# Does this 1909 vdb Lincoln look like a proof to you?

BUFFNIXX
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**2,701**✭✭✭✭✭This coin is being sold on ebay for a bit under 13 grand and to me does not look like a proof. It is supposedly in a pcgs pr62 holder but you cannot tell for sure. There is no pic included that shows the whole obverse of the pcgs holder with the coin in it. Any Lincoln cent collectors here think this is a proof from these pictures? I think not but in deference to the seller I am not an expert on the vdb proofs but? To me something odd going on here.

If you want to scoot over to ebay and look at the auction it is number 276258144468 and there are more pictures in the actual auction than I am showing here.

Collector of Buffalo Nickels and other 20th century United States Coinage

a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"

a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"

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## Comments

2,701✭✭✭✭✭Here are some more pictures from this auction 276258144468

I am actually showing all the pix that are included in the auction

a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"

2,566✭✭✭✭✭Yes, it's a proof. Just look at the photos for die markers (there are several) and match them to another proof.

If you want to see the PCGS TrueView of the coin and photos of the coin in the PCGS holder, just look at the CERT page and the Heritage auction listing from last year:

https://www.pcgs.com/cert/45723603

https://coins.ha.com/itm/proof-lincoln-cents/1909-1c-vdb-pr62-brown-pcgs-the-1909-vdb-is-the-rarest-issue-in-the-matte-proof-series-most-examples-seen-are-graded-in-t/a/60317-54843.s?ic4=ListView-ShortDescription-071515

6,708✭✭✭✭✭OK, I am in the camp that there is no way that is a MPL. Yes, there are markers - and the coin does not have them. The biggest being the crescent moon die gouge on the Reverse. Next biggest, the die scratch from the bust to the R in Liberty. And last, the die scratches off the nose. These do not look exactly the same to me. Let's not even bring up the weak right rim, the lack of sharp detail or the lacking of the Matte finish.

WS

833✭✭✭✭✭My first impression was that it was not. Then I read Ikest post and realized it was slabbed as such, I thought ok it must be.

To me it does not have a sharp strike on the reverse I can usually tell by how sharp the letter corners are in the words ONE CENT these letters look like a regular strike to me.

I do not like the coin even if it is a MLP

Martin

2,701✭✭✭✭✭_> @Martin said:

Martin -- this coin now appears in 4 different ebay auctions 3 priced at 12,990 and one at 12,990!

At best this is a regular strike from discarded proof dies. I cannot believe anyone would pay over 10K for

something this unattractive.

a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"

41✭✭✭I can’t believe that’s graded as a proof.

I am comparing the reverse:

to this 1910 proof. I think mine came from the same dealer; but of course he is not the grader, just the seller.

10,755✭✭✭✭✭That is one sad excuse for an MPL, it may be the real deal but it would have to be a significant discount off the asking price before I would even consider it.

My Collection of Old Holders

Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.

6,603✭✭✭✭✭The graders have made mistakes on these before. I’m not convinced this is the real deal. I would need a much better look at the markers. Very disappointed in the TrueView. The diagnostics are usually seen very well in their photos.

- Bob -MPL's - Lincolns of Color"Central Valley" Roosevelts

2,566✭✭✭✭✭Wow, some shocking responses here! The coin is low grade with hazy surfaces - that is why it does not look like a proof to some of you. Props to @Ownerofawheatiehorde for seeing what some of the old-timers couldn't.

As for the die markers, have some coffee and look again. A couple of them are obscured by the haze and the woodgrain toning, but there are plenty of other markers that are

perfectlyclear:No, absolutely not. There is a misconception among some collectors that discarded proof dies were used to make business strikes as a matter of routine. They were

not. There are certain 19th century dates and denominations where this was done, and even at that time, it wasn't done by default for every date and denomination. As for the 1909 VDB cents, all one need do is look at the business strikes to see that the proof dies were not reused.6,708✭✭✭✭✭I don't drink coffee , I drink gin and I have not had any today (yet!) if it is a MPL, its the crappiest I have ever seen and probably the last one struck on the die. It sure as heck would not be worth the $23,000 asking, nor would it be worth the $10,000 previously paid. If memory serves me it was long ago in a PCI holder and graded as a PR 61. So looks like it might (unbelievably) have crossed.

WS

2,845✭✭✭✭✭Like @IkesT pointed out, the secondary markers do appear to be a match, proving this is a Proof.

Additionally, his last paragraph of his post is spot on.

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

847✭✭✭✭✭I have no opinion on whether or not it's a proof. I have a strong opinion about its eye appeal--to me, it has none; absolutely none. As much as I don't like TPGs consigning nice coins to the dustbin of "details" grades, I think this one should be there.

1,517✭✭✭✭✭Yes, it is a proof but I would not buy it due to the corrosion.

