Back in April of 1906, the Granite Lady stood alone, the only financial institution in the heart of a city still standing after the earthquake and fire. The important thing to collectors of the 1950s, however, was that year after year the cent production at San Francisco had been below that of Philadelphia and Denver. There were a couple exceptions like the 1914-D, but in general the lowest cent mintages were from the San Francisco facility. Of the major Lincoln cents, the 1909-S VDB, 1909-S and 1931-S were all from San Francisco along with a host of better dates from 1910 to 1915.
A mixed roll of cents from San Francisco cost more than one from any other facility. As it turned out, the 1955-S was a fitting representative of San Francisco. It was not only the lowest Lincoln cent mintage of 1955, but it was also the lowest since the late 1930s. There was a scramble, and the 1955-S was a lot tougher to find in circulation than its mintage suggested. These rolls are Uncirculated! The "S" Mint mark was used on San Francisco coins until 1955, when production there was suspended. 1955 S was the last "Wheat Penny" struck at San Francisco.
Overall Measurements: 0.05"W x 3"H.
The idea of striking an image of a past president on a circulating coin in the United States ignited a controversy in 1909. The act of honoring the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth by etching his likeness into the American cent directly violated a long-standing tradition in American coinage. Many believed that the custom established by George Washington of not using the images of presidents on circulating coins should be respected. Despite this resistance, the coin adopted the image of Lincoln and also the initials of the coin's designer, Victor D. Brenner. The relative prominence of the V.D.B. on the reverse of the coin led many to criticize the design. The initials were removed shortly thereafter but eventually returned in a more subtle form in 1918.
The coin debuted with a reverse featuring a pair of wheat ears encircling the words, "One Cent" and "United States of America". The term "Wheat Penny" derives from this reverse design. In 1959, to honor the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, a new reverse, designed by noted U.S. Mint Engraver, Frank Gasparro, replaced the original. The new reverse displayed a striking image of the Lincoln Memorial surrounded by the words, "One Cent" and "United States of America." This reverse design remained on the penny until 2009 when four new reverse images were introduced to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Cent. The four designs each honored a different stage of Lincoln's life and were released one at a time every three months over the course of the year.Coin Glossary:
Die: An engraved piece of metal used to stamp a design on a coin.
Die crack: A small, raised imperfection on a coin resulting from a crack in the stamping die.
Early release: The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) uses this designation for U.S. Bullion Coins during the first month of release from the U.S. Mint. To qualify for Early Release designation, NGC must receive the coins within 30 days of their release by the US Mint or properly documented as being received by an NGC approved entity within the same 30-day release period.
Encapsulated coin: A coin graded and authenticated by a professional coin service, then sealed in plastic.
Field: The typically flat area surrounding the relief and not used for legend or inscription.
Legal tender: Official money issued by the government.
Legend: The coin's primary lettering.
Lettered edge: An inscription added to the edge of a coin.
Luster: The quality of the surface brilliance on a Mint State or Uncirculated coin.
Mercury dime: Issued from 1916 to 1945, this U.S. dime featured a representation of Liberty in a winged hat that was commonly mistaken for the ancient god, Mercury.
Mint: A government controlled coin production facility.
Mint mark: A small letter stamped on a coin that indicates its mint origin, ex. "D" for Denver.
Mint Set: One coin from each of the available denominations in a particular year, produced by a single mint and made for circulation.
Mint State (Uncirculated): A regular production coin never used in trade and existing in its original condition.
Mintage: The number of coins produced.
NGC: Numismatic Guaranty Corporation.
Numismatics: The collection and study of monetary objects such as coins and paper bills.
Obverse: Heads, or a coin's front side.
Patina: Surface discoloration, typically green or brown, caused by oxidation over time.
PCGS: Professional Coin Grading Service.
Planchet: A blank metal piece used to produce a coin.
Proof: Expertly polished planchets and dies produce these coins which feature an extremely high quality strike, resulting in unmatched detail and brilliant surface finish.
Reeded edge: A coin edge finish featuring parallel vertical grooves all the way around.
Relief: The raised portion of a stamped design that sits above the coin's field.
Reverse: Tails, or coin's back side.
Rim: The raised ring around the perimeter of a coin designed to reduce wear on the relief.
Strike: The act of stamping a coin.
Truncation: The bottom edge of a portrait or bust.
Wheat penny: Lincoln cents issued from 1909 to 1958 bearing the wheat ear design on the reverse.