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Obverse of 1877 Indian Head Cent     Reverse of 1877 Indian Head Cent


1877 INDIAN HEAD CENT

PCGS Nos: 2127, 2128, 2129, 2318, 2319, 2320

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 852,500
Proofs: est. 1,000

Designer: James B. Longacre

Diameter: 19 millimeters

Metal content:
Copper - 95%
Tin and Zinc - 5%

Weight: 3.11 grams

Edge: Plain

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia) below the bow of the wreath on the reverse

Images courtesy of Superior Stamp & Coin

Notes:
The 1877 Indian Head Cent has the second lowest mintage of any date in the series (the 1909-S has the lowest) and the lowest mintage of any Indian Head Cent produced at Philadelphia, thus making it one of the most desirable dates to own.  Most examples of the 1877 Indian Head Cent are heavily circulated.  While the 1877 is no rarer in Uncirculated condition than some of the other dates in the 1870's, collector demand has always placed a premium on this date.  The same is true of Proof examples of this date.  Many counterfeit 1877 Indian Head Cents exist, so certification is a must. 

The finest Uncirculated Brown examples graded by PCGS are 3 MS-65BN's

The finest Uncirculated Red-Brown example graded by PCGS are 3 MS-66RB's.

The finest Uncirculated Red examples graded by PCGS are 5 MS-66RD's.

The finest Proof Brown examples graded by PCGS is a single PR-66BN.

The finest Proof Red-Brown examples graded by PCGS are 4 PR-66RB's.

The finest Proof Red examples graded by PCGS are 2 PR-67RD's.

The finest Proof Cameo examples graded by PCGS is a single PRCA-66.

Significant examples:
PCGS Proof 67, Red - Superb!  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4063, illustrated, sold for $36,800.00  Tied for finest certified

PCGS Proof-67 Red.  Offered for $37,500.00 by The Mint in an advertisement in the July 18, 2000 issue of Numismatic News.  Holder #6586335

PCGS graded Proof 66 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1114, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "…An outstanding example of this key date. As one should expect for a coin in this grade, the surfaces are nearly perfect. A small Mint caused planchet void is visible on the reverse inside the wreath at 3:00, but this is not grade limiting. This example is virtually unimprovable with moderately deep mirrors. Only 10 examples have been graded by PCGS in this lofty grade with 2 graded higher.

Always popular as a proof example of the key date in the Indian Cent series. No precise mintage figure exists for the proof 1877 Indian, but enough information is available to make an educated guess. Breen lists 510 in his Proof Encyclopedia. The present estimate is now 910. It is known that 510 "Silver" sets were sold which included the five silver coins, the two nickel coins and the cent. Additionally, there were about 400 "Nickel" sets struck which included just the cent and the two nickel coins, of which we know 260 were mailed out, with the unknown remainder being sold over the counter in Philadelphia.

The reverse die used to strike this example is the "Bulged T" reverse, which was first used in 1872 and was used to strike many of the proof issues between that date and 1877. The right pennant of the T is in much higher relief that the other parts of the letter. This feature neither raises nor lowers the desirability of the coin. Color photo.", sold for $14,375.00

PCGS graded MS-66 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1115, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "…This is an outstanding gem example with vibrant luster and great strike. At present there are 5 examples graded by PCGS with none graded higher. The obverse is virtually mark free, while the reverse does show two light contact marks under the E in CENT and between the E in ONE and the wreath. There is also a mark hidden in the wreath at 3:00. Other areas of alternating luster are Mint caused. There are two planchet voids to the right of the E in ONE caused by a liquid, probably machine oil, on the planchet at the time of striking. There are light unobliterated planchet marks on the high points of the right wreath. Three or four light clash marks are visible above the O and E in ONE. These are transferred from the chin and last feather of the obverse portrait. The clashing and Mint made anomalies are not grade limiting. This example is an exquisite example and probably ranks as 3rd or 4th finest known.

All non-proof 1877 Indian cents are seen struck using one reverse die, which shows a shallow N in ONE. This is a reverse type used from the 1860's until 1869 and sporadically thereafter until 1873. This reverse die shows no die cracks, although 90% of this issue show the clashing described above. How could the entire mintage of 852,000 pieces have been struck with only one reverse? I do not have an answer. Mint records show 6 reverse dies being produced for regular coinage in 1877, but 4 were not used until 1878, leaving 2 reverse dies used for 1877. Where are the coins struck from the second die? Is that one of the proof dies? Either the actual mintage is even lower than the number customarily reported, or the entire batch of 1877's from a second die is missing.

The mintage of 1877's was an all time low for the series, not to be underproduced until the 1909 San Francisco Mint Indian Cent. It is true that the low mintage is due in part to a slowdown in the economy, which forced large quantities of older cents back into circulation. This caused the Mint to produce less new cents. However, this explanation oversimplifies the cause and effect. To get to the real reason of the scarcity of cents of this date we must go back to the Mint act of 1864, which gave a limited legal tender limit of only ten cents to the new bronze cent. No special legislative action was made to allow Banks to move the quantities of cents that accumulated in their vaults. The action needed to alleviate this problem came in the form of the Mint act of March 3, 1871, which required The Mint to redeem the older minor coins in any quantity. At first the coins, which in addition to bronze cents included older copper cents, half cents, copper-nickel cents, bronze two cent pieces, nickel three cents and nickel five cent pieces, were melted and recoined into new three and five cent nickels and bronze cents. By 1874, as less and less of the pre-1864 coinage was being redeemed it became obvious that the remaining bronze cents and nickel coinage could just be taken in and paid out without going through the recoinage process. The Mint then operated as a clearinghouse for the backlog of minor coins, reissuing them side by side with newly minted coins. Since the coins were already on the books from their original mintage, they were accounted for separately from the mintage of new coinage. With the surge of redemption in 1877, new coinage was cut off early in the year. Over 10 million cents were issued in 1877, but less than 1 million of them were new coins carrying that date. The rest of the issuance was made up of older coins. Color photo.", sold for $29,900.00

