Why Is Lincoln Facing the Other Way on the Penny?

Abraham Lincoln is facing right on the penny based on the decision of Victor David Brenner, who designed the plaque on which the portrait is based. All other United States coins, the Thomas Jefferson nickel, Franklin D. Roosevelt dime, George Washington quarter, John F. Kennedy half dollar and Dwight D. Eisenhower dollar, have portraits of the presidents facing left. Other dollar coins in circulation, the Susan B. Anthony silver dollar and the Sacajawea golden dollar, have the subjects looking off to the right..

Victor David Brenner was a sculptor and portraitist. His plaque of Lincoln impressed Theodore Roosevelt, who suggested to the Secretary of the Treasury that it be chosen as the design for the Lincoln penny. The original reverse of the penny had the words “One Cent” and “United States of America” surrounded by two stalks of wheat, with “E Pluribus Unum” around the top. This design was changed in 1959 to remove the wheat and add the Lincoln Memorial as the center, with the words surrounding it. In 2010, the Lincoln Memorial was removed and a Union shield was added.