US Coins

Market Analysis: Matte Proof 1909 Lincoln cent 'totally original'

1909 marked the first year of the Lincoln cent, and this example, graded Proof 67 red with a green CAC sticker, realized $12,925. Designer Victor David Brenner is shown seated in a photo that appeared in the Aug. 21, 1909, issue of “Harper’s Weekly.”

Images courtesy of Legend Rare Coin Auctions

1909 marked the first year of Victor David Brenner’s Lincoln cent, and in contrast with the brilliant Proof Indian Head cents that it replaced, early Proof Lincoln cents were struck with a textured, satiny Matte Finish.

Collector demand for the new design was strong. They purchased 2,198 Proof 1909 Lincoln cents, along with 1,194 Proof 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cents struck with Brenner’s initials prominently displayed along the bottom reverse rim. Both versions featured the Matte-style finish. The “Guide Book” indicates perhaps 400 to 600 of the Proof 1909 V.D.B. cents survive.

Few Proof 1909 Lincoln cents are lovelier than this one in Legend’s Aug. 27 Regency Auction 40 in Las Vegas, struck after the reverse design change eliminated the initials, graded Professional Coin Grading Service Proof 67 red and with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker, that brought $12,925.

Legend wrote, “Totally original, this coin offers a band of deeper red toning along the lower left reverse rim, angling up from below the right tip of the wheat stalk, and up and along the lower edge of the left wheat stalk,” which makes it easy to identify for pedigree purposes.

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