Leonard K. Jennings - Artist: "Mr. Lincoln"

Wilkins, who lived in California, purchased the Coin in Ohio on January 13, 1972. However, for tax purposes it was kept under wraps in a safe deposit box in Ohio for six months. Soon controversy was growing about the Coin’s authenticity since it had not been seen nor were any details of the oddity released to the public. Thus, the name “Lincoln Mystery Cent” was coined by members of the hobby and the Press.

In order to lessen the controversy, while waiting for the six months to expire, Wilkins commissioned a painting depicting the Coin’s oddity and revealing the mystery surrounding his purchase.

Wilkins contacted the Oakland Art Institute and hired one of their top rendering artists, Leonard K. Jennings. (A rendering artist, by definition, does drawings that look like actual photographs.) Jennings used photos of the Coin to create the delightful painting masterpiece dubbed “Mr. Lincoln.”

Five hundred prints were made of the painting. The first one hundred were signed and numbered by Jennings.

On July 15, 1972, the Coin made its official debut as the Lincoln Mystery Cent at the Fresno Coin & Stamp Show. That morning, Wilkins affixed a number of Lincoln postage stamps to the top border of ten of the signed, numbered prints and created what later became known as the “Endler Edition.”

Leonard K. Jennings’ talent and artistic ability will long remain a significant contribution to the legacy of the Lincoln Mystery Cent.