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LINCOLN CENT MATTE PROOF MINTAGES IN THE RED BOOK

This thread was one of my favorites back in 2008 at the time when Matte Proof Lincoln cents and especially the 1909 VDB MPL was all the rage on these boards. I have revived it on the Set Registry Forum for those Matte Proof Lincoln cent collectors who may remember it and those collectors who weren't here then. Lots of GOOD reading and appearances from a number of major collectors as well as Kevin Flynn and Roger Burdette who did most of the research that led to the Redbook changing mintage numbers for the MPL's. Enjoy. Steveimage



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I have just received my copy of the 2009 Red Book. I thought that since a number of MPL collectors are viewing this Set Registry forum it might be appropriate to get everyone's opinion about mintages of MPL's as reported in the Red Book. First I should say that I am an advocate for CONSISTENCY of reporting. When the Red Book reported the following mintages for each MPL for OVER 50 YEARS that meant something. Here is the numbers reported in the Red Book until 1998:



1909VDB.....420

1909.........2,198

1910.........2,405

1911.........1,733

1912.........2,145

1913.........2,848

1914.........1,365

1915.........1,150

1916.........1,050

Totals......15,314



Here are the numbers reported in the 2009 Red Book:



1909VDB...1,194

1909.........2,618

1910.........4,118

1911.........1,725

1912.........2,172

1913.........2,983

1914.........1,365

1915.........1,150

1916............600

Totals----17,925



I have discussed this subject with Roger Burdette (RWB) and Dennis Tucker (DENTUCK) over the years. Roger has done extensive research at the US Archives on this subject as had Kevin Flynn who originally got the Red Book to change the 1909VDB number from 420 to 1,194.

It has been the Red Book's intent to incorporate NEW information about mintages into the yearly updates. Somehow it seems that the only changes to mintages of Lincoln cents involves the MPL's. Now if you were to look at the reported numbers each year since 1998 in the Red Book you would see, for example, the 1911 going from 1,733 to 2,411 and then back to 1,725. In the 2009 Red Book, for the first time the 1916 is reported as 600 instead of the historically reported 1,050. I believe all this changing of mintage numbers of the MPL's is a disservice to the hobby because it is NOT accompanied with detail explainations of WHY the changes were made.



I think most of us knowledgeable MPL collectors KNOW that exact numbers are impossible to determine and existing supplies of MPL's are far less than original reported mintages. So why change numbers that the hobby had accepted for so many years? Fortunately, the other mintage reporting coin annuals such as Coin World's "2008 Guide to U.S.Coins" and Scott Travers "The Insider's Guide to US Coin Values-2008" have continued to report the historical numbers.



If you would care to comment on this subject I would like to know if it means anything to you when Red Book changes mintages. Is it confusing to have the 1909VDB reported as 1,194 instead of 420 when we all know less than 400 probably made it into collectors hands and less than 200 are currently in existence.



Steveimage
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Comments

  • BWRCBWRC Posts: 1,447 ✭✭✭
    They changed the 1916 cent mintage to be inline with the MP buffalo mintage? makes sense? Looks like the 1916 might get some upticks in price because of this?

    I wonder how they got the 1910 mintage up so high? I vote for the VDB mintage to return to 420!!

    Comments please from other MPL collectors.
    Brian Wagner Rare Coins, Specializing in PCGS graded, Shield, Liberty and Buffalo Nickels varieties.
  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,705 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well.....

    1909VDB...1,194 - Nuts- no way in heck
    1909.........2,618 - has to be below 2000
    1910.........4,118 - given the number of 1910's availble on any given day...3000
    1911.........1,725 - about right
    1912.........2,172 - about right
    1913.........2,983 - about right
    1914.........1,365 - about right
    1915.........1,150 - Maybe a few more than this
    1916............600 - I was thinking this is correct, but the last 6 months has seen several at auction, so now I am not sure.

    WS
    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
  • ambro51ambro51 Posts: 13,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Considering the short time the coins were actually minted with the VDB initials, it seems impossible for the medal room to have generated so many proof VDB's in that short time (Unless they were striking coins before the phila mint began business strikes). But who knows now a century removed. In addition to the Lincolns, there were 2175 IHC proofs done too.....must have been a busy time for them.

    Certainly the VDB is in a much shorter supply than all the rest, though historically the 1916 has been right alongside but underrecognized.
  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Considering the short time the coins were actually minted with the VDB initials, it seems impossible for the medal room to have generated so many proof VDB's in that short time (Unless they were striking coins before the phila mint began business strikes). But who knows now a century removed. In addition to the Lincolns, there were 2175 IHC proofs done too.....must have been a busy time for them.

    Certainly the VDB is in a much shorter supply than all the rest, though historically the 1916 has been right alongside but underrecognized. >>



    Ambro51,
    According to information in the National Archives as reported by Kevin Flynn in his book with John Wexler in 1996, page 349, "The Authoritative Reference on Lincoln Cents, there were 1,503 Lincoln cents struck on July 30, 1909. Of those 1,000 were deemed "accepted". In another document on August 2, 1909 1,194 were "delivered" from the metal room to the coiner. No other record of cents appeared until August 16, 1909 so IT WAS ASSUMED that all the above numbers represented 1909VDB Matte proof coins.

    As regarding the 1909 IHC, RWB in correspondence with me in 2004 reported the archives showed that 500 pieces each were "accepted" on January 5th, February 20th, March 6th, March 23rd and May 19th for a total of 2,500. In fact, the 2006 Red Book published 2,500 for the IHC. Red Book reverted back to the 2, 175 "historical" number for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 Red Books. Why? I think they just wanted to deal with MPL's. No other denominations mintages of that era were changed. Steveimage
  • STEWARTBLAYNUMISSTEWARTBLAYNUMIS Posts: 2,697 ✭✭✭✭

    Has PCGS or NGC ever certified a circulated Matte Proof Lincoln cent ?

    Since Steve started this thread I will throw this question at him.

    How many 1990 No S Proofs were struck ?
    I challenge anyone to show me evidence of more than 200 1990 No S proofs in existence.

    Ken Bresett and the people from the "Red Book" screwed up.All they proved by changing the mintage of matte Proof Lincoln cents is that they really don't know Jack Schit !!!!!

    Stewart Blay
  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Has PCGS or NGC ever certified a circulated Matte Proof Lincoln cent ?

    Since Steve started this thread I will throw this question at him.

    How many 1990 No S Proofs were struck ?
    I challenge anyone to show me evidence of more than 200 1990 No S proofs in existence.

    Ken Bresett and the people from the "Red Book" screwed up.All they proved by changing the mintage of matte Proof Lincoln cents is that they really don't know Jack Schit !!!!!

    Stewart Blay >>



    Stewart,
    According to the PCGS, NGC & ANACS pop reports as of about three weeks ago 14 Matte proof Lincoln cents have been certified circulated, all by ANACS. PCGS & NGC have certified NO MPL's lower than PR60. ANACS has 5 PR50's, 8 PR55's and 1 PR58.

    Nobody knows and nobody will EVER know how many 1990 No S proofs were struck. I agree with you that there are probably less than 200 in existence today. They must have the key diagnostic near the VDB on the shoulder rim to be legitimate.

    Stewart, I agree 100% with your third comment and I invite RWB and DENTUCK to comment.

    Steve image
  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,705 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would agree with Stewart in that there has to be some circulated Mattes. in fact, I think the research of Matte dies used for circulation coinage would prove interesting.

    WS
    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭
    Hi Steve,

    I published my Lincoln cent book in 1996, as part of this I searched for information
    on the Matte proofs which I published in my book.

