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Rare Lincoln penny sells for $1,975 online – exact date and letter to look for that’ll make your coins worth thousands

SOME of the most valuable coins in US history are pennies featuring the profile of President Abraham Lincoln.

One collector recently paid $1,975 for a 1909-S VDB Wheat Cent, a particularly rare Lincoln penny with a controversial history.

Certain pennies bearing Lincoln's face are extremely valuable, like this 1909 one


Certain pennies bearing Lincoln’s face are extremely valuable, like this 1909 one
The initials of the coin's designer can be faintly seen at the very bottom of the penny


The initials of the coin’s designer can be faintly seen at the very bottom of the penny

According to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), the 1909-S VDB penny “is one of the favorites in the entire run of United States coins” among collectors.

To understand why this cent is so valuable, you’ll need to know a bit more about the man who gave the VDB penny its name and design.

History of the VDB penny

Victor David Brenner was commissioned to design a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s face to commemorate the 16th president’s 100th birthday in 1909.

Brenner went on to craft Lincoln pennies for four decades, but no design garnered as much attention as his 1909 version.

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He printed his initials – VDB – on the back of the initial design of the 1909 Lincoln Wheat cent, drawing the ire of many at the time.

According to PCGS president Ron Guth, journalists, in particular, took issue with the placement of Brenner’s initials.

Mr Guth wrote that reporters argued it was “far from inconspicuous and that the initials amounted to free, illegal advertising for the designer.”

The initials were removed from future designs, and 72million pennies were minted without the VDB that year.

The value of VDB Lincoln pennies

This VDB penny was minted in San Francisco, where 484,000 were made.

As a result, the coin is considered a key date penny, meaning it’s one of the most sought-after cents in US history.

These coins are easily distinguishable from their counterparts produced in Philadelphia that year, thanks to the “S” below the mint year on the obverse side of the cent.

Philadelphia coins have no such letter indicating where they were made.

The value of VDB-S pennies can vary based on grade and condition – USA Coin Book lists the highest and lowest prices at $2,277 and $847.

This recently sold coin was initially listed for $1,000, and four bidders exchanged 17 offers before it went for $1,975.

Uncirculated variations of VDB coins can be worth more than $5,000, according to PCGS auction data.

If you happen to find a 1909 San Francisco penny without Brenner’s initials on the back, you can still sell it for a decent profit – those coins can be worth $70 to $350, per PCGS.

A 1909 Philadelphia penny, on the other hand, may net you between $5 and $20 at auction.

How to find valuable coins

There are many ways you can find rare coins.

The first thing you’ll want to do is check around your home or any places you might store change.

You can also try using a metal detector outdoors, or stopping by your local bank and asking for a roll of coins.

You can easily exchange bills for coins, getting plenty of change to sort through for standouts at no cost.

To check if your coins are worth anything on eBay, search the full name, select the “sold” listing and then toggle the search to “highest value”.

This way, you’ll get a sense of what collectors are willing to pay for your coins.

You can either choose to sell the coin on eBay or through a specialist site such as Coinappraiser or USA Coin Book.

And be aware of potential fakes when buying online.

To avoid this, it’s worth checking the seller’s history and whether or not the coin was certified in the listing.

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For more coin news, one collector spotted an error in some 2021 pennies that can make them worth hundreds of dollars.

Plus, we reveal the most valuable state quarters.

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