1909 cent reverse dies Shallow N & Deep N
I just wanted to post some of my observations & opinions. This is just my 2 cents.
Many people would say that's all my opinions are worth.
Please be advised my crystal ball and my time machine are both broken and I can't go back to 1909 to say any of this is fact.
I have looked at many online images over the last 6 months but clearly I have not seen every 1909 cent ever minted.
I left the full coin photos size large so if you right click and open in a new tab you should be able to get a good look.
There appears to be 2 different main reverse designs used in 1909 and some had a VDB added.
The two designs have a slightly different N in United, one has shallow cut valleys and one has a deeper cut valley.
The deeper cut N design is not just the N in United you can see slight changes with all the lettering in USA.
The height of the letters and placement of the VDB and dots can be in different places for Type 1 & 2.
There are several reasons they may have changed the design but I was not there so I can't tell you why.
For sake of this discussion I have decided to name them Type 1 and Type 2.
The shallow N is the Type 1 reverse and the deep N is the Type 2 reverse.
The usage of the reverse dies appears to be as listed
1909 Proof Type 1 only
1909 VBD Proof Type 1 only
1909 S VDB Type 1 only
1909 S Type 1 & Type 2
1909 P VDB Type 1 & Type 2
1909 P Type 1 & Type 2
1909 VDB Proof
1909 S VDB
1909 S Type 1
1909 S Type 2
1909 P VDB Type 1
1909 P VDB Type 2
1909 P Type 1
1909 P Type 2
It would appear that the proof dies and the Type 1 reverse were the first dies/design produced.
The VDB was the first design but because of public outcry it was removed shortly after this issue debuted.
The VDB reverse can be found with both Type 1 & Type 2 design so it would seem the change came early in production.
It would appear the VDB Type 1 reverse dies would have been the first design to be sent to San Francisco.
Good chance they got dies early in production and the Type 2 reverse may not have even been made yet.
If there were only 4 obverse dies for the S VDB the amount of reverse dies needed would not be a large number.
Good chance the small mintage of 484,000 could have been produced fairly quick.
The combination of those factors may explain why the S VDB is a Type 1 reverse only.
If you have a 1909 S VDB with a Type 2 reverse there is a good chance it is a counterfeit or alteration and needs to be graded.
The Type 1 reverse on the S VDB should not be used as the main diagnostic feature.
All other known diagnostics should be checked such as mint mark position, position of the VDB etc.
It can be hard to authenticate a 1909 S VDB from poor online images, the Type 1 reverse is fairly easy to spot.
A genuine Type 1 P VDB could have an added mint mark or a Type 1 S could have an added VDB.
If you have a 1909 S VDB that the mint mark position doesn't match one of the 4 known positions there is a very remote chance you have made a discovery but TPG authentication would be a must. There is a 99% chance you have a problem.
If you have a 1909 S VDB with a Type 2 reverse there is a very remote chance you have made a discovery but TPG authentication would be a must. There is a 99% chance you have a problem.