    I found that the matte proof counts went back to 1947, when we asked for totals
    from the Mint, these were printed back in the 1947 Numismatic Scrapbook. These totals
    were not verified independently.

    The totals I found and published were those discovered at the National Archives reflecting the
    totals from two books, one which shows the number struck and accepted as good, and the
    second, the number accepted by the Coiner.

    I published a 4 page article on this outlining how some of the totals were incorrect.
    A summation of my suggested changes were

    For some years such as 1914 and 1915, the number of specimens which were struck and categorized as “accepted” and delivered to the Coiner as “good” matches the total count of Lincoln cent proofs in the Red book for that year. The totals for 1916 were obviously not all entered in these two books and therefore cannot be used.

    For 1912 and 1913, then number struck and the number delivered do not match up. But it is obvious that some of the delivery dates were not written down. The number struck and categorized as acceptable, however, is close to the number listed in the Red Book.

    For 1911, the number accepted and the number delivered as good match up and is different than the number in the Red Book. The total number in the Red Book for 1911 should be changed to 2411.

    For 1910, the number struck and categorized as acceptable is 4083, though the total number delivered for some dates was rounded off and should not be used. The Red Book has 2405 as the total number of 1910 proofs. This number should be changed to 4083.

    The total number of 1909 VDB proofs is greatly underestimated in the Red Book. As 1194 were delivered from the Medal Room to the Coiner on August 2, 1909 with the notation “One Cent New Design”. As production on the Lincoln cent was started on August 2, 1909 and was stopped on August 5, 1909, and the next date proofs were struck is August 16, 1909, it can be easily assumed that 1194 only reflects the total number of 1909 VDB proofs.

    As only acceptable proofs were delivered to the Coiner in 1909, the total delivered is not broken down into good and no good, and the number is less than the number struck for that date. Therefore, the number of 1909 Plain proofs can be calculated as the total number delivered in 1909 minus the number of 1909 VDB proofs, which is 2352. This should be changed in the Red book.


    Now of course, the Mint could have melted coins, they could have thrown them in with the normal circulated strikes, or done
    anything else with them. There is no record of anything being done with them such as melting, and other records regarding actual
    sales were destroyed years ago.


    Totals need to reflect a consistent basis for their determination. The standard the mint uses is the coins which are delivered to the Coiner
    to be used by the Superintendent.

    I requested changes only when I knew the amounts reflected that which was delivered as usable to the coiner.

    I will gladly answer any questions as to my research

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin Flynn
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭
    Hi Brian,

    The total number of 1909 VDB proofs is greatly underestimated in the Red Book. As 1194 were delivered from the Medal Room to the Coiner on August 2, 1909 with the notation “One Cent New Design”. As production on the Lincoln cent was started on August 2, 1909 and was stopped on August 5, 1909, and the next date proofs were struck is August 16, 1909, it can be easily assumed that 1194 only reflects the total number of 1909 VDB proofs.

    If you can show me records which show that these coins were melted or somehow not sold I will gladly publish an update.

    I understand most collectors believe we should be able to use counts which are closely reflected to those certified.

    Should we also do the same for the Indians and Two, especially give hundreds of thousands were melted between 1871 and 1880
    how would the the counts match up?

    What if many of these were sold and used in circulation, melted years later, do we reduce the counts based upon estimates?
    I know several collectors that cherry pick matte buff and Linc listed as business strikes.

    Where did the 420 come from?

    Thanks
    Kevin



    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Well.....

    1909VDB...1,194 - Nuts- no way in heck
    1909.........2,618 - has to be below 2000
    1910.........4,118 - given the number of 1910's availble on any given day...3000
    1911.........1,725 - about right
    1912.........2,172 - about right
    1913.........2,983 - about right
    1914.........1,365 - about right
    1915.........1,150 - Maybe a few more than this
    1916............600 - I was thinking this is correct, but the last 6 months has seen several at auction, so now I am not sure.

    WS >>




    WS,

    Please explain where the 420 comes from, and why 1194 is not feasable for 1909 VDB.
    The total number of 1909 VDB proofs is greatly underestimated in the Red Book. As 1194 were delivered from the Medal Room to the Coiner on August 2, 1909 with the notation “One Cent New Design”. As production on the Lincoln cent was started on August 2, 1909 and was stopped on August 5, 1909, and the next date proofs were struck is August 16, 1909, it can be easily assumed that 1194 only reflects the total number of 1909 VDB proofs.

    On the 1916, I stated that the Archive books for those years were not fully entered and stated that the 600 that were
    listed should not be used as a basis.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • pennyanniepennyannie Posts: 3,929 ✭✭✭
    Did 1000's upon 1000's of MPL sit at the mint for years andyears? How were they finally dispersed if that is correct? Is that something you had to "know at the time to ask" or was there articles published in newspapers etc? What was the going rate to buy one in 1950 or when ever? I know the basic story behind the morgan silver dollars, silver certificates and what not. Is it any different today at the mint? I do not assume they sell out of every single product they produce each year. Do they hold the inventory or???
    Mark
    NGC registry V-Nickel proof #6!!!!
    working on proof shield nickels # 8 with a bullet!!!!

    RIP "BEAR"
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Did 1000's upon 1000's of MPL sit at the mint for years andyears? How were they finally dispersed if that is correct? Is that something you had to "know at the time to ask" or was there articles published in newspapers etc? What was the going rate to buy one in 1950 or when ever? I know the basic story behind the morgan silver dollars, silver certificates and what not. Is it any different today at the mint? I do not assume they sell out of every single product they produce each year. Do they hold the inventory or??? >>



    During different periods they did different things. Many times, they held inventory until it sold.

    For proofs, during the 1860s, they held left over sets for several years, during the 1870s, it was sold or else, none were sold
    the year after they were minted, but they also struck as needed to not have a surplus.

    During the 1909-1916, not sure as those records on sales and what they did with the coins were destroyed.
    I have not looked at old Numismatists which might give a hint from collectors who were ordering.

    If you look at my book, I publish when they were struck and delivered, as self evident, not all at once, over the course
    of the year as needed. I believe if the coins struck in the beginning of the year were not sold, they would not have
    struck more later.


    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • BWRCBWRC Posts: 1,447 ✭✭✭

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your comments.

    PCGS pop numbers for the 1909 VDB MPL cents all grades/colors 1986 to date is 97 coins graded.
    PCGS pop numbers for the 1916 MPL cent all grades/colors 1986 to date is 172 coins graded.

    Putting mintage numbers aside. The question I have to this board is the population reports show at "pattern" when comparing the 1909 VDB numbers vs the 1916 numbers that one of the following statement has to be true.

    The 1909 VDB MPL cent mintage is much lower than the 1916.
    A large percentage of 1909 VDB MPL cents were melted after production.
    Any other suggestions?
    Brian Wagner Rare Coins, Specializing in PCGS graded, Shield, Liberty and Buffalo Nickels varieties.
  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭
    Kevin,
    Thank you so much for joining this discussion. I hope Roger joins this thread also because both of you are instrumental in the numbers shown in the 2009 Red Book for each year of the MPL's. Kevin's research WAS nicely documented in his 1996 book and I encourage all MPL collectors to read it. There were TWO records maintained for the 1909-1916 Matte proofs and they provided conflicting numbers. Some of the recent changes to Red Book (ie) 1909 non VDB from 2,352 to 2,648 was because of Roger's different interpretation of the two records. By the way, the historically reported totals for 1909VDB of 420 and 1909 (nonVDB) of 2,198 add to 2,618 which is the EXACt number Red Book now shows for the 1909 nonVDB. It is partially this subjective interpretation of information that causes me to wonder WHY we needed to attempt to change historically reported numbers. If they were absolutely consistent back then, well that would be a different story. Change just for change sake is NOT in the best interest of the hobby IMHO. Steveimage
  • ambro51ambro51 Posts: 13,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Would it not be probable, that the mint offered the VDB proof for sale up to the point the new NON vdb coin was avaialble? This all spans just a few days..... Maybe they delivered 1194 vdb's but
    they only sold 420 before the new plain proofs were available, and just melted the rest of the VDB?S, since the mint would not have sold both issues.

