I’ve seen the wheat head design used on the Lincoln cent through 1958 described as a “wreath design.” It doesn’t look like much of a wreath to me.
A logical observation, although coin design is not always logical. U.S. coins featured a wreath as part of the design from their inception in 1792 almost continuously until 1921 when the last true wreath disappeared from the silver dollar. The wheat head design, since the heads are curved and resemble the old wreaths, is considered a symbolic wreath.
Why is there so much difference in the appearance of the 1968 and 1969 cent obverses?
The master die was changed in 1969, reverting back to Brenner’s original 1909 design. Over the years the old master dies had gradually spread until many of the details were lost and the lettering was pushed against the rim. Such changes in coins are fairly frequent, although not generally as noticeable as the 1969 cent revision.
Was there a formal competition for the Memorial reverse design change on the cent in 1959?
The competition was an internal affair with a total of 23 designs submitted by staff engravers at the Philadelphia Mint. No outside designs were solicited or considered. The proposed designs were sent to the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Committee, and Frank Gasparro’s design was chosen by Treasury Secretary Anderson and Mint Director W.H. Brett.
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Where did the suggestion come from to put Lincoln on the cent in 1909?
There is a letter preserved in the Library of Congress that answers this question. The initial proposal, or at least the first one to come to public attention, was the letter written by Jerome Sivia of Springfield, Ill., to President Teddy Roosevelt. In it he suggested that the switch would be an appropriate memorial of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.
Who do I write to urge a “P” mintmark on the cent? Who would I write to with some suggestions for our coinage?
I’d suggest the following:
Director, U.S. Mint, Washington, DC 20220
Secretary of the Treasury, Department of the Treasury, 15th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20220.
Also, send a copy to the Chairman, House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology.
Send us a copy of your letters and we’ll consider them for publication as well.
Email inquiries only. Send to AnswerMan2@aol.com. Because of space limitations, we are unable to publish all questions.