Top 10 Facts About the History of Wheat Pennies

Introduced in 1909

Lincoln wheat pennies were minted from 1909 to 1958, initially to honor the 100th anniversary of President Lincoln's birth.

Designed by Victor David Brenner

The Lincoln cent featured a wheat stalk design on the reverse, symbolizing national prosperity, and was designed by Lithuanian-born sculptor Victor David Brenner.

Initial Public Response

Upon release in 1909, the new Lincoln cent was highly admired, but public outcry over Brenner's prominent initials (VDB) on the reverse led to their removal within weeks.

Restoration of VDB

The VDB initials were restored in a smaller format under Lincoln's shoulder in 1918, after being absent since 1909.

Rarity of Early Mints

Early wheat pennies from the Denver and San Francisco mints in the 1910s, like the 1914-D, are among the rarest due to lower production numbers.

Scarce Decades

The 1920s and 1930s saw several scarce wheat pennies, with the 1922 no-D Lincoln cent being the rarest due to damaged dies.

1943 Steel Pennies

In 1943, steel pennies were minted to conserve copper for World War II efforts, making them unique in appearance and lighter in weight.

Error Coins

A few bronze 1943 cents and 1944 steel cents were mistakenly produced, adding to the series' uniqueness.

1955 Doubled Die

Between 20,000 and 25,000 1955 cents featured doubling of the date and lettering, making them highly valuable.

End of the Series

The wheat penny series ended in 1958, replaced by the Lincoln Memorial cent in 1959 to commemorate Lincoln's 150th birth anniversary.