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Obverse of 1909-S V.D.B. One Cent     Reverse of 1909-S V.D.B. One Cent


1909-S V.D.B. ONE CENT

PCGS Nos: 2426, 2427, 2428

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 484,000
Proofs: 
0

Designer: Victor David Brenner

Diameter: 19 millimeters

Metal content:
Copper - 95%
Tin and Zinc - 5%

Weight: 48 grains (3.11 grams)

Edge: Plain

Mintmark: "S" (for San Francisco) below the date

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles

Notes:
Victor David Brenner’s design for the Lincoln Cent broke new ground by placing the image of an actual person on a coin made for circulation.  In another break with tradition, Brenner placed his initials near the bottom of the back of the coin.  Despite their small size, the letters V.D.B. were obvious enough to created an uproar with the public and Mint officials, who immediately demanded their removal.  This was done later in 1909, resulting in the creation of four varieties: 1909 (with and without V.D.B.) and 1909-S (with and without V.D.B.).  The 1909-S V.D.B. is the rarest of the four varieties.  

In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt commissioned the famous American sculptor and artist, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, to prepare designs for a new Small Cent.  Initially, Saint-Gaudens’ design for the obverse featured a Flying Eagle motif similar to James Barton Longacre's designs on the Small Cents of 1856-1858.  However, this design was scrapped in favor of a head of Victory in profile wearing an Indian headdress.  Saint-Gaudens and Roosevelt liked this design so much that they used it on the 1907 $10 instead of on the Cent.  Saint-Gaudens died of cancer before making any more progress on the Cent design so it was not until 1909 that Victor David Brenner created the famous bust of Abraham Lincoln with which we are all so familiar today.

In fact, the 1909-S V.D.B. Penny has long been considered one of the key dates in the series, filling the dreams of collectors young and old.  While the mintage of 484,000 may seem high compared to many other American rarities, one must understand that there are millions of people who collect Lincoln Head Cents.  There are simply not enough 1909-S VDB Pennies to satisfy all of the collector demand.

The finest Brown examples graded by PCGS are 2 MS-66BN's.  The finest Red-Brown examples graded by PCGS are 16 MS-66RB's.  The finest Red examples graded by PCGS are 9 MS-67RD's.

Significant examples:
ICG MS-67 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 1422

Recent appearances:
ICG MS-66, Red.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4110, illustrated, sold for $3,335.00

PCGS MS-66 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 8576, illustrated, sold for $4,830.00   From the Mike Hughes Collection

PCGS MS-66 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1353, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "VDB…One of only 94 graded this high, with just 8 graded higher, which makes this one of the very best in existence. Blazing red on the obverse and reverse, with only a hint of mellowing. Examination of the surfaces finds only the minutest contact marks, and we wouldn't be surprised if this coin was resubmitted for a higher grade, which it could get. Only 484,000 struck, many were saved, but precious few can approach the quality offered here today.", sold for $5,750.00

NGC MS-66 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 301, illustrated, sold for $5,290.00

ICG MS-66 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 302, not illustrated, sold for $3,680.00

NGC MS-66, Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4111, illustrated, not sold

PCGS MS-66 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7660, illustrated, sold for $2,760.00

PCGS MS-65, Red.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4112, illustrated, sold for $2,760.00

PCGS MS-65, Red.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4113, illustrated, sold for $4,600.00

PCGS MS-65 Red.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 338, sold for $2,530.00

PCGS MS-65 Red.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1244, sold for $1,725.00

PCGS MS-65 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7661, illustrated, sold for $2,875.00  From the estate of Harry West

PCGS MS-65 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 303, illustrated, sold for $2,530.00

ICG MS-65 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 304, illustrated, sold for $2,645.00

NGC MS-65 Red.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 59, illustrated, sold for $2,415.00

PCGS MS-65 Red-Brown.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 261, illustrated, unsold

PCGS MS-65 Red and Brown.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 5926, not plated, sold for $1,552.50

NGC MS-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1245, sold for $920.00

PCGS MS-64 Red.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 262, illustrated, sold for $2,760.00

NGC MS-64 Red.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1246, sold for $1,380.00

PCGS MS-64 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6680, not illustrated, sold for $1,380.00

PCGS MS-64 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6679, not illustrated, sold for $1,207.50

PCGS MS-64 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6678, not illustrated, sold for $1,495.00

NGC MS-64 Red.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 60, illustrated, sold for $1,265.00