    The mint had just went through panic mode over those initials Ill bet they were happy to pitch them into the furnace.....
  • pennyanniepennyannie Posts: 3,929 ✭✭✭
    The 1909 VDB MPL's are probably sitting in a little bitty box on a shelf, under a shelf, in a drawer, in a closet some where at the mint. Or maybe an employee took them home to give to his kid for allowance. Just give me 2 hours alone at the mint and i bet i could dig up or make a few nice coins! I appreciate the input on this thread. I will get the book. I like to read about this kind of histroy. You can never have to much in your libary. Mark
    Mark
    NGC registry V-Nickel proof #6!!!!
    working on proof shield nickels # 8 with a bullet!!!!

    RIP "BEAR"
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭
    Food for thought here.

    For the Morgans, they were first struck because Germany was dumping thousands of pounds
    of silver on the Market.

    I believe only about 5-10% of the Morgs were distributed at that time. The majority of them
    were put into the vaults at the Mints. Millions were melted based upon the Pitman act I believe
    in 1918, and also in the 1920s, up through the 1960s they were melted as bullion.

    Many of the millions left over were sold to collectors in the early 1960s.

    Point being the majority of them were never distributed and melted. They are still included in the
    mintage counts. Why? Simply because they did not count the melts for each date and mintmark
    and therefore could not give an exact count for each.

    But given that millions were never distributed and melted, the pop counts are not reflective and cannot
    be used as a indicator to determine the actual mintage.

    On the other hand, if a series is not distributed, melted and counted, the accepted totals can be adjusted.
    For example, for many of the commens, they were returned to the mint unsold and melted. The accepted
    mintage is equal to the number struck minus the number melted.

    For the matte proofs, as there is no melt counts, we must accept the number struck and delivered to the
    coiner as the mintage.

    Even if these coins were dumped into circulation, which has happened for some proof years, these are still
    counted in the proof counts.

    On the 1894-S dimes, even though we know 3 coins were assayed and the normal process as part of the assay
    is being melted, we still count 24 coins, which is the number struck.

    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>The 1909 VDB MPL's are probably sitting in a little bitty box on a shelf, under a shelf, in a drawer, in a closet some where at the mint. Or maybe an employee took them home to give to his kid for allowance. Just give me 2 hours alone at the mint and i bet i could dig up or make a few nice coins! I appreciate the input on this thread. I will get the book. I like to read about this kind of histroy. You can never have to much in your libary. Mark >>



    Hi Mark,

    Another scenario which happens much more often than you think, a collector purchases coins through his life time. Does not keep
    a detailed list, dies, the person who inherits does not know what they are, Mattes sometimes might like like normal coins if you do not know
    what to look for, and uses them in change, they become circulated, and later melted.

    These coins went through the depression period, might some have been used during that period for food?

    One would think that collectors knew of the new Lincoln cent, grabbed up the proofs of a new coin as they did all
    new coins and stashed them away somewhere.

    But again, as the Mattes do not have the proof mirror surfaces, unless you are a collector and know what you are looking
    at, do you think people who received these collections over the years knew what they had and properly saved them?
    Of course I have no proof of this, it is only a theory and belief.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • Stewart is on the money - the Red Book messed up. Kevin Flynn comes along and does something that sure looks like 'research' to me..... If the numbers are directly from the mint records, why not make the changes? Do we want fact or fantasy? Take your pick. And the certified populations (relative or otherwise) are not to be trusted as any genuine indication of ‘rarity’, and I will explain my thoughts…….

    Two points I throw into the mix is 1) that of the times these coins were made and 2) human nature. Get outside the vacuum with me and humor me for one moment, please.

    In 1909, proof specimens of the "new penny" were sent not only to collectors, but given as "PR" specimens to congressmen and government representatives, as Brenner was brought in as an 'outside' designer, and the President had to 'sell' his great new idea to the decision makers. And Barber, the inside sculptor, was not at all pleased with having outside contractors (VDB, St. Gaudens) coming in doing his job (that's embarrassing, no?). How could many 1909 VDB mattes sit in family collections in congressional and estates, and as souvenir sin penny boards, as two tiny examples? Certified populations do not mean a thing (sorry Brian, I do understand your point, but see it differently).

    On another level, as it turned out, the general population utterly hated this particular type of 'proof', because it wasn't "shiny" and it looked like any old ‘for circulation’ coin.

    So, by the time 1916 rolled around, some collectors were still interested in making purchase to complete their collections, but no senators needed to receive PR tokens, because the series was a failure, and the President's matte 'project' was being scraped. Most likely, the mintages were lowered, sales not made, etc. The War raging is just another sideline to a bigger story. Remember, the matte and satin sandblasting/acid etching methods derived from Paris, and in WWI, people did have different feelings about certain European countries, for all the perceptive reasons people create. And maybe people were occupied with thoughts beyond matte proof pennies that came from Paris, of all places.

    My point is simple: This is just a case of a coin, and numbers, but to remove it from the historical context and people of the time, in my opinion, is a mistake.

    If a 1909VDB Matte 'hoard' was found, or many examples sit in private collections, and eventually become known trough certification, I would not be a bit surprised. I hoard of 1914, 1915 or 1916 mattes, or changes in the 'relative' certified populations of those coins, would surprise me greatly.

    Food for thought, that’s all.
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your comments.

    PCGS pop numbers for the 1909 VDB MPL cents all grades/colors 1986 to date is 97 coins graded.
    PCGS pop numbers for the 1916 MPL cent all grades/colors 1986 to date is 172 coins graded.

    Putting mintage numbers aside. The question I have to this board is the population reports show at "pattern" when comparing the 1909 VDB numbers vs the 1916 numbers that one of the following statement has to be true.

    The 1909 VDB MPL cent mintage is much lower than the 1916.
    A large percentage of 1909 VDB MPL cents were melted after production.
    Any other suggestions? >>



    Hi Brian,

    I remember there was a small book on Lincoln cent Matte Proofs done in the 70s, if I remember right
    is was primarily based on one individual who had 100 of each date.
    I think I remember talking to J.P. Martin about this

    Imagine what they would be worth today if they kept them together.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Kevin,
    Thank you so much for joining this discussion. I hope Roger joins this thread also because both of you are instrumental in the numbers shown in the 2009 Red Book for each year of the MPL's. Kevin's research WAS nicely documented in his 1996 book and I encourage all MPL collectors to read it. There were TWO records maintained for the 1909-1916 Matte proofs and they provided conflicting numbers. Some of the recent changes to Red Book (ie) 1909 non VDB from 2,352 to 2,648 was because of Roger's different interpretation of the two records. By the way, the historically reported totals for 1909VDB of 420 and 1909 (nonVDB) of 2,198 add to 2,618 which is the EXACt number Red Book now shows for the 1909 nonVDB. It is partially this subjective interpretation of information that causes me to wonder WHY we needed to attempt to change historically reported numbers. If they were absolutely consistent back then, well that would be a different story. Change just for change sake is NOT in the best interest of the hobby IMHO. Steveimage >>



    Hi Steve,

    I anything else, I believe the Red Book should give a brief summation of what the totals are reflective of so as
    to educate the reader.

