wheat cent Linciln cent roll

Buy 1909 - 1958 Lincoln Cents by the bag or roll on eBay!!

The best place to purchase Lincoln One Cent coins is at eBay. Most of these coins are not very expensive even in the better grades, except the 1909-S VDB, 1914-D and 1922 pennies mention above. eBay has two categories for Lincoln cents by years, 1909-1939 and 1940-1958. Most of the Lincoln Memorial one cent coins 1959 - 2006 can be found in circulation today. Occasionally Lincoln wheat pennies show up in circulation. However I wouldn't spend a lot of time looking for them. eBay has listings for 1909-1958 Lincoln wheat pennies in bulk, bags, large lots and by the roll at very low prices. These bulk lots can be a lot of fun to look through.

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