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LINCOLN CENTS, WHEAT EAR REVERSE (1909-1958)

 1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent Obverse       1955 Double Die Lincoln Cent Reverse

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Notes:
The Lincoln Cent debuted in 1909, replacing the fifty year old Indian Head Cent design.  No other American coin design comes close to the 93 year life span of the Lincoln Cent.  In just a few years from now, the design will celebrate its 100th anniversary.  However, as enduring as the Lincoln Cent might be, it came about only as the result of an interesting set of circumstances.

In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the famous American sculptor and artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to prepare designs for a new Small Cent.  Initially, Saint-Gaudens' design for the front of the coin featured a flying eagle motif similar to James Barton Longacre's designs on the Small Cents of 1856-1858.  However, this design was scrapped in favor of a head of Victory in profile wearing an Indian headdress.  Saint-Gaudens and Roosevelt liked this design so much that they used it on the 1907 $10 instead of on the Cent.  Saint-Gaudens died of cancer before making any more progress on the Cent design and it was not until 1909 that Victor David Brenner made the famous bust of Lincoln with which we are all so familiar today.  Lincoln was chosen as the subject for the new Cent since 1909 was the centennial of his birth.  Until the appearance of Brenner's design, no person (living or dead) had ever appeared on a coin made for general circulation (however, this precedent had already been established on a few commemorative coins).

The earliest versions of the Lincoln Cent featured Brenner's initials (V.D.B.) near the bottom of the back of the coin.  Apparently, such a prominent display was considered offensive, and the initials were removed later in 1909.  In 1918, the initials re-appeared, this time hidden on the truncation of Lincoln's bust.

Sources and/or recommended reading:
Coin World, January 3, 2000, p. 20
 

COPPER PLANCHETS (1909-1942)

Date

Mintage for
Circulation

Mintage of
Proofs

Notes

1909 V.D.B.

27,995,000

1,194

  

1909-S V.D.B.

484,000

0

Key date.

1909

72,700,000

2,618

 

1909-S

1,825,000

0

 

1910

146,798,813

2,405

 

1910-S

6,045,000

0

 

1911

101,176,054

2,411

 

1911-D

12,672,000

0

 

1911-S

4,026,000

0

 

1912

68,150,915

2,145

 

1912-D

10,411,000

0

 

1912-S

4,431,000

0

 

1913

76,529,504

2,848

 

1913-D

15,804,000

0

 

1913-S

6,101,000

0

 

1914

75,237,067

1,365

 

1914-D

1,193,000

0

Key date.

1914-S

4,137,000

0

 

1915

29,090,970

1,150

 

1915-D

22,050,000

0

 

1915-S

4,833,000

0

 

1916

131,832,627

1,050

 

1916-D

35,956,000

0

 

1916-S

22,510,000

0

 

1917

196,429,785

0

No Proofs were reported as having been minted, but definite Proofs are known - they are quite rare.

1917-D

55,120,000

0

 

1917-S

32,620,000

0

 

1918

288,104,634

0

 

1918-D

47,830,000

0

 

1918-S

34,680,000

0

 

1919

392,021,000

0

 

1919-D

57,154,000

0

 

1919-S

139,760,000

0

 

1920

310,165,000

0

 

1920-D

49,280,000

0

 

1920-S

46,220,000

0

 

1921

39,157,000

0

 

1921-S

15,274,000

0

 

1922-D

7,160,000

0

 

1922 "Plain"

0

This rare variety was caused when the mintmark became filled with crud on a worn die.  The "Strong" reverse variety is the most desirable and valuable.