    I disagree regarding the historically reported numbers, that we should use them, the Mint gave us these in 1947, we accepted
    as factual without question or verification. These were incorrect.
    If we have absolute proof about mintages, the totals should be reflective of those mintages.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Would it not be probable, that the mint offered the VDB proof for sale up to the point the new NON vdb coin was avaialble? This all spans just a few days..... Maybe they delivered 1194 vdb's but
    they only sold 420 before the new plain proofs were available, and just melted the rest of the VDB?S, since the mint would not have sold both issues.

    The mint had just went through panic mode over those initials Ill bet they were happy to pitch them into the furnace..... >>



    Yes it is possible that the mint melted them, but they are there to make a profit and sell. Also, there is such a high
    demand for a new series, I believe (but cannot prove) these would have gone out the first day.

    Did they melt the 1909 VDB or 1909-S VDBs? I do not believe so, but if they were in a panic mode, they would have melted all
    and all of the totals would have to be adjusted for business strikes and proofs.

    Also, I believe I remember they were sold in sets, do you believe the sets were held up so as to wait for the new coins?

    I am into heavy research now in the 1870s in the archives, it was legal to strike patterns and sell them as proofs, collectors
    were specifically ordering patterns as part of their proof sets for new series and the Mint was more than happy to sell them.
    Do you think the Mint would not want to sell something they could make money on?

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭
    When I first wrote my book and showed Ken Bressett my research, Ken beleived the archive data,
    but was extremely hesitant on changing the counts based on 'accepted' counts, and collectors
    having the perception that the Red book changes to quickly.

    I had to publish my book, an extensive article, and went overboard to see if there were any other
    data that was published or not yet published which could contradict this information.

    If the Red book has changed again, then they just need to list where and what they are
    basing their info on.

    I am ok with change, so long as it is supported with actual data. The facts will speak for themselves.

    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Has PCGS or NGC ever certified a circulated Matte Proof Lincoln cent ?

    Since Steve started this thread I will throw this question at him.

    How many 1990 No S Proofs were struck ?
    I challenge anyone to show me evidence of more than 200 1990 No S proofs in existence.

    Ken Bresett and the people from the "Red Book" screwed up.All they proved by changing the mintage of matte Proof Lincoln cents is that they really don't know Jack Schit !!!!!

    Stewart Blay >>



    Hi Stewart

    On the 1990 No S, the San Fran Mint did not find these while in production, nor did they know the die, and how many
    it was used to strike. After the article was first published on the 90 No S, the Mint search through and found 145 sets
    with a No S. They estimated 3,700 as that was the average for a Linc proof die.

    I remember in the early 90s talking to a coiner at the San Fran Mint who was there in 75 when the Jeff No S were struck. They
    were found by the Mint, and they went through every set they had to find all. As it was first found at the Mint early, very few
    got out.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • ambro51ambro51 Posts: 13,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    .... from todays viewpoint.....theres no way nearly 1200 VDB proofs were struck and entered the collector market back in 1909. Where are they now? Where were they Ever?

    I stick with the theory there may have been nearly 1200 stuck, but since they were still within the mint system they would not have been sold as soon as word went out they were being discontinued and replaced with initialless coins.


    As for losing money by melting 600 vdb proofs, what was the list price on them then, wasnt it 13 cents and you got the nickel too? image
  • DMWJRDMWJR Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭✭✭
    no way there were 1200 vdb's.
    Doug
  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭


    << <i>

    Hi Steve,

    I anything else, I believe the Red Book should give a brief summation of what the totals are reflective of so as
    to educate the reader.

    I disagree regarding the historically reported numbers, that we should use them, the Mint gave us these in 1947, we accepted
    as factual without question or verification. These were incorrect.
    If we have absolute proof about mintages, the totals should be reflective of those mintages.

    Thanks
    Kevin >>



    Kevin, I believe your participation here is educational to us MPL collectors. Thanks again. I must question your above comment that we have absolute proof about mintages from the fact that there existed the two Metal and Coin books for calendar years 1906 thru 1916. The key to using these numbers would be CONSISTENCY. You CHOSE which set of numbers to use for each year. When the number accepted in one book agreed with the number good in the second book it was easy. 1911, 1914, 1915 agreed and 1914 and 1915 turned out to be exactly what the historically reported numbers were. It got harder when the numbers didn't agree like 1910. You chose to use the "accepted" number of 4,083. Roger chose to use the "good" number of 4.118. For 1912 you decided that the disputed number of either 2,172 or 2,097 was "close enough" to the historically reported number of 2,145 so you didn't push the Red Book to change it. Roger decided to go with the 2,172 number accepted. For 1911 Roger has apparently gotten some "other" information that disputes the two Metal and Coin books number of 2,411 and now the Red Book shows 1,725. This "number is only 8 pieces short of the historically reported number for 1911 of 1,733. I have not even mentioned the 1909VDB, the 1909 nonVDB or the 1916 because they too are controversal.

    My point in all this is that there is NO ABSOLUTE proof in ANY of the numbers. NOBODY knows for sure what the correct number should be. Why not accept the number struck, even if some were "no good". Does anybody currently question the number of modern reported mintages which reach into the billions each year. I note most are rounded to the nearest thousand.

    I fully recognize and appreciate that you and RWB have done lots of research at the archives on this subject. But in the end you both come away with your OWN conclusions about what the numbers say. Most of us MPL collectors would love to see CONSISTENT numbers from these records. Without such consistency how can you say the historically reported numbers were wrong? Perhaps they came from records of the period that have since been distroyed. I don't know and I don't think anyone really knows. So why change THIS history? I understand your desire to provide new information but unless it is irrefutable and is applied CONSISTENTLY to all MPL's it shouldn't be used IMHO. I'm sure Roger has his own comments and I hope he comments too. Steveimage
  • Steve-

    Thanks for starting this string.

    The topic is practical and important. No one of us knows what the 'real' numbers are, but in the case of the 1916 numbers, in my opinion, 600 may be close. Who knows? The mint itself stop keeping the recording book; that's how much public support the matte series had. Without a time machine, it's highly speculative anyway, but Kevin's numbers are the best formal 'evidence' I've ever seen in my limited experience. And whether it's truly 420 or 1,194 for the VDB or 1,050 or 600 minted/sold for the 1916, we are still looking at low mintage coins. This puts the perception of the 'rare' 1909-S VDB firmly in perspective. Back to "value", it's quite relative, obviously. Supply and demand. If the population, outside of the matte Lincoln community, were aware that these 'jewels' even existed, and how beautiful some of these coins have toned, I believe the coins would be coveted as the prizes that they are, and the true 'value' of the coins (especially the higher end) would reflect in the market much more quickly. When (if) the demand ever catches up with the reality of the difficulty in obtaining quality matte Lincolns, the market will correct, and the value should in theory increase, right? I do believe we are seeing a correction before our eyes right now re the sale of the 'common' 1914 MPL, with a soaring (and indisputed) mintage of 1,365. Thank you Stewart Blay and Kevin Flynn! Look at the people in the top five registry sets, for a very basic example, and imagine the vision that it took to be out there publically buying these coins in the early years out of beauty, forsight, luck?

    Any good public relations people out there?? Bang your drums, will ya. Brian, got any good candidates for a story?? I can think of a few image
  • Kevin-

    I appreciate your research, and asked my associate to do a little research on the copper industry in the early 1900s. It turns out, as many of you may know (I did not) that the copper industry, and specifically the supply of copper during that time period was economically manipulated, especially n the early years of the Lincoln cent. For example, http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/mining_and_railroads/coppermining.html is a good example of the cut off copper supply that the U.S. government was dealing with from about 1912 onward. This would explain why the copper in the 1912 cent has such a 'different' look to it, generally. We are going to do so additional research to see if any government sponsored copper recalls were presented in the time frame for melting due to the war and to counter the private industry squeeze.

