The Lincoln Wheat Ears Reverse Cent (also referred to as the Wheat Penny) was produced by the U.S. Mint from 1909-1958. Designed by Victor D. Brenner, the obverse of the coin displays the bust of Abraham Lincoln surrounded by the words “In God We Trust.” The reverse of the coin displays the words “One Cent” surrounded by two stylized wheat stalks.
During a portion of the first year of mintage, Victor D. Brenner’s initials were included on the reverse of the coin below the wheat stalks. Due to public controversy regarding the prominence of his initials, it was decided to remove the initials - but not before 484,000 were produced from the San Francisco Mint (1909 S-VBD) and 28 million from the Philadelphia Mint (1909 P-VBD), making these circulated coins very rare and valuable. Brenners initials were eventually restored to the coin, but only to the obverse in 1918 where it appears below Lincoln’s shoulder.
Composition from 1909-1942: Bronze (95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc) Composition 1943: 100% Steel with a thin outside layer of Zinc Composition from 1944-1945: “Shell Casing” Bronze (95% Copper, 5% Zinc) Composition from 1946-1958: Bronze (95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc)