The 1909-S Lincoln V.D.B. cent is one of the most coveted 20th-century United States coins. One of the finest examples of it is currently being offered at GreatCollections, with a hammer time of Sunday, July 16, 2023, 4:16:18 pm Pacific (7:16 pm Eastern).
The story behind the discontinuation of the coin’s production is part of the legend.
On July 14, Treasury Secretary Franklin MacVeagh gave the U.S. Mint the go-ahead to produce the new cent. On its reverse, at the six o’clock position were the initials V.D.B., the signature of the coin’s designer, Victor David Brenner.
Brenner was an enthusiastic artist, who saw the release of the coin as a major step towards a career as an in-demand sculptor. The Lincoln cent was supposed to be his crowning achievement, but some in the media saw the coin as little more than an advertisement for the artist.
This proved troubling for the Mint, and on August 5, Secretary MacVeagh ordered the coin’s production to stop until the design could be modified to remove the initials.
The San Francisco Mint’s output of 484,000 cents during this period would have been typical in any other year, but given the cessation of the coinage, this small number would soon be understood to be the lowest mintage of the popularly collected series.
The example being offered by GreatCollections is graded MS67RD by PCGS and carries certification number #25635311. CoinWeek has observed this coin trade in two previous auctions: In January 2017, the coin brought $61,687.50 USD at an auction held at the FUN Show, and in January 2022, the coin brought $108,000.
Since GreatCollection’s sale of the Stewart Blay Red Collection of Lincoln Cents in January of this year, prices on ultra-premium Lincolns have been very strong. At the time of writing, the current bid on this piece is $60,000 after 58 bids and likely has a way to go before the auction ends.
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To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.