What Is VDB Penny?

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Written By Natasha Jones
I'm Natasha Jones, an avid collector of coins, stamps, and paper money. My passion drives me to seek unique finds, from antique shops to international exchanges. I enjoy connecting with fellow collectors through forums and meet-ups, sharing discoveries and insights. Collecting, for me, is about preserving history and building a community around this shared interest.

VDB penny is a term that is often used in the world of coin collecting. This term refers to a specific type of penny first minted in 1909.

The VDB penny is named after the designer, Victor David Brenner, who included his initials on the coin’s reverse side.

Key Takeaways:

1. The VDB penny is a type of penny that was first minted in 1909 and is named after its designer, Victor David Brenner.
2. The initial design of the penny did not include Brenner’s initials, but they were added after a few weeks of production.
3. The value of the VDB penny can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the condition of the coin and the rarity of the specific type.

History of VDB Penny


The 1909-S VDB penny is a must-have in American coin collecting because of its significance as a key date.

Theodore Roosevelt, who saw the coin as a symbol of American progress, helped bring the coin’s design by Victor D. Brenner to the public’s attention.

On one side of the coin is a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, and on the other is a wheat stalk, a symbol of America’s agricultural past.

The coin struck at the San Francisco Mint and was an instant hit with buyers. 

However, the coin did not escape criticism simply because it was well-liked.

Some people thought the VDB initials took away from Lincoln’s likeness because they were so large and obvious.

The coin was not released into circulation until 1910, having had its production halted in 1909.

The 1909-S VDB penny is one of the most sought-after and valuable coins among collectors.

In the Lincoln wheat cent series from 1909 until 1958, this is one of the most valuable coins you can find that is not a mintage error.


What is VDB Penny?
Victor David Brenner | Image Courtesy by Wikipedia

Many wheat pennies from the first year of production (1909) bear the initials of their designer, Victor David Brenner.

Some coins from 1909 still have Brenner’s initials, but they were no longer included after that year.

A few other 1909 wheat pennies, like the VDB coins, are extremely rare and valuable.

The San Francisco Mint produced the 1909-S penny, and the New Orleans Mint produced the 1909-O penny.

Rare 1909 wheat pennies can fetch thousands of dollars on the market, despite the common value of the coin is just a few dollars.

Value of VDB Penny

One of the most sought-after and valuable U.S. coins is the 1909-S VDB penny.

The obverse of the coin depicts a bust of Abraham Lincoln, and the reverse features a wheat stalk.

Victor David Brenner created both designs. 1909, only 484,000 of these coins were struck at the San Francisco Mint. 

Due to its low mintage and high quality, this Lincoln wheat cent is among the most sought-after in the entire series.

A 1909-S VDB penny can be worth several hundred dollars or more than $1,000, depending on its condition.

High-quality examples of this historic coin fetch a premium from knowledgeable collectors.

Where Is The VDB On A 1909 Penny


Towards the bottom of the coin’s reverse is the VDB.

It is immediately noticeable because it stands out from the coin’s background.

Additionally, the VDB is encircled by a wreath if you look closely enough. 

How Many 1909-S VDB Pennies Are Left?

Grading agencies estimate that there are around 5,000 1909-S VDBs in MS60BN (brown) or better condition, 6,000 in MS60RB (red-brown) or better condition, and 5,000 in MS60RD (red) or better condition, with 3,000 of these coins graded MS65RD or higher. 

The original mintage was 484,000, and the survivorship of ungraded coins is far below that figure.

Indeed, certified versions of these coins are unusual among circulated U.S. currencies. 

What Is The Most Valuable VDB Penny?


The highest price for a 1909 VDB Matte Proof Lincoln Cent (PR67+ Red and Brown) was $258,500 in 2014.

It was the finest example of the coin ever offered for sale.  A 1909-S VDB Cent, MS67 Red, also sold in 2014 for $117,000.

A 1909-S VDB Cent, MS67 Red, sold for $108,000 in January 2022.

The one-cent face value may seem small compared to the millions of dollars that mintage errors can fetch at auction.

How Can You Tell If You Have A 1909 VDB Penny?

It’s simple to tell if a coin is a genuine 1909 VDB. The VDB can be found at the bottom of the coin’s reverse side.

It stands out from the rest of the coin’s surface, making it easy to spot. 

Looking closely, you’ll notice that a wreath encircles the VDB. There are no other features on a 1909 penny besides the VDB.

Therefore, if your 1909 penny lacks the VDB, it is not a genuine 1909 VDB penny.

1909-S VDB Penny Counterfeit

One of the most frequently counterfeited coins is the 1909-S VDB penny.

In contrast to the curved serifs used in the genuine article, many forgeries use parallel serifs for their lettering.

The VDB initials are also angled slightly on the fakes, whereas they are perfectly horizontal on the genuine coins. 

These are just a few more noticeable variations that help knowledgeable collectors spot a fake 1909-S VDB penny.

The best way to avoid being duped by a fake 1909-S VDB penny is to stick with reputable dealers.

You can learn a lot by comparing different copies. Examine online images of the coin to see how it compares to others.

Although genuine 1909-S VDB pennies can be found with due diligence, you should still be careful before you purchase.

The VDB Penny is a fascinating coin with a unique history and value.

It is a coin that is highly sought after by collectors and investors alike due to its rarity and historical significance.

Before you go…

In conclusion, the VDB Penny is a coin that should be appreciated for its historical significance and rarity. With proper research and caution, it can be a valuable addition to any collection or investment portfolio.

Check out my next article: “What is a Key Date Penny?

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