Type collector, mainly into Seated. Young Numismatist. Good BST transactions with: mirabela, OKCC, MICHAELDIXON

8,290✭✭✭✭✭Ugly proof. Why does he show the 63 proof for 23,499$ ? just for comparison of grade values?

"When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

3,501✭✭✭✭✭That coin has the WORST rims I have ever seen on an MPL. That alone disqualifies it in my book. That said, I do see the diagnostics are present, at least on the obverse. I once bought a 1916 MPL that had all the diagnostics but was widely panned as a misattributed MS coin just for the rims. Coins like these make me believe in the discarded dies scenario regardless of what anybody else says. It's clear to me that this coin lacks all the proof attributes. If it was made as a proof, the coiner should have thrown it back.

Empty Nest Collection

Matt’s Mattes

2,566✭✭✭✭✭You are reading the wrong book.

3,501✭✭✭✭✭I would feel guilty making $ on that coin.

Empty Nest Collection

Matt’s Mattes

7,408✭✭✭✭✭Wish we could see the edge.

Pete

2,566✭✭✭✭✭No need; the proof die markers are conclusive.

2,701✭✭✭✭✭Well guys I guess this must be a proof because of the die markers and pcgs says it is. But it totally fails the squared

rims test and thus I would not call it a mate proof but rather a "mutt pooof" as in "poof" there goes your money!

And mutt means it is a real dog!

a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"

7,250✭✭✭✭✭Exactly! Who cares what it is called. When one checks the definition of proof coin, it implies NOT simply which dies were used but the handling and preparation of the coin to be and of course the final product.

Well, just Love coins, period.

2,845✭✭✭✭✭So then what about circulated Proofs, like 1895 Morgan’s in AG03?

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

7,250✭✭✭✭✭All together a different situation as you are referring to a coin presumably struck to proof standard and then circulated as opposed to a coin struck to a less than full proof standard.

Well, just Love coins, period.

2,566✭✭✭✭✭A coin is a proof if it is

(where a specially prepared planchet is struck by specially prepared dies on a special press).struck as a proofIt's not something that changes after the fact and is not dependent on how the coin turned out. A proof coin with a weak rim, for example, is still a proof.

It's not something that changes if the coin is worn or otherwise impaired, either, so the analogy by @FlyingAl is perfectly apt.

2,845✭✭✭✭✭Proof is not a condition, it's a strike characteristic. A Proof worn to a featureless disk is still a Proof.

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

7,250✭✭✭✭✭And don't short sell a numismatist of long standing. If you will notice, that subtends my point.

It is a method of manufacture that INCLUDES the planchet, die prep and mint handling. So on a coin that is not struck up fully, or has as-made deficiencies that is a result of the method AND result of manufacture. So you will note that this is the case and there are any number of specimen that essentially are not finished or may be lacking in areas - this was my point and NOT the condition of the coin AFTER striking.

Well, just Love coins, period.

37✭✭This seems like a pretty open and shut case if these dies were only used to strike proof coins. You get into a mess though with other series where that isn't always true.

Most of the major TPGs will only certify a business strike 1880 shield nickel as such if it has a late state die deformity. It's a fair assumption that proofs would be struck first, then the same dies used for business striking. The coins with the deformity are indeed likely business strikes. However, it's near impossible that all of the 16,000 business strike coins were made using only this same late state die. A coin struck without that die marker in well circulated condition has no definitive way to tell proof from business strike 1880 nickel, yet most TPGs will automatically call that coin a proof despite nothing to suggest that. Decisions like this have left a scrutiny of how TPGs handle proof vs business striking even in examples like this where it's clear.

2,481✭✭✭✭✭No, it doesn't look like a proof but it does have the die markers-or at least some, so I'm not sure.

2,566✭✭✭✭✭Correct; the OP coin is a proof, case closed.

That is an incorrect assumption; the 1880 proof and business strike nickels were struck with different dies.

2,845✭✭✭✭✭I get your point, but to me a defective Proof that was released is still a Proof.

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

7,250✭✭✭✭✭And in turn I hear you, however as one perhaps with some grounding in the later British milled series I can tell you that it may be simplistic to evaluate "proof" status as a binary choice. In point of fact there are many examples of coins that have some, many, or virtually all of the attributes we think of as proof but somehow not quite there on all counts.

It is IMHO much more a reflection of reality to not quickly label a coin as proof or not.

Simplistic examples are coins struck with proof dies but inadequate or unfinished planchet preparation, blanks intended for proof coinage that are struck by "currency dies", planchets with proof preparation (or alternatively currency prep) struck by one proof die and one "currency die" - or one incompletely proof die prep - that were used to strike only a few coins. Well, I could go on and on, but such coins do exist and challenge description or "pigeonholing".

Well, just Love coins, period.

2,566✭✭✭✭✭For the benefit of those that may be observing from the sidelines, this is a cursed thread. It's rare to see such persistent misinformation and misdirection coming from more experienced members, but it can happen on occasion. Once again, the OP coin is a proof; there is no controversy about this, despite the misguided attempts of a few people to introduce doubt.

