Rare Penny Minted in 1909 Sells for Hundreds

by Matthew Memrick

When is one penny worth 40,000 pennies? Well, when it’s a rare coin from 1909, that’s when it sells for hundreds of dollars online.

According to the U.S. Sun, a rare penny was the last of the Indian head series made between 1859 and 1909. This VDB Lincoln penny had an “S” at the bottom of the coin’s reverse, meaning it came from San Francisco.

That’s just enough to motivate some folks to keep their heads down and look for those street coins.

Coin Hounds Revel In Coin’s Details

Professional Coin Grading Service price guide editor Jamie Hernandez recently wrote about the coin, saying it has the “lowest mintage in the entire circulation strike Indian cent series.”

What does that mean? Hernandez said that there’d be fewer than 1 million in existence, along with the 1877 Indian cent. The Sun reported that there were only 309,000 1909-S Indian pennies minted.

By the same token, the regular strike 1909 Indian cents have more than 14 million to roll off the assembly line.

This particular eBay auction collected 40 bids, with the winner picking up the rare coin for $406.01. But the actual value of the currency could vary. The USA Coin Book lists an average version of the coin worth $642 while the best, “uncirculated (MS-63)” version could be worth $1,286.

The Indian head penny seller listed this coin as an “F 15” grade with PCGS certification. This designation means the quality is “slightly less than half of finer detail worn flat.” But the upside means that “all lettering is sharp and clear.”

Did this sale pique your interest in coins? Well, be advised that some 1909-S coins are going for thousands in online auctions. Plus, there are lots of fakes out there. The best indicators of real coins come from the seller’s history and if the coin has its proper certification.

Coin Collecting A Big Industry

Now you’re going through your half-dollars, quarters, nickels, and dimes, too, right? There are a lot of coins with mistakes or other notable marks that sell for thousands.

Earlier this month, a rare Lincoln penny from 1999 sold for $2,910. That penny’s mint mark was absent, and it should’ve been a “D” for Denver. However, a mint employee’s sloppiness reportedly used an old die and filed it down, but the result was the 1922 No D Lincoln cent.

According to The Sun, another late 1700s has sold for $8,750. Online merchant JM Bullion said that the famous “slavery” coin had the words “One Cent” surrounded by chains.   

In September, a Massachusetts man got $599 for one quarter. Even the “Pawn Stars” guys got into the act when they looked at an 1879 Stella $4 gold coin in November