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CheerioCoins's Blog

13 Jul 2022

The V.D.B Controversy

| CheerioCoins

Currently I am at the International Juggling Association Convention and am having lots of fun here in Iowa. I had this blog drafted and decided to post it today. I'm sure you have heard about the V.D.B Controversy before but I will put a little bit more detail in this blog on it. Enjoy!


In 1905 there was a commission to redesign all American coinage. The current President at the time was Theodore Roosevelt who got in touch with Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who designed the Saint-Gaudens double eagle. He wanted Saint-Gaudens to make new designs for the coins. Saint-Gaudens started on a few of the coins for the commission but on August 3, 1907, he died of cancer. Only two of these designs actually were made into coins: the 1907 Indian Head $10 coin and the MCMVII 1907 $20 gold piece known today as the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. In 1908, President Roosevelt thought about the coming Abraham Lincoln birth centennial in 1909 and thought they could put him on one of the new design coins. (His exact birth date is February 12, 1809). The idea of Lincoln being on a new coin brought them to the proposal that Victor David Brenner could design it.


Brenner was a numismatist unlike Saint-Gaudens and was a member of the American Numismatic and Archaeological Society. He was dedicated to the hobby. In 1907, Brenner had produced a plaque and medal of Lincoln which I will show in the photos. Roosevelt decided this design should go on the cent since the Indian Head cent design had been going for half a century. The design would look similar to the plaque because the plaque had a similar brown color. If Lincoln cents were to be produced it would make him the first president on a largely circulating coin.


Brenner started on the design right away and used the head of his Lincoln plaque for the coin. He put his name "Brenner '' on the coin but they told him that was too much so he decided to put his initials "V.D.B" on the bottom of the reverse. As the coin came out controversy started to come around about the initials. People said he didn't need recognition since he got paid for the job and others said that the letters were too big. People sent in complaints to the Treasury and they didn't want to get into a mess like this so they got rid of Brenner's initials on the coin. Only 27,995,000 were struck at the Philadelphia mint and only 484,000 were struck at the San Francisco mint. Other Lincoln cents without the initials were struck that year.


Today, we call them 1909 V.D.B. Lincoln cents and the 1909-S V.D.B is the key date of the Lincoln cent series. They can go anywhere from $675 in G4 to $21,000 in MS67. If the Treasury had chosen to keep the initials, maybe the V.D.B. initials would still be on the coin and I wouldn't be writing this blog.

Bibliography: The 1909-S VDB Cent: A Popular Yet Controversial Coin,https://coinweek.com/dealers-companies/blanchard/the-1909-s-vdb-lincoln-cent-a-popular-yet-controversial-coin/, Coin Week, Accessed July 13, 2022, Published March 12, 2022

S. Yeoman, Richard, The Official Red Book, A Guide Book of United States Coins 2023, Whitman Publishing, LLC, 2022

Bowers, Q. David, The Controversial 1909 V.D.B. Lincoln Cent,https://www.pcgs.com/news/the-controversial-1909-vdb-lincoln-cent, PCGS, Accessed July 13, 2022, Published April 10, 2001.


If you check out my collections page you will see a photo of the 2018 Ukrainian 10 Hryven coin I won at the YN auction and will see some information about that. I also wanted to tell you that I bought a 2011 Silver Panda bullion coin here at an Iowa coin shop for $40. I didn't tell you this but I spent all my Whitman Publishing money I got from winning the YN Literary Award and bought a universal coin album for my silver pandas! I also was going to buy a really nice Bay Bridge commemorative half dollar on Ebay but I waited too long and it was sold. :( I learned my lesson.


Thanks for reading my blog and have a great day!


CheerioCoins


Comments

Russ

Level 4

Also being too big, it was shown in numismatic comics around that era that his full initials V.D.B. were inappropriate for a copper coin. It said that full initials could be admissible on gold coins, but not anything like that on the copper level.

AC coin$

Level 6

Great blog .

Long Beard

Level 5

I like your research sources, well done.

Jackson14

Level 4

Very interesting blog! Thanks.

Longstrider

Level 6

WOW! CC. That is an awesome bibliography. Well researched indeed. Made me feel better that you took some advise. Well done.

RSchwa57

Level 4

Very nice read.

Kepi

Level 6

Really great blog! Interesting stuff for sure! A Numismatist and a Juggler too! You are amazing! ; )

Mike

Level 7

Brenner was right. Other designers had there initials on there coins. Why not his. I think he did it without permission. I can't remember the real reason. As usual good blog I enjoyed this one thanks!!

Rebelfire76

Level 4

And this is why people are in love with numismatics… initials. And hence why those initials now cost so much on that precious 1909-S. Good research and info.

Longstrider

Level 6

Nice blog CC. I could be wrong but I believe there was another reason that also got his initials removed. Can't remember right now maybe someone else will. They were restored in 1918 but a more discreet manner. Anyhow a good read. You also may want to consider a bibliography. Again my opinion. Nice pickups. I also would love a nicely toned Bay Bridge coin. Thanks CC.

CheerioCoins

Level 5

I added the bibliography!

CheerioCoins

Level 5

No problem.

thatcoinguy

Level 5

It’s funny that despite the fact that Barber put a B on his coins, among other designers, Victor David Brenner had to take his off.

CheerioCoins

Level 5

Well, people put their initials but I think the V.D.B was just too big.

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