After the recent sale of a Mint State 67 red 1918 Lincoln cent at
auction for $14,100, why is a comparably graded 1918 Lincoln cent
worth more than a 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cent? To some it may seem
counter intuitive. After all, the 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cent has much
lower mintage of 27,995,000 pieces and is worth far more in circulated grades.
The answer is in survival rates. In 1909 the Lincoln cent was brand
new, and collectors and noncollectors alike each wanted one to hold
onto. Further, the designer Victor David Brenner’s initials placed
prominently at the lower center of the reverse and their subsequent
removal later in 1909 brought a lot of attention to the Lincoln cent.
Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and Professional Coin Grading Service have
recorded more than 300 submissions at the MS-67 red level for the 1909
Lincoln, V.D.B. cent. In comparison, the two firms have seen just 22
submissions at the MS-67 red level for the 1918 cent.
The price is kept high for the 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cent because
it’s in demand from several hobby sectors. It is considered a distinct
design subtype, so it has demand from type collectors. Some people
collect first-year-of-issue coins, and others are attracted to the
coin because they remember the story from their earliest collecting days.
In MS-66 red, the price for a 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cent drops
substantially, with recent sales for gorgeous CAC stickered coins
clustered at the $250 to $300 level.