When the Lincoln one-cent coin made its initial appearance in 1909, it marked a radical departure from the accepted styling of United States coins, introducing as it did for the first time a portrait coin in the regular series. A strong feeling had prevailed against using portraits on our coins, but public sentiment stemming from the 100th anniversary celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth proved stronger than the long-standing prejudice.
The only person invited to participate in the formulation of the new design was Victor David Brenner. President Theodore Roosevelt was so impressed with the talents of this outstanding sculptor that Brenner was singled out by the President for the commission. The likeness of President Lincoln on the obverse of the coin is an adaptation of a plaque Brenner executed several years earlier which had come to the attention of President Roosevelt.
In addition to the prescribed elements on our coins -- LIBERTY and the date -- the motto In God We Trust appeared for the first time on a coin of this denomination. Of interest also is the fact that the Congress passed the Act of March 3, 1865, authorizing the use of this motto on coins during Lincoln's tenure in office.
Lincoln Cents 1909-1958:
Designer: Victor David Brenner
Composition: 95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc
Diameter: 19.00 mm
Mints: Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco
Two different design variations
Type 1, Wheat Reverse (1909-1958)
Type 2, Steel (1943)