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Who is the Man Sitting on the Back of the Penny?

The Lincoln penny has been around since 1909 and undoubtedly in your life you have handled thousands if not tens of thousands of them.  But did you know there is someone on the back of the penny?  If not, I’m not surprised because it takes a good microscope to see it.  The second person on the penny was added in 1959, the Fiftieth year anniversary of the Lincoln cent.  It is a little odd that they would put something on the penny, that requires a microscope to see.  But not really.  The figure you see in the picture is actually Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial and was place there in his honor on the anniversay of the penny.


A super-high-tech machine showcased during a recent tour of UI Labs revealed a little-known fact about the back of a U.S. penny: an extremely tiny President Abraham Lincoln sitting in his chair in the middle of the Lincoln Memorial.

Once you know he’s there, you can kind of spot it with the naked eye. But it takes a good microscope to really see it — and UI Labs’ Alicona InfiniteFocus Optical Measurement Machine does the trick.

The Lincoln penny has been around since 1909, the 100-year anniversary of the 16th president’s birth. The design with the tiny Lincoln sitting in the memorial was adapted in 1959. That design was in play until 2009, when the coin received four new looks, including one of Lincoln reporting to work at the Illinois Legislature.

U.S. Mint officials told the Washington Post it’s important to revisit coin designs every few decades for “security and aesthetic purposes.”


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