The 1909 VDB penny is a rare and valuable coin produced in limited quantities. The VDB initials on the reverse side of the coin stand for Victor David Brenner, the designer of the Lincoln cent.
The value of a 1909 VDB penny depends on its condition and mint mark. Generally, a 1909 VDB penny is worth at least several dollars, even in poor condition.
However, if the penny is in better condition, it can be worth much more. An uncirculated 1909 VDB penny can be worth anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars. If the coin has a mint mark, such as an “S” for San Francisco, it can be worth even more.
It’s important to note that there were also some 1909 pennies produced without the VDB initials, which are also rare and valuable. Depending on their condition, these “plain” 1909 pennies can be worth several hundred dollars or more.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 1 Overview Of The 1909 S VDB Pennies
- 2 How Much is a 1909-S VDB Penny Worth Today?
- 3 History of the 1909 S VDB Penny
- 4 Factors that Affect the Value of a 1909 S VDB Penny
- 5 How to Determine the Value of a 1909 S VDB Penny
- 6 How to Differentiate a 1909-S Vdb Penny Counterfeit From a Genuine One
- 7 How to Care for and Preserve a 1909 S VDB Penny
- 8 Where to Sell or Trade a 1909 S VDB Penny
- 9 1909 S VDB Penny Value FAQs
- 10 Conclusion
Overview Of The 1909 S VDB Pennies
The 1909 S VDB penny is regarded as a significant date and a highly in-demand coin by collectors due to its limited mintage and cultural relevance. The San Francisco Mint and the Philadelphia Mint were responsible for minting the Lincoln cent. San Francisco’s penny variation with mint mark S was the rarest of the series since they only manufactured 484,000 VDB pennies compared to 27,995,000 at the Philadelphia Mint.
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How Much is a 1909-S VDB Penny Worth Today?
According to estimates, a 1909 S VDB Wheat Penny is worth $950.00 in standard condition, whereas a penny in immaculate condition would be for $4,150.00. A 1909-S VDB in MS 67 RD was acquired for $117,500 in 2014, breaking the previous record associated with this coin. Thereafter, a 1909-S VDB in MS 67 RD sold for $168,000 in 2022.
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History of the 1909 S VDB Penny
- Background on the United States Mint
1793 saw the production of the country’s first penny, made entirely of copper. However, because copper falls under soft metals, a 5% mixture of zinc and tin was used to stiffen the coin and increase its lifespan. This first cent paid homage to Manhattan’s statue by featuring a woman representing the Goddess of Liberty. All pennies minted from 1793 through 1908 portrayed Lady Liberty in some kind.
Since the United States was once a colony, British rulers were depicted on American coinage prior to then. However, George Washington, the first president of the United States, advocated that many of these colonial customs, such as printing images of kings and queens on money, should be abandoned after the Revolutionary War. Thus, until the turn of the 20th century, US coinage showed images of people representing freedom, liberty, and peace.
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- Description of the Design and Production of the 1909 S VDB Penny
The 26th US President, Theodore Roosevelt, requested in 1905 that the mint contract craftsmen rework and beautify American coins. One of the painters, Victor David Brenner, was responsible for redesigning the dime. In 1909, they adopted his concept.
In general, it is acceptable for coin creators to add their initials to the coin. However, Brenner engraved his complete surname on the coin’s front. Brenner decided to put VDB on the back instead after Frank Leach complained. On August 2, 1909, the coins were made available to the general public. However, the public criticized the initials as being excessively large and commercial.
- Historical Significance of the 1909 S VDB Penny
Due to widespread criticism, they minted only a small number of the 1909-S VDB pennies. The criticism was over Victor David Brenner’s initials, which could be seen on the coin. Shortly after this issue’s release, they removed the VDB inscription that created the problem from the bottom center of the coin’s reverse.
The 1909-S VDB penny, however, is unquestionably among the most demanded coins in existence. Moreover, many numismatic fans view it as the pinnacle of the hobby.