37✭✭Agreed. If the proof die was only used for proof strikes then any coins struck with it are proof, regardless of appearance.

Respectfully disagree with you here though. From CoinFacts the first image is certified a proof and second business. Same dies for both.

2,566✭✭✭✭✭@TrickleCharge OK, I see the point of confusion - you are (partially) correct. The 1880 nickels were struck with two die marriages, and both were used to strike proofs and business strikes. For the die marriage that you've shown above, you are correct that there is die marker that appears on the business strikes that does not appear on the proofs. You are also correct that a) it is possible that there are some business strikes from that die marriage without the marker, and b) if the coin is circulated, you may not be able to distinguish between a proof and business strike.

Here is the second die marriage, which does

nothave that same particular marker for either proofs or business strikes:37✭✭Ah ok, yes I think we are both on the same page now. Thank you for clarifying. I should have been more clear as my post made it sound like only one die marriage was used to strike all MS and PR 1880 nickels. As you pointed out, two die marriages were used, both struck a mix of proof and business coins.

In the marriage I posted, the die deformity is used by TPGs to distinguish proof from business. That works if the mint switched from one to the other right at the point of that die deteriorating. No way we will ever know for certain probably. Then there are the coins from the other marriage that you posted. The TPGs shouldn't, but do, call every well circulated 1880 without the marker a proof, even in cases where there is no evidence left (strike strength, mirror fields, edge diagnostics) to make that call.

41✭✭✭I just want to remind the more pedantic posters that the OP asked if this

looked likea proof to me.Yes, it may have the markers, and yes, you can see more in the TrueView than in the pictures provided above. But I still see rounded rims, and I see marks on both sides that are obviously gouges in the original planchet. This should not be present if the planchet is specially prepared, or should have been fully squeezed shut by multiple strikes at high pressure.

So, yes, I guess it’s a proof.

But that was not the question asked. It sure

no proof to me.don’t look like2,845✭✭✭✭✭Those do not look like planchet flaws to me, nor were Proofs struck multiple times in 1909.

All Proofs until roughly the mid 1970s were struck once at high pressure on a medal press.

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.

41✭✭✭Thanks, I was murky on which years and mintages were struck twice. Good information.

Further, when I look at the mark at the bottom right of my markup of the reverse, it looks more like a strike-through. Somewhere in the last week I read that the proof dies were polished with a soft cloth, which would occasionally leave small threads on the surface of the die. This would not be a straight line like a scratch. This mark looks just what I would expect, and if true, would be a confirmation of a proof. (Sorry I can’t remember who to attribute this to.)

On the other hand, the obverse mark still makes me think it originates with the planchet. Here is a photo from PCGS. I have my own photo, but I like this one better today.

This closeup shows three planchet flaws that look like they might not be eradicated on striking. There are several more that are quite deep. To my thinking if these were in the field where metal is being pushed down by the die, they may remain as shallow remnants of the original flaw.

Of course, PCGS has photos of much better planchets, and striking those planchets would give a better coin.

I am raising more of a question than trying to make a point. If a proof coin needs to use a polished planchet, and if we see marks that come from a crappy planchet, does that mean the coin was not really intended to be a proof? This could be a chance for me to learn a bit more about the subtleties of matte proofs, in particular.

Disclaimer: I have 1910 and 1911 matte proofs and briefly had an ugly 1912. I have the book on them, but mostly can’t find the darned die markers, like that crescent shaped die gouge on the reverse. Yet they are confirmed as proofs and really look like it. So I am always trying to learn more about them.

2,701✭✭✭✭✭I remember the old saying "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is most likely a duck.

This coin does not look like a matte proof, walk like a matte proof, or quack like a matte proof, so it is probably not one?

We have to relie on the ibtty bitty scatches and planchete foibles to anoint it as an mpl. I was basically asking others

about there opinion as to what it is. I am not an expert on mpl's and have never claimed to be. Thanks for the good

information.

a.k.a "The BUFFINATOR"

2,845✭✭✭✭✭It's highly unlikely we'd see planchet flaws appear in the fields and not the devices. In every case I've seen planchet flaws, they are at the highest point of the devices, since that's where the metal has the hardest time flowing and filling the dies.

Metal most easily flows in the fields since that is where the dies make first contact.

To me, the marks look like scratches.

The "itty bitty" die markers are how every Matte Proof are attributed. There are no Matte Proofs that do not come from these dies and there are no Business Strikes that come from them either.

Simply because it's seen a bit of wear and tear does not remove the fact that it is a Proof. I would not be surprised if this was a coin struck as a Proof, deemed unsatisfactory due to the weaker rims, and released into circulation as was common practice. This still makes it a Proof.

Young Numismatist, Coin Photographer.