By CoinWeek ….
On Sunday, April 18, bidding ends at GreatCollections.com for this S Over Horizontal S 1909-S Lincoln Cent, graded MS-67 RD by PCGS and approved by CAC as strong for the grade. It is also housed in a gold shield holder.
When it comes to the 1909-S penny, it is hard to escape the shadow of the V.D.B. type, on which the coin’s designer Victor David Brenner placed his initials at the bottom of the reverse. These initials were, of course, swiftly removed from the design by the United States Mint and not replaced for nine years. And while the 1909-S mintage of 1.825 million is low for the Lincoln cent series in general, only 484,000 V.D.B. pennies were struck in San Francisco. But because the V.D.B. was more frequently saved by collectors and the general public at the beginning of the Lincoln cent’s first year of issue, it is harder to find 1909-S cents without the V.D.B. in Mint State grades.
There is also the matter of the repunched mintmark. The Red Book acknowledges one variety of repunched mintmark produced at the San Francisco Mint in 1909; some third-party graders recognize two: the S Over Horizontal S and the “regular” S Over S. This particular coin is of the highly desirable S/Horizontal S variety.
PCGS reports only four examples of the S/Horizontal S certified in the top pop grade of MS-67 RD (Full Red). Incidentally, this specimen appears to be the current PCGS.com plate coin, which implies that even PCGS thinks it is the nicest example they have seen to date. Only one auction record is listed by PCGS, and that is for a cent that garnered $24,000 USD in March 2018.
At the time of writing, the S/Horizontal S 1909-S Lincoln cent currently on offer is a relative bargain, with a high bid of $5,750 after 32 bids.
To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past seven years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.
Background of the Lincoln Wheat Cent
The Lincoln cent (1909 to present) has been a favorite of collectors for many decades. It was the first circulating U.S. coin to feature the likeness of a real person: 16th president Abraham Lincoln, one of the most beloved presidents in the country’s history. First released in 1909, the Lincoln cent was issued in time for the centennial of Lincoln’s birth.
The first year of the design includes the issues that prominently display on the reverse the initials of the designer, Victor David Brenner – which caused controversy at the time of release, even though designers’ initials had previously been placed on U.S. coins. Because those initials were subsequently removed (and then reinstated in a less conspicuous location on the obverse in 1918), the 1909 V.D.B. and 1909-S V.D.B. cents are considered a separate type.
Millions of business strike Lincoln Wheat cents were produced almost every year of the series’ run (1909-1958). Collector interest in the type grew slowly, not taking off until the low-mintage 1931-S was extensively publicized, along with the advent of collecting boards in the early 1930s.
For most of those years, the Lincoln cent was made of a bronze alloy, with a couple of variations during the years of World War II. Because copper was a critical war material, cents in 1943 were produced on zinc-coated steel planchets. That resulted in the inadvertent creation of two Lincoln cent rarities, the first being the copper cents dated 1943, and the second being the steel cents dated 1944. From 1944 through 1946, cents were produced from reused shell cases, whose bronze composition was nearly identical to the original issues minus the tin.
Frank Gasparro designed the 1959 Lincoln Memorial reverse that replaced the original 1909 Brenner wheat stalk design.
On the obverse, Brenner’s portrait of Abraham Lincoln depicts the president from the shoulder up. Lincoln is dressed in a period suit and is wearing a bow tie. At the top of the design, wrapping around the rim is the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST”. “LIBERTY” appears behind Lincoln’s neck, on the left side of the coin. The date appears slightly lower, in front of Lincoln’s portrait, on the coin’s right side. The mint mark “S” is below the date.
On the reverse, two sheaths of wheat wrap around the right and the left side of the coin. At the top of the design, the motto “E ·PLURIBUS · UNUM” wraps around the rim. ONE CENT is inscribed in large letters, sans serif, the bottom arm of the E extends beyond the arm at the top. The middle arm is recessed. Beneath, in the same font, but smaller type: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The edge is plain.