The U.S. Lincoln Cent is sometimes called the Wheat Cent Penny. It was first designed and entered circulation in 1909. It has endured with the same side, the Lincoln head side, continuously since 1909 and this makes it the most enduring coin in the U.S. circulation.
The design on the reverse has changed once, in the 1950s. It went from the wheat ears design in 1959 to the Lincoln Memorial design, which is the current design.
The penny was designed by Victor David Brenner and it was done by the insistence of a stubborn different U.S. President. President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was a President that was known to have an eye for Art.
He was the person that believed that the coins in the U.S. circulation were not
very appealing. President Roosevelt was a friend of a famous art sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and when the sculptor passed away, he was actually working to design a coin at the direction of President Roosevelt.
After the death of Saint-Gaudens, Roosevelt continued to push for a new penny design, resulting in the Lincoln head penny. Up to that point it was considered an American “taboo” to put the likeness of a person on a coin, either living or dead.
The personnel at the U.S. Mint including the mint Chief Engraver of the time Charles Barber were resistant to working with an outsider such as the Lincoln head designer, but President Lincoln pushed and prodded and eventually the Lincoln Head penny came into existence.
Without his efforts it likely would not have happened.
After several years in production the public and general citizens were excited about the release, and in 1909 the penny was finally released. The U.S. Mint didn’t want to release any pennies with the new design until they had a stockpile to make sure they had enough, so when they had 25 million pennies produced they finally released it to overwhelming public acclaim.