The Lincoln Cent is perhaps the most popular and well recognized of all US coins. The obverse displays the bust of Abraham Lincoln. This design has been used since 1909, making it the longest used design for any circulating US coin. The coin was also the first to feature the likeness of a former president.
During its long history, Lincoln Cents were minted at the Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco mints. The mint mark is located below the date on the obverse of the coin. From 1909-1959, the reverse design of the coin featured a pair of wheat ears, and are often referred to as Lincoln Wheat Cents or Wheat Pennies. In 1959, the reverse design was changed to the Lincoln Memorial. These coins are referred to as Lincoln Memorial Cents.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth new reverse designs were created for the 2009 Lincoln Cents. The four designs featured the four different stages of his life including his birth in Kentucky, his formative years spent in Indiana, his professional life in Illinois, and his presidency in Washington, D.C.
These four designs were followed by a permanent new design adopted for 2010 onwards. Featuring the Union Shield, the design represents Lincoln's Preservation of the Union. Amidst these changes in the reverse design, the same portrait of Lincoln by Victor D. Brenner continued to be used.
Throughout their history, Lincoln Cents have gone through a number of changes and have included a number of important coins for collectors.
The 1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln CentThe obverse and original reverse of the coin were designed by Victor D. Brenner. When the coins were first issued in 1909, his initials "V.D.B." were quite prominently featured on the reverse. This caused public outcry by people who believed that the initials were too prominent and detracted from the beauty of the coin.
The initials were removed early during the first year of production, creating a rare version of the coin. The cents from 1909 that include the initials are referred to as "V.D.B." The 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent had a mintage of only 484,000 and is the key date for the series. If not for the removal of the initials, the series would have a different key date!