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Lost and Found! 1909 S VDB Lincoln Head Cent


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Has anyone ever seen a 1909 S. VDB Lincoln Head Cent? Held one in your hand? Found one in your pocket change? Finding one like that used to be on my bucket list (in the 6th grade) One day it actually happened! Walking home from school with two of my numismatists friends, I casually reached into my pants pocket to check my small accumulation of change for the day, to see if I had acquired any collectible coins. In those days, it was still possible to find an occasional valuable penny or two in circulation. Lo and behold, there it was! A 1909 "S" Victor D. Brenner Lincoln Head Penny! I was shocked and elated, and showed it to my friends who were suitably impressed and envious (for about half a second), until reality set in with the realization of one minor detail. We all knew where it came from and we knew it wasn't mine! I took another step, then turned around and started walking back to the candy store we had just left, to return the coin to kindly Mr. Jameson who had mistakenly given it to me in change. We knew he would be heart broken for the loss of his most valuable coin and we felt at least partially to blame for the costly mistake he had made. After all, we pestered Mr. Jameson almost daily to see the coin, so he had put it where he could easily reach it in his coin tray and show it to us. It just so happened that he had placed it along with some other collectible Lincoln pennies in a tray adjacent to the regular ones he routinely gave back in change.
 When we arrived back at the store, several students were standing around whispering to each other. Someone said, "You won't believe what happened. Mr. Jameson lost his 1909 penny!" I went up to the counter and stood silently in front of the tearful Mr. Jameson waiting for him to notice me. He continued to frantically sift through the pennies in the cash register drawer searching for his prized possession. To get his attention, I noisily lifted the lid on a candy jar sitting on the counter and took out a single piece of candy. I held the candy in my hand and laid the missing penny on the counter. Finally, Mr. Jameson paused and looked down at me standing there; looked at the candy, then picked up the penny. The surprised look on his face and the gratitude in his eyes was easily worth as much to me as the penny was to him. He rewarded me with free candy the rest of the school year, which I shared with my friends. Mr. Jameson continued to generously share his passion for coin collecting with us by letting us see and handle all of his rare pennies which included a 1914 D Lincoln cent and several others. However, he did wisely remove them far away from the other pennies in his change drawer and never lost another coin as far as I know.

The irony of having bought a 1 cent piece of candy with a 1 cent piece that would now be worth a few hundred dollars, still makes me smile whenever I think about it. :)

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On 10/10/2019 at 7:10 AM, Edge said:

Yeah but back when you were a little kid, the 1909 vdb was freshly minted.

Sometimes, I wish I was too. But I'm not so sure I'd want to go through it all again. Not to mention the fact that the coin has probably held up a lot better as well . . . :)

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