1909 VDB Lincoln Cent

At first glance, readers may think this is the 1909-S VDB Lincoln cent, but it is not. This is the 1909 VDB, coming from the Philadelphia Mint.

The initials “V.D.B.” represent the designer of the Lincoln cent, Victor D. Brenner, and are easily observable at the bottom of the reverse. Critics complained the relatively large initials were too brazen for federal coinage, prompting the Mint to remove them from the design.(1)

There is nothing especially rare about the 1909 VDB, but in terms of percentage gains over a long period of time, it just kept chugging along at a sufficient pace to earn a spot on the list of Key Date recommendations.

Although the 1909 VDB is readily available, collectors have understood since its release the historical significance of the coin. It was the very first regular issue coin depicting a real person from history, in this case the 16th president of the United States, in observance of the 100th anniversary of his birth.(2)

As is true for key date Lincoln cents in general, prices have tumbled a bit since 2010 for all grades charted below. The bright side is that the 1909 VDB is within reach of small budget collectors, including flaming red examples.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 3.1 million
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 1.0
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
Click HERE to check for availability on eBay**

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1909 VDB Lincoln cent pics Surprising value trends of the 1909 VDB Lincoln cent (this is not the 1909-S VDB)
Trendline Avg = 12.32 CLASSIC RARITY
Last updated 1-10-24
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1. Heritage Auctions.  1909 1C VDB MS68 Red.  Aug 2022 Auction.

2. Garrett, Jeff and Guth, Ron.  100 Greatest U.S. Coins, 5th ed.  Pelham, AL: Whitman Publishing, 2019.

**Many very fine coin dealers sell on eBay. At any point in time, there may be over one million search results for United States coins. This includes quite a few of the recommendations on our Key Date Coin List.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a rare coin, eBay is certainly worth a look. For your convenience, the links from this site to eBay are coded to bring up only coins certified by PCGS and NGC.

As is always, always the case, never buy a valuable coin from a seller whose trustworthiness cannot be verified. Learn more about this at our chapter Best Places to Buy Coins, which also has a section on doing business on eBay.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.