The 1909 S VDB Penny: One Of The Most Famous Rare U.S. Coins

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1909-s-vdb-penny-photo-by-joshua.JPG The 1909 S VDB penny is perhaps one of the most- famous rare coins. While there are rarer coins, the 1909 S VDB cent is so popular because

  • It has a relatively small mintage of just 484,000.
  • It belongs to one of the most popular coin series (Lincoln cents).
  • Many people love the story behind the coin.

What is the story behind the 1909 S VDB penny?

Victor David Brenner designed the coin with his initials (VDB) prominently displayed on the reverse of the coin below the wheat stalks. However, the public didn’t like that the coin had Brenner’s initials so obviously stamped on the coin. The U.S. Mint responded to the public outcry and quickly stopped making VDB pennies.

The result was a much smaller number of pennies than usual. The public has known this since day 1 and, for more than a century now, the 1909 S VDB penny has been top among coin collectors’ wish lists.

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11 thoughts on “The 1909 S VDB Penny: One Of The Most Famous Rare U.S. Coins”

  1. I have many coins collected by my father-in-law…….some seem quite valuable. Where would I go to have them appraised? For a fee, of course. .
    I live in Ocala, Fl.

    • Hello Wendy,

      The best place to go to have coins appraised would be a coin shop. There are a few in Ocala. If you are selling, you might be best to go to at least 2 or 3 different dealers and sell to the dealer offering you the best price.

      If the appraisal is for insurance purposes, be sure to state that to the dealer, because the amount of money you would get for selling the coins and the amount it would cost to replace them at retail value are a bit different (retail is higher than the amount you would receive from a coin dealer).

      I have a Google search link here for you of the coin dealers in the Ocala area:

    • WENDY..i DO NOT KNOW MUCH BUT i HAVE BEEN BUYING AND SELLING COINS ALWAYS WITH A GOOD PROFIT. If you want someone honest about your coin go to its a co. in dallas Tx. and they are the best in town. if you want you can go. they will help you for real..or you can come to Orlando, Fl. The first week of january 2013 They will be here the at the convention ctr..They do auctions..

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    • Elrudo,

      Only about 24,000 1955 pennies are doubled-die, the tens of millions of others are regular strikes. Unless you see a ghost image around the date, yours is not a doubled-die, and it’s worth around 5 cents.

    • Hello, Fonda —

      Actually, 1899 Indian Head pennies in worn condition are usually worth between $1 and $5.

      Thanks for your question!

    • The Mint caved in to public pressure shortly after the first coins were released, and quickly prepared new 1909 dies without Brenner’s initials. Almost 80% of 1909 Lincoln cents were struck* from those new dies so it’s probable that you have one of those.

      If your coin doesn’t have a mint mark letter under the date it’s worth anywhere from $2 or $3 in very worn condition up to around $10-$12 with almost no wear. If it has a tiny “S” under the date it’s a lot scarcer, with values ranging from ~$75 to ~$280; if you have this coin you should have it inspected to make sure it’s genuine.

      * To clear up terminology, coins are said to be struck or minted; the term “printing” is used for paper and ink.


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