Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent

The Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent was produced by the US Mint from 1909-1958. They earned the nickname of "Wheat Ears" from the reverse design found on each strike which showed two ears of wheat flanking a central inscription.

Mintage: 25.8 Billion
U.S. Mint Online Site

Victor David Brenner was responsible for that design of wheat as well as the obverse design showing a portrait of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was originally chosen because the centennial of his birth was celebrated the same year the strike debuted in 1909.

The Wheat Ears Cent marked a few firsts for American coinage. Most notable, it was the first time the image of a real person had been used on a circulating coin of the United States. Previously, real persons had only been used on commemorative coins. Second, these coins marked the first time in which the motto "IN GOD WE TRUST" was inscribed on a cent coin of the United States.

Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent Compositions

Running for fifty years, from 1909 to 1958, the Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent was actually struck from four different alloys during its run. Those four are shown below:

  • 1909-1942 – Bronze (.950 copper, .050 tin and zinc – 3.11 grams total weight)
  • 1943 – Zinc-Coated Steel (100% steel plated with zinc – 2.70 grams total weight)
  • 1944-1946 – Salvaged Shell Casing Bronze (.950 copper, .050 zinc – 3.11 grams total weight)
  • 1946-1958 – Bronze (.950 copper, .050 tin and zinc – 3.11 grams total weight)

The switch of alloys used in the 1940′s was the result of metal shortages during World War II.

Issue Information

Throughout its fifty-year run, the Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent had seen several slight changes in addition to the use of different alloys. Most notable among these changes were the inclusion of Victor David Brenner’s large initials on the reverse of the coin when it first debuted. Supposedly, due to the public outcry over Brenner’s initials on the cent (even though other artist’s initials and even whole names had appeared on US coinage before), they were almost immediately removed and would not be added again to the cent until 1918.

Release Date

The US Mint issued the Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent from 1909-1958.

Issue Price

As a circulating coin, the Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent was distributed through normal commerce channels for its face value of $.01.

U.S. Mint Production Facility

During its fifty-year run, the Lincoln Wheat Cent was struck at three different US Mint facilities including Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco.

Designer & Sculptor / Engraver

Victor David Brenner designed both the obverse (heads side) and reverse (tails side) of the Lincoln Wheat Ears Cent. The obverse contains a portrait of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The reverse shows two ears of wheat flanking the inscriptions "ONE CENT" and "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA."

Coin Specifications

Face Value: $0.01
Finish: Circulation (Business Strike)
Composition:
  • 1909-1942 – Bronze (.950 copper, .050 tin and zinc)
  • 1943 – Zinc-Coated Steel (100% steel plated with zinc)
  • 1944-1946 – Salvaged Shell Casing Bronze (.950 copper, .050 zinc)
  • 1946-1958 – Bronze (.950 copper, .050 tin and zinc)
Standard Weight:

1909-1942 3.11 grams
1943 – 2.70 grams
1944-1958 3.11 grams

Standard Diameter: 0.750 in. or 19 mm
Edge: Plain

Wheat Cent Mintage

1909
72,702,618
1926
157,088,000
1942-S
85,590,000
1909 VDB
27,995,000
1926-D
28,020,000
1943
684,628,670
1909-S
1,825,000
1926-S
4,550,000
1943-D
217,660,000
1909-S VDB
484,000
1927
144,440,000
1943-S
191,550,000
1910
146,801,218
1927-D
27,170,000
1944
1,435,400,000
1910-S
6,045,000
1927-S
14,276,000
1944-D
430,578,000
1911
101,177,787
1928
134,116,000
1944-S
282,760,000
1911-D
12,672,000
1928-D
31,170,000
1945
1,040,515,000
1911-S
4,026,000
1928-S
17,266,000
1945-D
266,268,000
1912
68,153,060
1929
185,262,000
1945-S
181,770,000
1912-D
10,411,000
1929-D
41,730,000
1946
991,655,000
1912-S
4,431,000
1929-S
50,148,000
1946-D
315,690,000
1913
76,532,352
1930
157,415,000
1946-S
198,100,000
1913-D
15,804,000
1930-D
40,100,000
1947
190,555,000
1913-S
6,101,000
1930-S
24,286,000
1947-D
194,750,000
1914
75,238,432
1931
19,396,000
1947-S
99,000,000
1914-D
1,193,000
1931-D
4,480,000
1948
317,570,000
1914-S
4,137,000
1931-S
866,000
1948-D
172,637,500
1915
29,092,120
1932
9,062,000
1948-S
81,735,000
1915-D
22,050,000
1932-D
10,500,000
1949
217,775,000
1915-S
4,833,000
1933
14,360,000
1949-D
153,132,500
1916
131,833,677
1933-D
6,200,000
1949-S
64,290,000
1916-D
35,956,000
1934
219,080,000
1950
272,635,000
1916-S
22,510,000
1934-D
28,446,000
1950-D
334,950,000
1917
196,429,785
1935
245,388,000
1950-S
118,505,000
1917-D
55,120,000
1935-D
47,000,000
1951
284,576,000
1917-S
32,620,000
1935-S
38,702,000
1951-D
625,355,000
1918
288,104,634
1936
309,632,000
1951-S
136,010,000
1918-D
47,830,000
1936-D
40,620,000
1952
186,775,000
1918-S
34,680,000
1936-S
29,130,000
1952-D
746,130,000
1919
392,021,000
1937
309,170,000
1952-S
137,800,004
1919-D
57,154,000
1937-D
50,430,000
1953
256,755,000
1919-S
139,760,000
1937-S
34,500,000
1953-D
700,515,000
1920
310,165,000
1938
156,682,000
1953-S
181,835,000
1920-D
49,280,000
1938-D
20,010,000
1954
71,640,050
1920-S
46,220,000
1938-S
15,180,000
1954-D
251,552,500
1921
39,157,000
1939
316,466,000
1954-S
96,190,000
1921-S
15,274,000
1939-D
15,160,000
1955
330,958,200
1922-D
7,160,000
1939-S
52,070,000
1955-D
563,257,500
1923
74,723,000
1940
586,810,000
1955-S
44,610,000
1923-S
8,700,000
1940-D
81,390,000
1956
420,745,000
1924
75,178,000
1940-S
112,940,000
1956-D
1,098,201,100
1924-D
2,520,000
1941
887,018,000
1957
282,540,000
1924-S
11,696,000
1941-D
128,700,000
1957-D
1,051,342,000
1925
139,949,000
1941-S
92,360,000
1958
252,525,000
1925-D
22,580,000
1942
657,796,000
1958-D
800,953,300
1925-S
26,380,000
1942-D
206,698,000
   

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