    With all the research you have done, have you encountered or examined this particular issue? This goes back to the obvious issue of lower mintages in the later prroof years, and also to the question someone in the string posed "what happenned to the coins"? One boom year's 1910 may have become a leaner year's nice 1915 a few years later!!

    The entire issue interests me, and answers to some of these questions would put alot of the puzzle pieces together. Low mintages because of metal shortage + incentive to melt for a war effort (like in WWII) and because the government was being extorted by private copper interests would make sense as to what happenned to many of these matte cents, which people of that era honestly perceived to be "too close" to good circulation strikes to be of 'true' value anyway, which was also a point slyly made earlier.

    Thanks in advance for anything you may have already stumbled across.

    Sincerely,
    Duane Blake
  • RWBRWB Posts: 8,082
    Steve asked if I'd offer a comment or two.

    All I’ll add to your discussion are:
    1) The quantity of “420” for 1909-VDB matte proofs was calculated and appears nowhere in original mint documents. Information provided to publishers in 1938 rolls all 1909 Lincoln proofs into one quantity. The only contemporary production quantities are 1,000+ pieces struck and accepted by the coiner.

    2) We have no way to do more than estimate the quantity of any matte proof Lincoln (or Buffalo) that might still exist. The coins were only 2-cents each when issued and were not considered very desirable at that time. A presumption that they were some how considered “valuable” is historically incorrect – an imposition of modern conditions on the past.

    3) The anecdote noted in a old Numismatist article that mint employees bought many of the first proofs as souvenirs is as valid as any other assumption. (See Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915 for the references and quotes.) How many impaired 1909-VDB proofs are there? How many of other dates? That many small collections were cashed in to buy necessities is documented for the 1930-1939 period – yet, these were the primary buyers of minor proof sets – at 7-cents per set. (Again, see RAC 1909-1915 for the story of collector Giles Anderson.)

    4) The presumption of any research into original sources is that the people compiling the production journals were honest and did their best in reporting events. The quantities reported in contemporary documents are what they are – they do not change because we, now, think there are less or more of some particular coin.

    5) The Guide Book folks are, I think, trying to be consistent in settling on the best set of quantities that are supported by contemporary documents. Those who disagree are welcome to go and do the research themselves in the hope they can discover something better.

    6) There are dozens of 19th century proof coins for which we have no contemporary information – only the mint’s 1938 lists. This might be fruitful ground for research.
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>no way there were 1200 vdb's. >>



    Doug,

    We know absolutely that 1194 were struck and delivered to the coiner.
    We know there is no existing melt counts for these.

    What are you basing you statement on? Because the pop counts do not
    reflect these?

    For the 1894-S Barber Dimes, they struck 24, the lowest mintage U.S. coin business strike
    ever. Why are there only 10 known today, roughly 40% of the mintage struck. Collectors
    knew right away it was there and a low mintage.

    This is only one example, I can show you other series which are not reflective.

    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>

    Hi Steve,

    I anything else, I believe the Red Book should give a brief summation of what the totals are reflective of so as
    to educate the reader.

    I disagree regarding the historically reported numbers, that we should use them, the Mint gave us these in 1947, we accepted
    as factual without question or verification. These were incorrect.
    If we have absolute proof about mintages, the totals should be reflective of those mintages.

    Thanks
    Kevin >>



    Kevin, I believe your participation here is educational to us MPL collectors. Thanks again. I must question your above comment that we have absolute proof about mintages from the fact that there existed the two Metal and Coin books for calendar years 1906 thru 1916. The key to using these numbers would be CONSISTENCY. You CHOSE which set of numbers to use for each year. When the number accepted in one book agreed with the number good in the second book it was easy. 1911, 1914, 1915 agreed and 1914 and 1915 turned out to be exactly what the historically reported numbers were. It got harder when the numbers didn't agree like 1910. You chose to use the "accepted" number of 4,083. Roger chose to use the "good" number of 4.118. For 1912 you decided that the disputed number of either 2,172 or 2,097 was "close enough" to the historically reported number of 2,145 so you didn't push the Red Book to change it. Roger decided to go with the 2,172 number accepted. For 1911 Roger has apparently gotten some "other" information that disputes the two Metal and Coin books number of 2,411 and now the Red Book shows 1,725. This "number is only 8 pieces short of the historically reported number for 1911 of 1,733. I have not even mentioned the 1909VDB, the 1909 nonVDB or the 1916 because they too are controversal.

    My point in all this is that there is NO ABSOLUTE proof in ANY of the numbers. NOBODY knows for sure what the correct number should be. Why not accept the number struck, even if some were "no good". Does anybody currently question the number of modern reported mintages which reach into the billions each year. I note most are rounded to the nearest thousand.

    I fully recognize and appreciate that you and RWB have done lots of research at the archives on this subject. But in the end you both come away with your OWN conclusions about what the numbers say. Most of us MPL collectors would love to see CONSISTENT numbers from these records. Without such consistency how can you say the historically reported numbers were wrong? Perhaps they came from records of the period that have since been distroyed. I don't know and I don't think anyone really knows. So why change THIS history? I understand your desire to provide new information but unless it is irrefutable and is applied CONSISTENTLY to all MPL's it shouldn't be used IMHO. I'm sure Roger has his own comments and I hope he comments too. Steveimage >>




    Hi Steve,

    I agree that there should be consistency. I need to read through Roger's information, which knowing Roger, he would not have
    published unless he could back up. I will get back on that after reviewing.

    It is not about providing new information, it is more about validating the information there. Walter Breen actually got me writing,
    as when I start researching what he claimed was fact. I found that he was incorrect based upon archive informaiton. I question
    and attempt to validate everything when I research a series.

    In looking at the larger picture though, I believe the counts delivered to the Coiner are the counts consistently used for most of the
    series in the 19th and early 20th century.

    Ken was right when he told me that he does not like to change because he knew that collectors do not like change, or appearing
    inconsistent, but at the same time, he wants to report from the best possible and most reliable information.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Kevin-

    I appreciate your research, and asked my associate to do a little research on the copper industry in the early 1900s. It turns out, as many of you may know (I did not) that the copper industry, and specifically the supply of copper during that time period was economically manipulated, especially n the early years of the Lincoln cent. For example, http://historytogo.utah.gov/utah_chapters/mining_and_railroads/coppermining.html is a good example of the cut off copper supply that the U.S. government was dealing with from about 1912 onward. This would explain why the copper in the 1912 cent has such a 'different' look to it, generally. We are going to do so additional research to see if any government sponsored copper recalls were presented in the time frame for melting due to the war and to counter the private industry squeeze.

    With all the research you have done, have you encountered or examined this particular issue? This goes back to the obvious issue of lower mintages in the later prroof years, and also to the question someone in the string posed "what happenned to the coins"? One boom year's 1910 may have become a leaner year's nice 1915 a few years later!!

    The entire issue interests me, and answers to some of these questions would put alot of the puzzle pieces together. Low mintages because of metal shortage + incentive to melt for a war effort (like in WWII) and because the government was being extorted by private copper interests would make sense as to what happenned to many of these matte cents, which people of that era honestly perceived to be "too close" to good circulation strikes to be of 'true' value anyway, which was also a point slyly made earlier.

    Thanks in advance for anything you may have already stumbled across.