People aware of the issue gathered a sizable quantity of 1909-S VDB coins. As a result, the majority of the Brown and Red-Brown uncirculated grades have a large number of surviving coins in circulated condition. According to numismatic specialists, approximately 20,000 examples exist, making it a collectible that can be purchased for a fee.
Factors that Affect the Value of a 1909 S VDB Penny
- Condition of the Coin
The more a coin has been in circulation, the more it deteriorates. Furthermore, higher wear usually correlates to a lower value. Valuers rank the coins on a scale of one to seventy. A Poor 1 rating may imply extensive circulation and a hardly discernible design.
A coin with an MS 70 grade is superbly minted and completely uncirculated. The majority of the pieces are in the middle of the spectrum. Higher-grade coins sharing an era, mint, and variation tend to fetch a higher price tag.
- The rarity of the Coin
A coin’s worth is determined in part by its mintage number. Because each mint makes a different quantity of coins annually, certain years and mint markings are more valuable over others. In addition, different mint markings have unique cultural relevance, making some more valued than others.
In 1909, for instance, the Philadelphia Mint produced almost 20 million VDB pennies, while the San Francisco Mint produced only over 484,000. Because fewer “S” pennies were minted in 1909, they commanded a higher value than comparable Philadelphia counterparts.
- Demand for the Coin
A coin will cost more if more people are interested in it. Due to its rarity, the 1909-S VDB penny is one of the most sought-after coins among buyers and sellers. In addition, due to its historical importance in American history, it frequently costs more than other series of comparable rarity. The fundamental principle of economics is supply and demand, which applies to many aspects and ancient pennies.
How to Determine the Value of a 1909 S VDB Penny
- Researching the Coin’s Value
The rarity and age of a coin are two crucial factors contributing to an old penny’s value. Therefore, older coins are frequently more valuable. Fortunately, the method of dating pennies is straightforward. It even has the date written on it! You may also determine by the style and quality, which have altered over time.
- Comparing the Coin to Similar Coins
While rarity and age are crucial factors in determining worth, the condition could also have equal weight. Inspect the penny with a magnifier and take note of its state. These are a few items to consider when evaluating the quality of an antique penny, according to the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NSG), which focuses on collectible coin grading.
If you’re unclear of a coin’s actual state and color, consider having it graded, as some variants of these pennies can fetch tens of thousands of dollars. In 2014, for example, a well-maintained MS67 Red 1909-S VDB Penny was auctioned for $117,000.
Why is the 1909 S Penny Value High?
The San Francisco Mint produced the coin in 1909 but only struck 484,000 coins. The coin’s limited mintage and superb quality render it among the most sought-after Lincoln wheat cents. Based on its state, the 1909-S VDB penny’s worth ranges from several hundred to over $1,000. Seasoned collectors would frequently pay extra for high-grade copies of this ancient and uncommon coin.
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How to Differentiate a 1909-S Vdb Penny Counterfeit From a Genuine One
You can identify many forgeries by using parallel serifs on the letters instead of curved serifs. Furthermore, the VDB letters on the counterfeit coins are slightly slanted, although they are level on the genuine ones. While these are the primary visible variations, experienced collectors may discover additional subtle variations that can aid in identifying a fake 1909-S VDB coin.
However, the easiest way to prevent being duped with a fake is to buy 1909-S VDB pennies from reliable merchants.
Getting a Professional Appraisal
Qualified coin appraisers and merchants can provide your penny’s most recent and precise valuation. Experts base their rating on their professional assessment of the coin’s quality. They’ll also consider how much comparable coins have recently sold for.
How to Care for and Preserve a 1909 S VDB Penny
Proper Storage and Handling
Coins exposed to air are prone to tarnish and other serious damage. However, when it comes to storing them, you have various options. These are some examples:
- Styrene coin tubes are the most common option for the majority of coin collectors.
- You also select flexible, translucent carriers known as coin flips. Opt for Mylar or polyester flips and avoid PVC or vinyl.
