1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent

In 1909, the Lincoln Cent began production. Designed by Victor D. Brenner, the Lincoln Cent was the first United States circulating coin to bear the image of a real person. The public loved the coin, but was less enthused about the designer’s initials, V.D.B., appearing conspicuously at the bottom of the reverse.

The Mint quickly acted to remove the V.D.B, but not before a microscopic mintage of 484,000 was released. The initials were restored in 1918 on the front Lincoln’s shoulder, in much smaller letters, where they remain today.

Over the years, many collectors have gotten their start in the hobby with Lincoln Cents. One of the first things to learn is that the 1909-S VDB is the toughest date to find, and thus carries the biggest price tag.

Even a barely recognizable, authentic example sells for at least $500. Prices rise quickly after that. Small wonder, when you think about how many collectors are competing for such a small, finite supply.

The 1909-S VDB has been "King of the Mountain" among Lincoln Cents for as long as anyone alive today can remember, and quite valuable. This was not always the case. In Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, he documents that one dealer, John Zug, purchased 25,000 of them directly from the San Francisco Mint. A few years later, Zug was selling them for 1.75 cents each.

Hard to believe, but the best examples of the 1909-S VDB today can sell for as much as $50,000 to $100,000. It's highly probable some of these top sellers came from Zug's stash that were once sold for less than two cents!





1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent

Uncirculated 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA






1909-S VDB Value Trend History

1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent (G-4 Condition)

The blue line above depicts the percent change since the year 2000 in retail price of the 1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent in G-4 condtion. The red line illustrates the general direction of the rare US coin market during the same time period, as determined by the Rare Coin Values Index. Both start at a baseline rating of 100 in year 2000. Because of strong collector demand, the 1909-S VDB has consistently gained in value, but still rates below the composite score of the Rare Coin Values Index. The 1909-S VDB is only one of 87 rare coins tracked in the Index, which is updated monthly.


 

Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Sep 2017
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 3850
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 1000
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 4500
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 600
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 400
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 650
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1100
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 300
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 550
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 675
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 875
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 2750
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 375
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 350
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 12500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 10000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 725
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 130
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 6000
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 40000
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 327
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 375
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 75
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 20000
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 65000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1750
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1000
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 7500
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 8500
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 800
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 4000
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 275
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 1300
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 10250
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 18500
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 55000
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 23500
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 9500
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 2500
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 25000
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 5250
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 4000
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 10000
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4250
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3500
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 16000
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1300
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 7500
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 55750
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 4500
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 11250
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 2250
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 20750
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 5750
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 11000
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 45000


See the 87 Index Coins