    Sincerely,
    Duane Blake >>



    Hi Duane,

    Thanks, I did not know about the copper industry at that time, most of the general archive records stop at 1904.
    You bring some good questions which need to be addressed and some interesting ideas.
    If I get time someday to rewrite the ARLC, I will look at those angles.

    Can't remember, but Roger might have addressed some of these in his book.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Steve asked if I'd offer a comment or two.

    All I’ll add to your discussion are:
    1) The quantity of “420” for 1909-VDB matte proofs was calculated and appears nowhere in original mint documents. Information provided to publishers in 1938 rolls all 1909 Lincoln proofs into one quantity. The only contemporary production quantities are 1,000+ pieces struck and accepted by the coiner.

    2) We have no way to do more than estimate the quantity of any matte proof Lincoln (or Buffalo) that might still exist. The coins were only 2-cents each when issued and were not considered very desirable at that time. A presumption that they were some how considered “valuable” is historically incorrect – an imposition of modern conditions on the past.

    3) The anecdote noted in a old Numismatist article that mint employees bought many of the first proofs as souvenirs is as valid as any other assumption. (See Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915 for the references and quotes.) How many impaired 1909-VDB proofs are there? How many of other dates? That many small collections were cashed in to buy necessities is documented for the 1930-1939 period – yet, these were the primary buyers of minor proof sets – at 7-cents per set. (Again, see RAC 1909-1915 for the story of collector Giles Anderson.)

    4) The presumption of any research into original sources is that the people compiling the production journals were honest and did their best in reporting events. The quantities reported in contemporary documents are what they are – they do not change because we, now, think there are less or more of some particular coin.

    5) The Guide Book folks are, I think, trying to be consistent in settling on the best set of quantities that are supported by contemporary documents. Those who disagree are welcome to go and do the research themselves in the hope they can discover something better.

    6) There are dozens of 19th century proof coins for which we have no contemporary information – only the mint’s 1938 lists. This might be fruitful ground for research. >>



    Hi Roger,

    Good stuff, I will have to go back and read what else you had found, sounds like you found alot more which added clarity.

    I believe one going point that Ken might consider is providing a small explanation in the Red book as to the basis of the
    Matte counts.

    The only point I would tend to disagree on is number 2, most almost all of the late 19th century, especially in the 1860s and
    1870s when we were getting many new series, a much higher percentage of collectors were order proofs and specifically seeking
    the new coins. I do not have direct proof that this occurred in 1909, but have a belief the same happened. Besides commems, first
    new regular issue series in years, would probably have been kind of exciting.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • RWBRWB Posts: 8,082
    Re: Hypothesis concerning copper shortages, etc.

    In going through mint documents – page by page – from about 1873 through 1922, and later from 1933-1946, there is no mention of any shortage of copper at the mints at any time until 1941. (The War Production Board, Copper Branch, identified multiple restraints on production growth beginning in 1939-40 – this forced allocation of copper in early 1941.

    WW-I was a much more limited conflict than WW-II and most sources of metal remained available to the US. Although neutral until April 1917, US industry and agriculture made handsome profits supplying both sides with war materials and munitions. (There was also considerable reluctance to enter the war on Britain’s side due to the treatment of Irish during the 1916 independence riots and insurrection.) The government also nationalized railroads during WW-I so that military and food shipments could be given priority. Following the war there was a period when the price of silver soared to excess of the $1.2929 monetary value, and some members of Congress called for debasing the coinage or removing silver altogether. Great Britain and many other countries did debase coinage, and the huge release of silver depressed markets for many years.

    The total face value of all matte proof Lincolns struck is less than $200 and the copper value was only about 20% of that at market peaks. This was equivalent to a few hours accumulation of scrap metal at the Philadelphia Mint.
  • DMWJRDMWJR Posts: 5,975 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hi Kevin,

    I think we have three questions going on here, and we are treating them as one question:

    1. How many 1909 vdb proofs were actually coined?
    2. How many 1909 vdb proofs were released from the mint?
    3. How many 1909 vdb proofs currently exist?

    I realize you are taking an approach that the number must be backed up by credible evidence, and at this point all we really have are written records to rely on. I also don't deny that almost 1,200 were coined. I take issue with any supposition that 1,200 actually left the mint (I don't think you are saying that though).

    Obviously, we as collectors look toward mintage figures to help discern the availability of a particular issue. Roger's point #2 is that we can only estimate the quantity of MPLs that might still exist, and that is true of every issue, not just MPLs or even Lincolns for that matter.

    Roger, I have a slight disagreement with the later part of point #2 that "the coins were only 2-cents each when issued and were not considered very desirable at that time." I agree that this was the general sentiment of MPLs in general for 1909-1916, however this particular issue is about the one with VDB's initials on it. Everyone at that time knew very quickly that any Lincoln cent with VDB on it held the potential for value, and I would tend to think that a Proof example with a VDB would be especially thought of by the public.

    I have various newspaper articles from that week in August of 1909, and all discuss popularity of the new Lincoln cent, and within a few days -- those Lincoln cents with VDB on them.

    Leon Worden wrote most recently in the November 2007 issue of COINage Magazine:

    Released Aug. 2, the new cents were wildly popular and were sold in the streets for a premium; it was the first time in history that a U.S. president appeared on a regular-issue coin. By Aug. 3, congressional critics who were still chagrined over the executive branch's departure from the Liberty head tradition, complained that the designer's initials on the reverse were too prominent.
    By Aug. 5, Treasury officials had decided to remove them and all hell broke loose as speculators scrambled for every example they could find, in hopes the limited-issue design would soar in value.
    "So great did the crush become [at the New York City Subtreasury] in Pine Street, from Nassau to William Street, that the police reserves had to be called out," The New York Times reported Aug. 6.
    The initials came off. Brenner was incensed. Depicting a president might be new, but a designer's initials weren't. East Coast speculators never reaped their profits; nearly 28 million "VDB" cents had rolled out of the Philadelphia Mint. (West Coasters fared considerably better, with only 484,000 examples from the San Francisco Mint.)


    So, combining common sense, the best empirical evidence available (including newspapers of the period), and the fact that there are less than 200 examples certified, I don't see any way that 1,200 actually left the mint, and probably a number closer to 420 did. But we are talking about the mintage, right?

    For 1933 double eagles, the Red Book states that the mintage was 445,500, but there is a note to the side that states none were released for circulation. We also know that a dozen or so actually exist today, having left the mint various ways other than the front door. Should that mintage figure be changed in the Red Book? Probably not.

    There is credible evidence that suggest that the actual number of proof vdbs released was much smaller than the mintage number. What that number is -- no one knows at this point.
    Doug
  • ambro51ambro51 Posts: 13,598 ✭✭✭✭✭
    A previous thread dealt with the pure survival numbers, and on the average it seemed to be 35 - 40 percent survial. In using that as a base, the 420 VDB number seems much more in keeping with the 97 pcgs coins.

    This is a very interesting discussion, we need an ayatholla of collection like QDB to chime in from the clouds and set us all straight.

    Where is Walter Breen when ya need him?

    Im gonna go make popcorn. heres a 1909 for intermission. (does it have initials, or Dosent it?)

    image
  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭
    Doug, the fact is we can question almost ANY numbers thrown out there. Since you are hitting on the 1909VDB's, just reviewing Kevin's excellent detail report of Robert Clark's Metal and Proof Coins book two ledgers for 1909. He shows 1,000 coins accepted. He shows in ledger #2 that 1,194 were delivered to the coiner. No mention of good coins or no good coins in 1909. Can't we theorize that 194 of those coins transferred were "no good" and only 1,000 were good? Hence, the "correct" number, consistent with reporting for other dates as documented in Robert Clark's book should be 1,000.

