Difference between 1909 Lincoln and 1909 VDB

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by skane, Jan 10, 2005.

  1. skane

    skane Senior Member

    PCGS list in their price guide a 1909 VDB and a 1909 Lincoln. What's the difference? Does this just mean that the VDB is missing? If the coin is sufficiently worn, then couldn't it actually be a VDB, but it's just been worn off? sorry if a dumb questions, I'm just a little new at this.
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  3. ziggy29

    ziggy29 Senior Member

    The first Lincoln cents made in 1909 had the designer's initials, "V.D.B.," on the bottom of the reverse. This was widely criticized and the V.D.B. was removed later in that year. Most of the Lincoln Cents made in 1909 do not have the V.D.B., but in mint state the coins with V.D.B. are actually more commonly seen.
  4. Catman

    Catman New Member


    The designer of the Lincoln Head Cent was Victor David Brenner. He was a personal friend of Teddy Roosevelt. When Lincoln was being considered for the cent Roosevelt (Teddy) asked Brenner to do the design because of a bronze statue that Brenner had done of Lincoln.

    In 1909, when then coin was first released, Brenner had placed his initials on the bottom of the reverse side. Congress was very unhappy because the initials were too dominate. They ordered the initials removed from the coins in the later part of 1909.

    Brenner initials didn't reappear until 1918and under the shoulder. As to how badly they wear..It can happen but in most cases they can be seen for a long time. Today you can see Brenners initials under Lincoln's shoulder.

  5. Ed Zak

    Ed Zak New Member

  6. skane

    skane Senior Member

    Thanks. I'll have to reexamine the coin. I was looking for the VDB near the rim under Lincoln's shoulder rather than on the reverse. I didn't know that the older coins had it on the reverse. Thanks for the information. So it's considered a Lincoln if it's a 1909 coin without the VDB and obviously a VDB if it has the initials. Got it, thanks.
  7. satootoko

    satootoko Retired

    Well, you still have't quite "got it". Every U.S. cent dated after 1908 is a "Lincoln cent" (not a "Lincoln penny"). If it is a 1909 with the designer's initials it may be referred to as a "1909 VDB", and if it is the truly rare one, with a San Francisco mint mark, it would be a "1909S VDB".

    1909 is the only year that there are coins both with and without the initials, so it's the only year that "VDB" is used as part of the description.

    Any cent dated before 1959 is a "wheatie", or "wheat cent". Those dated after 1958 are "memorial Lincolns".

    There are variations of those designations, but mostly you'll hear one of the mentioned ones.
  8. skane

    skane Senior Member

    No I do understand that. However, if you refer to the PCGS price guide, there is a distinction. They list a 1909 VDB and a 1909 Lincoln. along with a 1909 s VDB and a 1909 s Lincoln. From the previous posts, I am assuming that if it doesn't have the VDB on the reverse, then it must be the 'Lincoln' that they are referring to.
  9. satootoko

    satootoko Retired

    Well, I don't rely on the PCGS guide for prices or descriptions/designations.
  10. skane

    skane Senior Member

    I guess that begs the question that will again have some potentially good dialogue....Where do you get your information on designations/values of a coin. I guess the Red Book is the consensus among dealers about values so that when you walk in from the street and try to sell them something, they use this as their pricing guide, but I assume that there are those the do use PCGS or Coin Values prices, but it would be interesting to know why some use one vs. the other. The only reason I use PCGS is because I don't own a Red Book, it's easy to look up quickly on line as I'm not a serious collector as I just started looking at the stuff I've accumulated as gifts from my coin dealer uncle and stuff I've saved in a can over the years that I've found in circulation and just wondering what I have. My goal is not to buy any coins for a collection but to determine what I have and what potential value there is for the stuff that I do have....Interesting to here what everyone else uses and why.
  11. satootoko

    satootoko Retired

    That's a very, very bad guess my friend. Do a search on "Red Book" and read the many, many prior postings on the subject. The Red Book is an excellent resource for many things, including getting a feel for which coins in a series have the relatively highest value, but since coin prices change with every transaction, and a Red Book edition is closed for revision months before it actually goes on sale, it is universally understood to be virtually worthless as a guide to the present value of any specific coin.

