Lincoln Penny

Issued on August 2, 1909, the Lincoln Penny was the first American coin to bear the likeness of a president on its face. President Theodore Roosevelt, who admired Lincoln and wished to improve the artistic merit of the country's coins, asked Victor David Brenner, a Jewish immigrant from Russia, to execute the work. Brenner suggested the appropriateness of the penny rather than a coin of larger denomination because the penny was the coin of Lincoln's "plain people."

The Lincoln penny created quite a sensation in 1909. Some saw in it a tendency toward the monarchial practice of putting the features of a head of state on coins. Many Southerners resented the choice of Lincoln.

Brenner's original design of the reverse with "two heads of wheat to show that in America there is plenty" was changed in 1959 in honor of the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's birth. It now shows an image of the Lincoln Memorial.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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3027 East South Street
PO Box 1816

Lincoln City, IN 47552


(812) 937-4541

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