PCGS MS-66 Red.  Offered for $79,500.00 by The Mint in an advertisement in the July 18, 2000 issue of Numismatic News.  Holder #5668377

Recent appearances:
PCGS Proof-66 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7627, illustrated, not sold

NGC Proof-66 Red and Brown.  Ex - Stack's 12/2003:63, sold for $7,187.50

PCGS Proof-65 Red.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 5923, plated, sold for $17,825.00

PCGS Proof-65 Red.  Ex - Superior Galleries "The ANA 2001 National Money Show Auction", March 8-9, 2001, Lot 40, sold for $9,487.50

PCGS Proof-65 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 6202, plated, unsold  From the collection of Alex Highland

PCGS Proof-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1197, sold for $3,910.00

NGC Proof-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 58, illustrated, sold for $3,680.00

NGC Proof-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 155, illustrated, sold for $3,450.00

Proof-64 Red.  Ex - Heritage's "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5477, "Questionable Color", plated, unsold

PCGS Proof-64 Red.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 156, illustrated, sold for $4,830.00

NGC Proof 64, Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4064, illustrated, sold for $2,645.00

Proof-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5109, illustrated, sold for $3,105.00

NGC Proof-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7624, illustrated, sold for $2,479.40

PCGS Proof-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7625, illustrated, sold for $3,450.00

PCGS Proof-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7626, illustrated, not sold

Proof-62 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5108, not illustrated, sold for $3,220.00

PCGS MS-66, Red.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4065, illustrated, sold for $60,375.00  Tied for finest graded

NGC MS-66, Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4066, illustrated, not sold

NGC MS-65, Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4067, illustrated, not sold

NGC MS-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1199, unsold

NGC MS-65 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part III", May 21, 2001, Lot 1355, illustrated, sold for $6,325.00

PCGS MS-64, Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1265, illustrated, sold for $14,950.00  From the Howard R. Newcomb collection of Indian Cents, purchased June 30, 1944 from J.G. Macallister

PCGS MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1198, sold for $2,650.75

"MS-64 Red and Brown".  Ex - Superior Stamp & Coin's "Pre-Long Beach Sale", February 7-8, 2000, Lot 34, sold for $1,955.00

PCGS MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6621, illustrated, sold for $4,830.00

PCGS MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 138, plated, sold for $4,887.50

"MS-64 Red and Brown".  Ex - Superior Galleries "The ANA 2001 National Money Show Auction", March 8-9, 2001, Lot 41, unsold

NGC MS-64 Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7566, illustrated, sold for $3,220.00

Choice Brilliant Uncirculated.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 133, sold for $1,840.00

NGC MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 207, "Snow-2", illustrated, sold for $3,450.00

PCGS MS-63, Red and Brown.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4067A, illustrated, sold for $3,450.00

PCGS MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6620, illustrated, sold for $2,185.00

MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5431, plated, unsold

MS-63 Red and Brown, Questionable coloring.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5430, plated, sold for $2875.00

MS-62 Red and Brown, PVC.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5089, illustrated, sold for $1,955.00  From the Alfred S. Lippman Collection

ANACS MS-61 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6619, not illustrated, sold for $1,667.50

MS-61 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage's "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5466, plated, sold for $4,830.00

AU-58.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1200, sold for $2,070.00

AU-58, Lightly Cleaned.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5465, not illustrated, sold for $1,667.50

PCGS AU-55.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1266, illustrated, sold for $2,185.00

PCGS AU-55.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4068, illustrated, sold for $1,610.00

NGC AU-55 Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1201, sold for $1,610.00

ANACS AU-55.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7565, not illustrated, sold for $1,495.00

AU-53.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1202, sold for $1,725.00

PCGS EF-40.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 6618, not illustrated, sold for $977.50

NGC EF-40 Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1203, sold for $920.00

ANACS Cleaned AU Details, Net EF-40.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 5910, not plated, sold for $1,437.50

EF-40, lightly cleaned.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1267, illustrated, sold for $1,725.00

Extremely Fine.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 134, unsold

VF-35.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5429, not plated, sold for $776.25

VF-30 Porous.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5428, not plated, sold for $471.50

VF-30.  Ex - Superior Galleries "The ANA 2001 National Money Show Auction", March 8-9, 2001, Lot 42, "Tiny planchet chip below date", sold for $460.00

VF-20 Obverse pitting.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5427, not plated, sold for $345.00

VF-20.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4069, not illustrated, sold for $718.75

Very Fine.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 135, sold for $776.25

Net Fine-15, Edge Damage, Scratches.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 218, illustrated, sold for $747.00

Fine-12.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1204, sold for $552.00

Fine.  Ex - Stack's "The University of Notre Dame Sale", March 20-21, 2001, Lot 179, not plated, sold for $632.50

Fine.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 139, not plated, sold for $563.50

PCGS VG-10.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7564, not illustrated, sold for $529.00

NGC VG-10 Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 157, not illustrated, sold for $483.00

VG-8.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", October 1-3, 2000, Lot 4070, not illustrated, sold for $460.00

NGC VG-8.  Ex- Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Sale" October 5-7, 2000, Lot 5909, not plated, sold for $448.50

Good-5.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 219, not illustrated, sold for $276.00

Good-4.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1206, sold for $402.50

ANACS Good-4.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7563, not illustrated, sold for $373.75

PCGS AG-3.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 220, not illustrated, sold for $322.00

AG-3, PVC.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 5463, not illustrated, sold for $270.00 

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"The PCGS Population Report, October 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

 
 

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