    You can also do a search on "grey sheet", or "bid" and "ask", and read about the more commonly relied on pricing guides.

    Another source of current pricing is analysis of closed auctions, including the major ones like Heritage, Superior, etc.; and EBay. Auction prices reflect what willing sellers actually paid to willing buyers, not someone's opinion of what something "should" sell for.

    BTW - Congratulations on your correct usage of consensus, without the superfluous "of opinion". :D
  12. skane

    skane Senior Member

    Good information......thanks...It's funny because I walked into a dealer's store the other day and we started talking and we got talking about error coins and about discussions about error coin discussions on the Internet. As soon as he heard the word Internet he indicated that ..if it isn't in the Red Book then it doesn't exist....he said he does not use the Internet at all. I thought that was a very interesting statement in this day and age and thought how potentially limiting it was for his business...but then what do I know about the coin business, so obviously I had not intelligent response. That's what got me wondering about what dealers/collectors use to determine price values. In my youth, I always heard Red Book. Now I'm finding that there is not really any standard, it's an individual choice and in the market a discussion between the buyer and seller. Interesting...
  13. pete1970

    pete1970 Coin Collector

    Thanks skane!!
    For an informative thread.It has cleared up a few questions I had been wondering,but never asked!! For example the red book VS. the PCGS price guide etc..

    Then again, if it is cleared up,why am I still a little confused?!
    Usually,if It has something to do with coin collecting, It is confusing.
    Everyone has their own opinion and standards.
    And, there is no set standard that applies to any certain thing.IMO
    Hence the confusion!

    If I am incorrect, on this, Please elaborate!
  14. illini420

    illini420 1909 Collector

    Well, actually Indian Head Cents ended in 1909 too, Lincoln Cents didn't start getting made until August of 1909 and very quickly after that the designers initials were removed from the design. So there were six different 1909 cents.

    1909 Indian Head
    1909-S Indian Head
    1909 V.D.B. Lincoln
    1909-S V.D.B. Lincoln
    1909 Lincoln
    1909-S Lincoln

  15. quartertapper

    quartertapper Numismatist

    The biggest flaw I have noticed with the Redbook is their failure to decrease prices on a series as the market demand cools off. Take a look at mint sets and proof sets for example. I have bought many sets for less than 1/3 of the listed price in the Redbook's 2009 listing in the past few months. It's not like the prices fell recently either; they have been relatively cheap for the past 2+ years now! I always have at least three sources for pricing when making a relatively expensive purchase.
  16. pete1970

    pete1970 Coin Collector

    If you don't mind, please tell me what 3 sources you use for pricing.

    Thanks quartertapper.
  17. illini420

    illini420 1909 Collector

    I usually look at Heritage auction records, the Greysheet, the PCGS Price Guide and Teletrade prices realized. Even after that, I'll still occasionally throw the guides out the window and pay moon money for a coin I really really like :)
  18. coinman0456

    coinman0456 Coin Collector

    Pete, the best suggestion I have for you is :

    1) Get your Grey & blue sheets.
    2) Research the Retail market ( bear in mind though, never ever pay retail !)
    3) research auction archives on the coin you are looking to purchase. One important aspect to be looking at in auction archives, is how often the coin comes to auction. Sometimes, even with Common date coins, they are not as readily available as one may think, and of course a premium is added when it does go to auction.
    4) make auction/grade/date/price comparisons
    5) and of course, always do other homework before attempting to buy anything.

    This is just a short list, as you develop, you will create your own mathematical formula to arrive at what you consider a fair and reasonable price is.
  19. quartertapper

    quartertapper Numismatist

    I myself, use the PCGS price guide, Coinage magazine, and usually watch what they are going for on ebay. Ebay can be challenging if you are not familiar with how a particular series is graded, or you miss an obvious flaw in the coin. I don't completely rule out the Redbook, but it tends to be high quite often.
  20. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    Now that is a buying strategy I can identify with. :D
  21. Conder101

    Conder101 Numismatist

    Sounds like my kind of dealer to cherrypick because there is a lot of rare material out there that is NOT listed in the Redbook.
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