1923

74,723,000

0

 

1923-S

8,700,000

0

 

1924

75,178,000

0

 

1924-D

2,520,000

0

 

1924-S

11,696,000

0

 

1925

139,949,000

0

 

1925-D

22,580,000

0

 

1925-S

26,380,000

0

 

1926

157,088,000

0

 

1926-D

28,020,000

0

 

1926-S

4,550,000

0

 

1927

144,440,000

0

 

1927-D

27,170,000

0

 

1927-S

14,276,000

0

 

1928

134,116,000

0

 

1928-D

31,170,000

0

 

1928-S

17,266,000

0

 

1929

185,262,000

0

 

1929-D

41,730,000

0

 

1929-S

50,148,000

0

 

1930

157,415,000

0

 

1930-D

40,100,000

0

 

1930-S

24,286,000

0

 

1931

19,396,000

0

 

1931-D

4,480,000

0

 

1931-S

866,000

0

Semi-key date.

1932

9,062,000

0

 

1932-D

10,500,000

0

 

1933

14,360,000

0

 

1933-D

6,200,000

0

 

1934

219,080,000

0

 

1934-D

28,446,000

0

 

1935

245,388,000

0

 

1935-D

47,000,000

0

 

1935-S

38,702,000

0

 

1936

309,632,000

5,569

 

1936-D

40,620,000

0

 

1936-S

29,130,000

0

 

1937

309,170,000

9,320

 

1937-D

50,430,000

0

 

1937-S

34,500,000

0

 

1938

156,682,000

14,734

 

1938-D

20,010,000

0

 

1938-S

15,180,000

0

 

1939

316,466,000

13,520

 

1939-D

15,160,000

0

 

1939-S

52,070,000

0

 

1940

586,810,000

15,872

 

1940-D

81,390,000

0

 

1940-S

112,940,000

0

 

1941

887,018,000

21,100

 

1941-D

128,700,000

0

 

1941-S

92,360,000

0

 

1942

657,796,000

32,600

 

1942-D

206,698,000

0

 

1942-S

85,590,000

0

 

ZINC COATED STEEL PLANCHETS (1943 ONLY)

1943-S Lincoln Cent Obverse        1943-S Lincoln Cent Reverse

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions 

1943

684,628,670

0

Production of Proofs was suspended from 1943 to 1949 because of World War II and its aftermath.  Rare errors on bronze planchets are known - beware of counterfeits (bronze will not be attracted to a magnet).

1943-D

217,660,000

0

 

1943-S

191,550,000

0

 

SHELL-CASE BRONZE PLANCHETS (1944-1945)

1944

1,435,000,000

0

 

1944-D

430,578,000

0

Look for the scarce D over S variety

1944-S

282,760,000

0

 

1945

1,040,515,000

0

 

1945-D

266,268,000

0

 

1945-S

181,770,000

0

 

COPPER PLANCHETS RESUMED (1946-1958)

1946

991,655,000

0

 

1946-D

315,690,000

0

 

1946-S

198,100,000

0

 

1947

190,555,000

0

 

1947-D

194,750,000

0

 

1947-S

99,000,000

0

 

1948

317,570,000

0

 

1948-D

172,637,500

0

 

1948-S

81,735,000

0

 

1949

217,775,000

0

 

1949-D

153,132,500

0

 

1949-S

64,290,000

0

 

1950

272,635,000

51,386

Proof production was resumed in this year.

1950-D

334,950,000

0

 

1950-S

118,505,000

0

 

1951

284,576,000

57,500

 

1951-D

625,355,000

0

 

1951-S

136,010,000

0

 

1952

186,775,000

81,980

 

1952-D

746,130,000

0

 

1952-S

137,800,004

0

 

1953

256,755,000

128,800

 

1953-D

700,515,000

0

 

1953-S

181,835,000

0

 

1954

71,640,050

233,300

 

1954-D

251,552,500

0

 

1954-S

96,190,000

0

 

1955

330,580,000

378,200

Look for the rare Doubled Obverse variety

1955-D

563,257,500

0

 

1955-S

44,610,000

0

 

1956

420,745,000

669,384

 

1956-D

1,098,201,100

0

 

1957

282,540,000

1,247,952

 

1957-D

1,051,342,000

0

 

1958

252,525,000

875,652

 

1958-D

800,953,300

0

Last year of the Wheat Ear Reverse type

1959-D 0 0 Unique - suspected counterfeit