- Collectors also store coins in separate Mylar-lined cardboard holders. They are often cheaper and more readily available than flips.
- Store your most valued and ancient coins in sturdy plastic carriers. Although they are more costly than ordinary coin holders, they provide better protection from abrasions and other harm.
Cleaning and Preservation Techniques
The only washing that a coin requires is the removal of surface grime. Professionals do this as follows:
- Clean the coin in lukewarm distilled water with a light liquid soap to flush away the grime. Use bottled water instead of tap water because chlorine might cause corrosion.
- Remove any residual soap with a cotton swab soaked in distilled water.
- After cleanup, pick a different cotton swab soaked in acetone to clean any remaining grease from the surface. Note that you should only use acetone in well-ventilated areas.
- Dry the pennies on a paper towel.
Tips for Preventing Damage to a 1909 S VDB penny
The following are additional tips that you can use on your 1909-S VDB pennies to prevent damage:
- Keep your coins cool and dry. Temperature and moisture fluctuations induce discoloration, which devalues coins. As a result, stop speaking closely over coins because droplets of saliva can cause spots on the coin. These imprints, like fingerprints, are hard to erase.
- Also, use only acid-free cardboard and polyvinyl chloride-free plastic holders (PVC). Acids and PVC can ruin the surface of a coin. PVC ultimately coats a coin in a layer of sticky green slime.
- Some pennies include an authentication certificate or sometimes an information leaflet. Always keep all the paperwork.
- For added security, consider using a safe-deposit box, preferably with a bank. If yours is a home collection, confirm your homeowners’ policy covers replacement expenses.
Where to Sell or Trade a 1909 S VDB Penny
- Coin Dealers and Collectors
Get quotes from coin dealers at your local coin shop. Get quotes from at least two coin dealers to ensure you receive the greatest deal. Check to see if the coin dealer is a member of a respectable organization such as the Professional Numismatists Guild, the American Numismatic Association, or the Professional Coin Grading Service. Check with the Better Business Bureau to establish if there are any complaints about the coin vendor.
- Online Marketplaces
If you are looking to sell old coins, consider selling online since it is one of the greatest ways to maximize the value of your coins. In addition, online coin selling allows you to access a larger audience, publicize your catalog on social networking sites, such as Facebook groups dedicated to the subject, and sell your pennies on sites with a pre-existing consumer base, such as eBay or Amazon.
- Auctions and coin shows
Auction houses sell your portfolio to the winning bidder, saving you the hassle of comparing individual offerings. Usually, auction companies, such as Heritage Auctions, frequently charge fees and commissions of roughly 20%. You could also attend a coin show to discover additional information and probably sell your coins. Coin shows are typical in big cities, attracting scores of coin collectors. They are an excellent way to interact with coin traders and discover more about your coin’s worth.
1909 S VDB Penny Value FAQs
- HoRare is the 190 VDB Penny?
The Philadelphia Mint made 27,995,000 VDB coins, while the San Francisco Mint only created 484,000, making this variant the rarest in the series.
- How many 1909-S VDB pennies are left?
According to the Professional Coin Grading Service, approximately 50,000 of the 484,000 1909-S VDB pennies still survive.
- Why is the 1909 S Penny Worth So Much?
Minting of the coin was at the San Francisco Mint in 1909, and only 484,000 were produced. The low mintage and the coin’s high quality make it one of the most desirable Lincoln wheat cents. The 1909-S VDB penny is worth several hundred dollars to over $1,000, depending on its condition.
- Uncirculated 1909-S VDB value in the Market today
Uncirculated 1909-S VDB cents have a minimum average worth of $1000 and higher. The color of your penny also influences its condition. For example, a red penny is the most valuable, while brown or green coins are less valuable. Note that while copper can be polished, doing so can destroy part of the coin’s design.
In 1909, the US Mint issued five Lincoln cent varieties, one of which is the rare 1909-S VDB penny with the designer’s initials. The value of your penny depends on several factors, including the coin’s mint mark, demand, quality, rarity, and state.