This is the first year of the Lincoln Cent and the key date in the series. Only a small percentage of the total mintage were found to acquire this grade. This coin is the only year to have the designer's initials featured on the reverse of the coin.
- Nice blazing and tasteful red/brown color.
- Mintage of 484,000 pieces.
- Designed by Victor D. Brenner.
- Obverse: Displays a bust of Abraham Lincoln.
- Reverse: Depicts two wheat ears and the denomination.
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The 1909-S VDB ranks as one of the most popular and widely known of all the Lincoln cents and some might argue that it is one of the favorites in the entire run of United States coins. Collectors love coins with stories, and this one has a couple. First, there's the controversy over the initials on the reverse. When Victor David Brenner created his new design, he placed his full name in tiny letters on the base of the reverse, bottom center. This was not out of the ordinary, as other designers and engravers had done the same in the past. As part of the changes to Brenner's models, Mint Engraver Charles Barber changed the name to the artist's three initials (VDB).
Once the coins had been issued, some newspaper reporters took issue with the placement of the initials, arguing that the initials amounted to free, illegal advertising for the designer. Instead of placing the initials elsewhere in new dies, mint employees simply removed them entirely from the coin, and a new round of cents were produced without the VDB on the reverse. This short period of time in which the VDB coins were produced in San Francisco led to the second desirable attribute of this coin: it's low mintage. Only 484,000 cents were issued with the VDB initials, creating an instant scarcity.