In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt became
acquainted with the artistic talent of Victor D. Brenner, as he posed
for a Panama Canal medal project.
When word got out that a new Lincoln cent was
under development, a
controversy erupted. Since the beginning of United States coinage, no
real person, living or dead, had ever been depicted on the nation’s
On August 2, 1909, the new "Abraham Lincoln penny" was introduced. The controversy over the depiction of a real person on a U.S. coin was soon forgotten. Americans couldn't get enough of the new coin. The official journal of the American Numismatic Association, The Numismatist, wrote during the early days of the Lincoln Cent thusly:
No new coin type has ever commanded the interest of the public... as has the Lincoln cent. Heralded long in advance, it was issued to an expectant populace on August 2nd.... As soon as it became known that a new coin had been issued, places of distribution were besieged... where long lines formed leading to sub-treasuries, and continued each day until August 5th, when the sign was displayed "No More Lincoln Pennies."
Brenner’s obverse design was adapted from his
Lincoln plague, featuring a profile of the 16th president facing right.
The word LIBERTY was inscribed to Lincoln’s left, and the date to his
right. For the first time ever, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appeared on a
one cent coin. The reverse featured two wheat ear stalks on opposite
sides of the coin, encircling the inscriptions ONE CENT and UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA. At the very top was the national motto E PLURIBUS
UNUM, meaning “Out of Many, One”.
Even though the flap over using a real person’s
image on a U.S. coin was quickly washed away by a tide of Lincoln Cent
popularity, the public was less enthused about the artist’s initials,
V.D.B., appearing conspicuously at the bottom of the reverse. Such a
display was galling in the view of many, so mint officials quickly
acted to remove the V.D.B. The initials were restored in 1918 on the
obverse side to the left under Lincoln’s shoulder, in much smaller
While This Coin Was Minted...
The Lincoln Cent was released to the public on August 2, 1909.
above photo shows a large crowd in line outside a US Treasury building
in New York City, waiting to receive the first examples of the new
coin. This was a scene replicated in many locations throughout the
nation. The Lincoln Cent was the first regularly circulating U.S. coin
to feature the image of a real person. Up to that point in time, the
only "person" depicted was various allegorical representations of Lady
World War II brought about a change in Lincoln
Cent composition in
1943. At the time the United States entered the fray, the cent
contained 95 percent copper. To better sustain the war effort, copper
was diverted away from the Mint, meaning a substitute metal had to be
found, and fast. After some testing, zinc-coated steel was selected.
Continued competition to acquire these key dates makes them the Lincoln Cents most likely to enjoy strong value appreciation in the future. Key date Lincoln Cents are offered for sale below. Click the link to take you the eBay auction coins. The left hand side of each "Sales Box" is value trend data over a very long period of time for a coin of that date in Good-4 condition. The percent annual increase is computed for comparative purposes. The coin pictured for sale in the right hand side is not necessarily the same condition coin as that represented in the value trend analysis on left hand side.
|Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA|