From 1859 to 1909, the United States One Cent coin depicted an Indian Head on the obverse, and two wheatheads with a shield and the words "ONE CENT" on the reverse. This design was known as the Indian Head Penny.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's birth, it was decided a new design would be created for the penny. Impressed with his work, President Theodore Roosevelt chose Victor David Brenner to design the new penny. The design of the 1909 penny was adapted from a plaque which Brenner had created several years before, and had subsequently impressed President Roosevelt.

The 1909 penny was also the first United States cent to display the "In God We Trust" motto, alongside the traditional components being the year, and the word "LIBERTY". The coin's obverse shows President Lincoln facing right with the word "LIBERTY" on the left, the year on the right, and "In God We Trust" curved along the top. The reverse is very similar to the Indian Head reverse, showing two wheatheads in memorial style, the words "ONE CENT", "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA", and the national motto of "E PLURIBUS UNUM".

Also found on the reverse of the coin at the very bottom are the designer's initials of VDB. However, 1909 was the only year in which these initials were displayed in this manner. After the coin was issued on August 2, 1909, many people protested the initials, stating they detracted from the coin's design. The initials were then removed from the coin entirely, and were finally restored in 1918 in a different place on the coin.

To this day, you can find Mr. Brenner's initials on the obverse of the coin, bottom-left, just below President Lincoln's shoulder.

United States Coinage

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