PCGS 2419 - Lincoln Cent, Wheat Reverse (1909-1958), RD

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1909 VDB 1C, RD

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Authorization

Roosevelt, who considered Lincoln the savior of the Union and the greatest Republican President and who also considered himself Lincoln’s political heir, ordered the new Lincoln penny to be based on Brenner's work and that it go just in time to commemorate Lincoln’s 100th birthday in 1909.

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 production of this coin was authorized by Public Law on February 21, 1857, to replace the Bronze Indian Cent used from 1864 through 1909.

From 1909 to 1942, the Lincoln Cent was composed of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. In 1943, due to a shortage of metals during the war, the cent was made from a zinc plated, steel planchet. In (1944-1945) the compostion changed once again to what was referred to as Shell-Case Bronze Planchets.

[1]August 2nd, 1909 the new cent was released to the public. This was the first ever U.S. coin that would be released that would contain a real person on the picture. As such, there was much controversy as some people felt that putting a real person on a coin was too similar to the European monarchies. Others felt that a man of Lincoln's importance belonged on a higher denomination coin than a penny. Mint employees were upset that a coin was designed by a mint outsider.

The entire supply of cents was gone in 7 days. This initial release contained 27,996,194 1909 VDB and the now scare and key date Lincoln, the 1909 S VDB, that had a mintage of only 404,000. The supply ran dry because only after two days after the official release, on August 4, 1909, production was stopped by order of the Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeigh.

Although MacVeigh had earlier approved the design, he told reporters that he did not know that Brenner's initials were to appear on the coin and that he was only reacting to widespread public criticism. Many people objected to the size of the letters that Brenner had placed just above the rim on the reverse of the coin. Brenner was angry and threatened to sue as the initials and even full names of other designers had appeared on many previous coins, but there is no indication that he ever followed through on this threat. A suggestion was made to put just the initial “B” on the coin but this was met with fierce resistance by Charles Barber who did not want Brenner's work confused with his own. MacVeigh also claimed that it was cheaper and faster to remove the initials from the hub and leave the die alone. Thus, Brenner's initials were taken off the coin. They did not reappear on the penny until 1918 after the death of Charles Barber. However, the initials were put on Lincoln's shoulder in letters so small that it can barely be seen without magnification. Although there is no hard proof, many believe that Antisemitism played a large role in the outcry over Brenner's initials on the Lincoln cent.

Obverse

The Designer/Engraver was, Victor D. Brenner, a talented artist of the time and did a very wonderful thing for numismatics: Design the LINCOLN CENT. Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard, whom Brenner counted among his friends, gave the sculptor an unpublished portrait of Lincoln which served Brenner as a basis for the study of Lincoln's features. However, he examined every portrait to which he was able to obtain access, in order to draw those conclusions that, together with conversations with those who had known Lincoln himself, enabled him to evolve the portrait that appears on the penny. Brenner's initials, in 1909, were found at the bottom of the reverse, but was later removed and was not restored until 1918, a few months after the death of Charles Barber, it was put at the truncation of the bust. Lincoln's hair in real life was straight and wavy, but Brenner made it curled and twisted to give the assasinated President Lincoln a more "appealing" look. Barber modified the portrait of Lincoln in 1916: Lincolns coat and cheeks are less wrinkled; the vigor of the design is attenuated. The obverse has the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" at the very top, the date to the right, "LIBERTY" to the left, and Lincoln's bust in the center. .

Victor David Brenner

Reverse

Designed by Victor D. Brenner. The reverse has the words "E PLURIBUS UNUM" at the very top, a wheat stalk to the right, another wheat stalk to the left, and the words "ONE CENT" and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in the center.

Mintage

Lincoln Cent (1909-1958) Mintage

Specification

  • Weight: ( 1909-1942, 1944-1958): 3.11 grams/0.10 ounce
  • Diameter: 19.05 mm/0.75 inch
  • Thickness: 1.55 mm
  • Composition: 95% copper 5% tin-zinc (1909-1942) - (1944-1958) 95% copper 5% zinc
  • Rim: Plain
  • Mint mark: Obverse under date

Catalog reference

Commonly Reference

Wheat Penny, Wheat Ears Cent, Penny, Cent

Prices realized from past auction lots. (PCGS Holder)

PCGS Price Guide [1]

Source

  • Breen, Walter H., Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U. S. and Colonial Coins, New York: Doubleday, 1987.
  • [1]Keith Scott
  • Yeoman, R. S., and Kenneth Bressett (ed.), A Guide Book of United States Coins, 59th Ed., Atlanta, GA: Whitman Publishing, 2005
  • U.S. Mint

Gallery