    Again, my point is that the 1,194 or 1,000 or 420 is just a "guess". It doesn't hold up against various arguments. That being the case, why change history, especially since it was accepted by the hobby. I don't think the hobby HAS accepted the 1,194 number. Steveimage
  • RWBRWB Posts: 8,082
    DMWJr, et al…

    Your comments are understood. I’m well aware of the many newspaper articles written at the time.

    The Lincoln cent hysteria was short lived - as most such events are. As soon as the non-VDB cents were released local exploitative markets collapsed and newsboys went back to hawking papers instead of cents. Demand from banks continued well beyond the end of the year, but that was expected with the novelty of a new issue and soon dissipated.

    Initial release excitement could easily account for mint employees buying most of the first (VDB) proofs and either giving them to relatives or selling them at a nice profit. Employees could get the coins before the general public at the cashier's office. The public had to wait in line at subtreasuries, etc. Nobody except collectors cared about - or could see - the difference between a matte proof and a normal coin: both were excellent and virtually indistinguishable (as modern collectors are constantly reminded).

    As soon as the novelty wore off, so did any premium on the new cents - VDB or not. Only the San Francisco issue was actively sought when collectors learned of the very restricted distribution. (Again, read the material in Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915 - the book even includes a state-by-state distribution table for 1909 cents, and related letters.)

    In the 1930s, Treasury Secretary Morgenthau tried to encourage coin collecting by having staff hunt for various dates/mints wanted by kids who had written to him - and including several of his relatives. The coins consistently requested were 1931-S, 1909-S VDB and 1914-D. (One letter suggests he had a secretary go through some bags of cents and pile the coins by date & mint so they could help young collectors. BTW – a “bag” of cents was $20 face, not the $50 we know today. The $50 bag was introduced during WW-II to save time and money in sewing bags, counting and transporting – the same size was used for all coin.)
  • WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,705 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Kevin, thanks for your info..My comments on the mintage had nothing to do with your research or even what the Red Book published. Its a gut call based on watching and keeping a list of available Mattes for sale over the past 6 Plus months. Not scientific at all, or based on any documents, just my humble opinion.

    WS
    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Kevin, thanks for your info..My comments on the mintage had nothing to do with your research or even what the Red Book published. Its a gut call based on watching and keeping a list of available Mattes for sale over the past 6 Plus months. Not scientific at all, or based on any documents, just my humble opinion.

    WS >>



    Hi WS,

    I agree with one obvious point that most of you have conveyed, these coins, the 1909 VDB and 1916 are rare.
    The actual rarity based on population counts, number available in auctions, from dealers, at shows, has proven
    to be rare, especially as compared to the other Lincoln matte proofs. You guys know this as you specialize
    in these coins and know how hard they are to find.

    I have seen some people try to use the original mintage counts as a factor in creating the price structure.
    We all know that this should be based upon the actual rarity today.

    On this perspective, I bow to your collective expertise.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • BWRCBWRC Posts: 1,447 ✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Kevin, thanks for your info..My comments on the mintage had nothing to do with your research or even what the Red Book published. Its a gut call based on watching and keeping a list of available Mattes for sale over the past 6 Plus months. Not scientific at all, or based on any documents, just my humble opinion.

    WS >>



    Hi WS,

    I agree with one obvious point that most of you have conveyed, these coins, the 1909 VDB and 1916 are rare.
    The actual rarity based on population counts, number available in auctions, from dealers, at shows, has proven
    to be rare, especially as compared to the other Lincoln matte proofs. You guys know this as you specialize
    in these coins and know how hard they are to find.

    I have seen some people try to use the original mintage counts as a factor in creating the price structure.
    We all know that this should be based upon the actual rarity today.

    On this perspective, I bow to your collective expertise.

    Thanks
    Kevin >>



    The 1915 is very elusive also! I see more of the 1916's than that critterimage
    Brian Wagner Rare Coins, Specializing in PCGS graded, Shield, Liberty and Buffalo Nickels varieties.
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Doug, the fact is we can question almost ANY numbers thrown out there. Since you are hitting on the 1909VDB's, just reviewing Kevin's excellent detail report of Robert Clark's Metal and Proof Coins book two ledgers for 1909. He shows 1,000 coins accepted. He shows in ledger #2 that 1,194 were delivered to the coiner. No mention of good coins or no good coins in 1909. Can't we theorize that 194 of those coins transferred were "no good" and only 1,000 were good? Hence, the "correct" number, consistent with reporting for other dates as documented in Robert Clark's book should be 1,000.

    Again, my point is that the 1,194 or 1,000 or 420 is just a "guess". It doesn't hold up against various arguments. That being the case, why change history, especially since it was accepted by the hobby. I don't think the hobby HAS accepted the 1,194 number. Steveimage >>



    Hi Steve,

    I agree that there might be some interpretation on these numbers (1000 vs 1194). But as the number specifically delivered the
    Coiner stating One Cent New Design, states 1194, this is the most logical conclusion that should be accepted.
    I would disagree that they are guesses as these are from original archive documents.
    The 420 has no basis except that it came from a Mint employee in 1947 and was not verified.
    I understand collectors see that these coins (1909 VDB) are rare, but as with every other
    series, this is the rarity based on the number of actual surviving specimens, which can
    be estimated by experts such as yourself who know the number certified, numbers available at
    auction, coin shows, dealers.

    Thanks
    Kevin

    Kevin J Flynn
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Hi Kevin,

    I think we have three questions going on here, and we are treating them as one question:

    1. How many 1909 vdb proofs were actually coined?
    2. How many 1909 vdb proofs were released from the mint?
    3. How many 1909 vdb proofs currently exist?

    I realize you are taking an approach that the number must be backed up by credible evidence, and at this point all we really have are written records to rely on. I also don't deny that almost 1,200 were coined. I take issue with any supposition that 1,200 actually left the mint (I don't think you are saying that though).

    Obviously, we as collectors look toward mintage figures to help discern the availability of a particular issue. Roger's point #2 is that we can only estimate the quantity of MPLs that might still exist, and that is true of every issue, not just MPLs or even Lincolns for that matter.


    There is credible evidence that suggest that the actual number of proof vdbs released was much smaller than the mintage number. What that number is -- no one knows at this point. >>



    Hi Doug,

    Some good points, and I agree, I do not know and I know of no written records on the number of Matte proofs which
    were actually sold, and I have seen no records of any melts.

    If there were specific records regarding coins not being sold, or specific records of coins being melted, then the original mintage
    count would need to be adjusted accordingly. This was done for many commems and regular series when specific totals were
    available.

    Can't remember off hand, but I beleive collectors could purchase the 1909 Lincoln cent proofs by themselves directly from the Mint,
    outside the sets. I agree that Mint employees would have the availability of these coins individually. I can't remember if
    collectors could do the same. Perhaps Roger or anyone else with access to old Numismatist could answer that.

    Thanks
    Kevin

    Kevin J Flynn
  • Thank you for the suggested reading "Renaissance of American Coinage 1909-1915', which I will read for better perspective of the time frame.

    Just viewing the 'absolute rarity' issue from another angle, it surprises me that in 1916, proofs coins can only be found in the cent and nickel only. They happen to be matte proofs, but that's it. What ever that number is for either denomination, it is low.

    In terms of a year by year analysis look at any denominations, mattes, brilliant, satins or whatever element one might examine, including numbers minted, sold, pop reported or otherwise, and you have to conclude that 1916s are perhaps THE genuinely rarest (non-mistake) Lincoln coins (for example, if compared to 1909 standards, we see proofs in 1909 for the 1909VDB and 'plain' cents (forget nickels, dimes, quarters, silvers, golds, brilliant, matte -- the same anlysis can be made for any other year from 1090 -1917). you get the point. Even with conflicting low-high estimate numbers, we seem to be looking at 2,600-3,800 for the various species of 1909s created, compared to 600 to 1050 for the 1916. I think we need more research. But given the choice between a VDB (which people may have had an incentive to save back then) and a 1916 (which were being used to buy candy), I'd take the 1916.