PCGS MS-64 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1354, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "VDB…The obverse of this key date coin is nearly a full gem, while the reverse has some streaky toning ranging from yellow to red, as often seen on these. Sharply impressed, and a nice coin to represent the key date Lincoln issue. Only 484,000 were struck, but many were saved as the first of their type. A trace of an old fingerprint on the obverse. On the original models for this coin, Victor David Brenner had spelled out his name. Mint officials rejected this, so Brenner placed just his initials, VDB on the lower reverse. The White House quickly approved this, and forced the Mint to start production immediately. Naturally, the boldness of the initials worried officials, and soon the press was against the audacious signature. To attempt a compromise, the initial "B" was suggested for Lincoln's shoulder, but Mint Engraver Barber (who normally used his initial "B" to sign coins), vehemently rejected this. Soon Brenner's initials were dropped altogether, until Barber's death in late 1917. Starting in 1918, a small VDB was restored on the lower part of Lincoln's shoulder, where they remain to this day. Once the public realized that coins with the VDB would be replaced due to the outcry of the bold initials on the lower reverse, many were hoarded. Hence, these have always been popular with collectors, and they have always found feverish demand.", sold for $1,782.00

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1355, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "VDB…The surfaces have nice luster and are mostly red fading to brown. Sharply struck and with clean surfaces, even on Lincoln's beard. With a hint of toning around the edge. Always popular.", sold for $1,380.00

PCGS MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4114, not illustrated, sold for $977.50

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex-  Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale", October 5-7, 2000, Lot 6671, not illustrated, sold for $833.75

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 339, sold for $1,092.50

NGC MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1247, sold at $862.50

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5147, not illustrated, sold for $1,150.00

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5148, not illustrated, sold for $1,207.50

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5149, not illustrated, sold for $1,150.00

PCGS MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7657, not illustrated, sold for $1,150.00

PCGS MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7658, not illustrated, sold for $1,265.00

ICG MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7659, not illustrated, sold for $920.00

NGC MS-64 Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6676, not  illustrated, sold for $862.50

PCGS MS-64 Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1248, sold for $747.50

NGC MS-64 Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1249, sold for $747.50

MS-63 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5439, not plated, sold for $948.75

MS-63 Red.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 340, sold for $1,897.50

PCGS graded MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1356, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "VDB…Toned at the top and bottom of the obverse, a bit streaky on the reverse. Always popular with date collectors.", sold for $920.00

NGC MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6677, not illustrated, sold for $747.50

MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1250, sold for $529.00

MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1251, sold for $805.00

NGC MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7656, not illustrated, sold for $862.50

Choice Brilliant Uncirculated.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 176, plated, sold for $920.00

ANACS MS-61 Red and Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "The California Sale", October 2-3, 2000, Lot 1423

MS-60 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5146, not illustrated, sold for $644.00

MS-60 Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1252, sold for $718.75

MS-60 Brown, Cleaned.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5482, not illustrated, sold for $747.50 

AU-58.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1253, sold for $632.50

PCGS AU-58.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7655, not illustrated, sold for $690.00

Net AU-58, sharpness of MS-63 Red and Brown, Cleaned.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part III", May 21, 2001, Lot 1361, not illustrated, sold for $690.00

AU-55.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4115, not illustrated, sold for $776.25

AU-50 Cleaned.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5145, "ANACS Certificate of Authenticity #TS5225", not illustrated, sold for $540.50

AU-50.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1254, sold for $632.50

AU-50.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1255, sold for $632.50

AU-50, Cleaned.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 306, not illustrated, sold for $575.00

XF-45.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5144, not illustrated, sold for $465.00

ANACS EF-45.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7654, not illustrated, sold for $575.00

EF-45.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 305, not illustrated, sold for $529.00

PCGS EF-40.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 263, illustrated, sold for $805.00

XF-40.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5143, not illustrated, sold for $471.50

PCGS VF-30.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6675, not illustrated, sold for $483.00

VF-30.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1357, not illustrated, where it was described as follows: "VDB…Only 484,000 were produced, and this one is nice and original. Lovely color and surfaces for a circulated grade.", sold for $517.00

ANACS VF-30.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries' Robert W. Schwan Collection Sale, October 26-27, 2000, Lot 341, sold for $517.50

VF-30.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5481, not illustrated, sold for $460.00 

VF-25.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 307, not illustrated, sold for $483.00

ANACS VF-20.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6674, not illustrated, sold for $437.00

VF-20.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5480, not illustrated, not sold 

VF.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 201, not plated, sold for $517.50

Choice Fine.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 177, not plated, sold for $437.00

Fine-12.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5141, not illustrated, sold for $379.50

Fine-12.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5478, not illustrated, not sold

Fine-12 Corroded.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5140, not illustrated, sold for $368.00

Fine-12, Cleaned.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5479, not illustrated, sold for $402.00

Net Fine-12, Corroded.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 308, not illustrated, sold for $437.00

ICG VG-8.  Ex-  Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale", October 5-7, 2000, Lot 8973, not illustrated, sold for $356.50

ICG VG-8.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7653, not illustrated, sold for $402.50

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, October 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

 
 

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