1909 marked a radical departure from the accepted styling of U.S. coins.
In honor of the 100th birthday of President Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt commissioned sculptor Victor David Brenner to craft a portrait of Lincoln's head for the the obverse ("heads" side) of the new one cent piece.
This was considered radical because, at the time, no regular series U.S. coin had borne the portrait of an actual person. Public sentiment toward the former President swayed government officials to make the change.
The Lincoln cent also marks the first time that the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" appeared on a one cent piece. Interestingly, the legislation which permitted that phrase to appear on our coins was passed during President Lincoln's term in office.
The design chosen for the reverse (or "tails" side) of the coin was a simple pattern showing two wheatheads near the outside edge, with "ONE CENT", "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "E PLURIBUS UNUM" (One out of many) in between.
This design went unchanged until 1959, when the Lincoln Memorial reverse, which is still in production today, was adopted.
While the design went unchanged, the composition of the coins didn't. Before World War II, cents were made from 95% copper and 5% zinc. During WWII, it was decided that the copper was necessary for the war effort. In 1943, the one cent coin was made using a steel alloy coated with zinc to prevent rust. An alloy very similar to the original was restored in 1944.
More information about the history of the cent can be found at:
This cache is an Altoids tin with a logsheet, a small packet of silica gel and a number of wheatback cents. I'm hoping that I can spark some interest among the Geocachers in my 2nd favorite hobby, numismatics (or coin collecting). Feel free to take a cent without leaving one. If you have some wheatbacks that you'd like to trade, that's fine too! :) Please leave the silica gel - it's there to keep the coins as dry as possible.
Be sure to hide the tin as well as or better than it was hidden when you found it.