    And just to clarify my point on the 'copper recall', I was using the example to illustrate an example of metal market 'mapipulation' in a monopolistic era, and not that any recalls were in effect. I'm sure more research will unearth the point, but am going through the excercise.

    And to top it all off, one might argue that we had a chief engraver in the US Mint who preferred his walls painted in gloss and not matte. By 1916 the numbers even stopped being recorded. Mr. Barber could not have pulled that off in 1909 - too many eyes watching.

    I beleive the '15 and'16 (at the highest levels) are probably harder to find in real time, even though everyone we know holds on tightly to their 1909VDB. If I don't get a VDB in the next 10 years, maybe I'll revise my opinion. Not taking sides, just an opinion.
    image

    Sincerely,
    Duane Blake
  • pennyanniepennyannie Posts: 3,929 ✭✭✭
    I like Grasshoppers idea of them being handed out to congress and other ranking members for the 1909 VDB. I can see that happening and then they got spent unless they were handed out in a presentation box. I buy into more than 1000 were made, but where did they go??

    With this being a new issue and the interal hoop a la, why would only 420 been made? The only reason i could see only 420 being made is because Charles Barber's dislike of Brenner.

    I doubt that many people jumped for joy when they heard you could buy a 1909 VDB matte proof for 2 cents. Now from what i have read there were people in line to get the 1909 S VDB as they knew THEN it would be a SMALL NUMBER minted.

    The VDB on the back of the coin was news for some in key areas. I doubt the dirt farmer in Ohio cared or the orange farmer in Florida cared as did 99.9 percent of america at the time. It was just that little click that was pissed over the placement of the initials by an outsider to the mint.

    ANYONE CARE TO estimate the number of MATTE PROOF LINCOLNS slabbed by third party graders as business strikes MS or how many were put in peenyboards in the 1950's? My wife has found at least 80 1909 vdb's circulated business strikes in her search of 25 bags of wheat cents this year alone. Only 1 1909 S, 1914 D, 1931 S. There is generally 7 dates you will not find in bags of wheats and the 09 VDB is not on the list. Up until mid last year you could buy those for less than 5 bucks circ, now is 15 circ.
    Mark
    NGC registry V-Nickel proof #6!!!!
    working on proof shield nickels # 8 with a bullet!!!!

    RIP "BEAR"
  • " I buy into more than 1000 were made, but where did they go??"

    Mark-

    Thank you.

    And that is the operative question. My brother-in-law owns a 1793 cent that was left to him upon his father's death. He has never had it certified, would not dream of selling it or giving it away. Yet it exists. In a tin box. You and I won't find it in a popoulation reports, but that does not mean it's not in existance, right? That question will be answered soon enough because the values involved are now worth people's time to do the research. Kevin taking to time and finding the publically available mint information was exactly what the numismatic community needs. The mattes did not "go" anywhere, I'll bet; they are just not recognized 100 years later for what they are. That was a point made early in the string, when someone asked about if statistics exist for circulated mattes. Put a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal and the Times offerring large sums of money for MPLs(specifically 1909VDBs) and you'll find out were they are!

    My only point in comparing the MPL 1909VDB and the 1916 was to point out that, if you believe in rational research, the numbers Kevin has presented needs to be addressed, as for MPL, the world just turned upside down. ironically, if you look at the PCGS population reports, the numbers are as follows:

    1909VDB-total grade in Red: 30
    1916-total grade in Red: 28

    Well, according to those numbers, the 1916 is a rarer coin. But wait, the totals show that more 1916 were certified then 1909VDBs. So that means that means the VDB is a rarer coin. HHHHMMMMMM. Statistics, right?

    But either way, please explain to me why a 1909VDB PR66RD books at $75,000 and a 1916 PR66RD books at $23,500?

    Some folks will like that, and some won't. Truth be told, my own father was sold a couple of "matte proof" Lincolns that he left to me and subsequently turned out to be fake. I did not like that - but had to deal with it as a reality. So I decided to build a collection of my own (Blake Acre), made no secret about it, and be sure that the coins I purchase are authentic. So when I started to do my own research, I realized that there are a few misconceptions that need to be clarifyed or I might go broke! The answers to many misconceptions are openly available (Wexler/Flynn was published in 1996). And I clearly do not beleive the answer lies in the population reports.

    Why would anyone want 'traditional' numbers promulgated in our Red Book if we have new numbers available that appear rationally more accurate?

    People are people and mistakes get made. Big deal. Correct them when it's right to do so.

    People once believed the world was flat, too. Is a MPL flat or round?

  • SteveSteve Posts: 3,313 ✭✭✭

    Everyone:

    I am so happy we MPL collectors all have the opportunity to communicate via this forum about a subject that is of interest to us. It is especially nice that Kevin and Roger have joined in because they both are instrumental in causing Whitman publishing to provide the changing mintage figures the Red Book has shown during the past ten years. The fact that Stewart Blay who is acknowledged to own possibly the finest set of MPL's in existence and Brian Wagner who is probably the leading dealer and expert in MPL coinage in the country have also commented on this thread means that this subject of MPL reported mintages IS important to MPL collectors IMHO.

    In order to truly understand the basis for the numbers reported in the Red Book you really must see the actual US archive data from Robert Clark's Journals called the Metal and Proof Coins Book. Each year two separate ledgers were detailed with specific quantities of each year's dated MPL's .Unfortuately, some of the numbers in one ledger didn't agree with the other. Thankfully, Kevin Flynn had this detail published in his 1996 book. The logic for the Red Book numbers is in those documents for the most part. Seeing those documents in print may also show the fact that those numbers are not absolute. They contain errors. Each of us needs to evaluate what they truly mean.

    I think most of us agree that the 1909VDB had much less than 1,000 coins reach collectors hands. We know less than 200 are currently available so it is easy to translate that into accepting a number like 420 as the mintage. We also can accept a low mintage in the 600 to 1,050 range for the 1916 which we all generally agree is currently the second most rare coin. The question the researchers are trying to deal with, however is what was actually minted and I think the answer to that question is NOT satisfactorly shown in the details of Robert Clark's books.

    I also note that in the last two years the Red Book has reported changed numbers for the 1911 and 1916 without explaining rhe rationale for those changes. The 1911 number of 1,725 does not appear to be in Robert Clark's journal. I believe those of us who have a interest in MPL's should know and be able to support the numbers reported in the Red Book.

    Steveimage
  • kevinjkevinj Posts: 972 ✭✭✭
    Steve,

    I should have photocopies lying around of the archive stuff if anyone wants to see
    copies of the originals.
    Just need to cover postage and copying.

    Thanks
    Kevin
    Kevin J Flynn
  • Thank you, Kevin-

    Do any of the archive materials that you collected indicate particular people at the Mint, during the time period in question, who were responsible for dealing with the public relations of the Mint, work with outside metal vendor orders, maintain keeping sales records? What about information linked to who decided how many cents would be needed to fulfill any particular year's order? Who did these jobs, and who did they report under? Or can we not see that from the specific materials you collected.

    Did all/any of these folks answer to the Chief Engraver, or was this more under the jurisdiction of the Mint Director directly?

    Clearly, I'm back-tracking into getting the true numbers from another evidentiary angle that may give you more support to convince the decision makers.

    Sincerely,
    Duane Blake
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