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In 1909, the U.S. Mint released a new Cent design to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, America's 16th president. The new design, by Victor David Brenner, featured a bust of Lincoln facing right; the reverse was a simple design of a pair of wheat ears. Brenner, following the tradition of some previous engravers, placed his initials at the base of the reverse. Although the letters were tiny, their placement was deemed too visible, an uproar ensued, and the offending initials were removed from subsequent issues. In 1918, Brenner's initials were restored to the truncation of Lincoln's bust. In 1943, Cents were made of steel to conserve copper for the war effort. In 1944, the resumption of copper (more accurately, bronze) cents resumed. A few copper blanks were stamped with 1943 dies and a few steel blanks were struck with 1944 dies, creating instant rarities that remain extremely rare and desirable today. In 1959, on the 50th anniversary of the Lincoln Cent, a new reverse was unveiled featuring the Lincoln Memorial. Today, the lowly, Lincoln Cent remains as popular and as useful as ever. It is the longest-running design on any American coin.
The following list includes all of the major design/metal changes for the Lincoln Cent: