Headline: 1909 VDB Lincoln cent proof commands $41,125
One penny did just that at a high-profile sale in May. The copper in question: a 1909 Lincoln cent with designer Victor D. Brenners initials (VDB) on the bottom of the reverse. But the real selling point: The specimen was a hard-to-find proof version. The end result: The coin sold for $41,125.
Brenners initials famously adorn the inaugural Lincoln cent, but controversy erupted over their presence, and the offending letters were discontinued until 1918, when the initials were restored, this time on the obverse side, on the presidents shoulder.
The most famous doubled die coin: Blanchard and Company also has an interesting Lincoln cent currently in stock (as of June 3, 2016): a 1955 doubled die version certified as MS64 Red by PCGS and featuring a green CAC sticker.
Profiling the coin and its potent price performance in a 2009 feature, one expert wrote at PCGS: The 1955 Doubled Die Lincoln cent is unquestionably the most famous doubled die coin in the entire Lincoln cent series and possibly the most famous doubled die coin in numismatics.
The doubling on the 1955 Doubled Die cent is very dramatic and can easily seen with the naked eye. The doubling is most prominent on the date, the word LIBERTY and in the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.
Highly coveted error coin: What is a doubled-die coin? A die that has been given two misaligned impressions from a hub; also, a coin made from such a die, reads the Red Book. Thus, double-dies are a form of error coin and are highly collectible.
In the 1955 cents case, a working hub and a working die clashed and created the doubling effect, with about 20,000 to 24,000 produced and put into circulation with regular coins, of which more than 330 million were minted. However, many of the doubled-die cents possibly got lost in circulation and the number of surviving examples may be more like 10,000 to 15,000 in all grades combined.
Many doubled-die cents famously found their way into circulation via cigarette machines, which included two cents inside each pack to refund change to tobacco buyers who paid a quarter for the smokes (vending machines at the time apparently lacked that capability).
Visit Blanchard and Companys Web site to see images of this famed doubled-die example. As of June 3, Blanchard also has several other rare pennies in stock, including: an 1856 Flying Eagle cent, PR64 PGCS CAC; an 1859 Indian Head cent, MS65 PCGS CAC; an 1877 Indian Head cent, VF20 Brown PGGS; and a 1908-S Indian Head cent, MS65 PCGS with green CAC sticker.