To design the new Lincoln penny in 1909, President Teddy Roosevelt enlisted the artist Victor David Brenner, whose earlier Lincoln plaque he had admired. The design featured a Lincoln bust on one side and wheat shafts on the other. (In 1959, on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday, the grains were swapped out for a rendering of the Lincoln memorial.) The Lincoln cent marked the beginning of 100 continuous years of pennies featuring the words In God We Trust.
The new coin had another feature, however, that soon drew controversy: the artist's initials, V.D.B., were stamped prominently on the tail side. Public outcry prompted officials to pull the coins from circulation and strip the initials. The mere 484,000 monogrammed coins produced at the San Francisco mint the famous 1909-S VDB have been coveted collectors' items ever since. Brenner's initials were reinstated in 1918 and are now just barely visible under Lincoln's right shoulder.