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  1888 Indian Head Cent Obverse     1888 Indian Head Cent Reverse


1888 INDIAN HEAD CENT

PCGS Nos: 2166, 2167, 2168, 2351, 2352, 2353, 2169, 2170

Mintage:

Circulation strikes: 37,489,832
Proofs: 4,582

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, Pennsylvania) below the bow of the wreath on the reverse

Notes:
In 1969, Jim Ruddy stunned the numismatic world with the discovery of an 1888/7 overdate.  A small portion of the 7 is visible under the left half of the final 8 of the date, inside the upper loop, and protruding from the upper left edge of the top loop.  Various Die States exist; for example, Die State B has a large rim cud on the obverse above TE of UNITED.  Only two Uncirculated examples are known of the overdate, both of which were discovered by Ruddy!  One example, graded MS-64 Brown by NGC is illustrated below.  A second example graded MS-63 Red and Brown by PCGS appeared in Superior Stamp & Coin's February 1999 "Juan XII Suros" sale, where it realized an astonishing $40,250.

The finest Uncirculated Brown example graded by PCGS is are 2 MS-65BN's.  The finest Uncirculated Red-Brown examples graded by PCGS are 7 MS-65RB's.  The finest Uncirculated Red example graded by PCGS is a single MS-67RD.

The finest circulation strike "1888/7" Brown example graded by PCGS are 2 AU-58BN's.  The finest Uncirculated "1888/7" Red-Brown example graded by PCGS is a single MS-64RB.

The finest Proof Brown example graded by PCGS is a single PR-67BN.  The finest Proof Red-Brown examples graded by PCGS are 5 PR-66RB's.  The finest Proof Red examples graded by PCGS are 4 PR-66RD's. The finest Proof Cameo examples graded by PCGS are 2 PRCA-66's.

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

Varieties:
1888/7

Recent appearances:
NGC Proof 65, Red and Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1290, not illustrated, sold for $414.00

PCGS graded Proof 64 Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1132, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "…A beautiful coin for the grade, in fact, aside from a few minute flyspecks this is coin could qualify for a higher grade. The coin has moderate mirrors with exceptional eye appeal.

The mintage indicates that this is one of the more common dates in the proof Indian Cent series. However experience and the PCGS population reports show that this is a moderately scarce date over all, and an exceptionally scarce date in full red. Only 10 examples are graded PR64RD, with 4 PR65RD's and 4 in PR66RD. Like the 1887, this date commands a large premium equal in gem full red.", sold for $2,875.00

NGC Proof-64 Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coin & Collectibles' "The Fairchild Family Trust Collection Sale", May 28-30, 2001, Lot 250, not illustrated, sold for $218.00

Proof-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Santa Clara Signature Sale", November 16-17, 2000, Lot 5119, not illustrated, sold for $92.00

Very Choice Brilliant Proof.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 153, sold for $276.00

Choice Brilliant Proof.  Ex - Stack's "65th Anniversary Sale", October 17-19, 2000, Lot 152, not plated, sold for $212.75

Brilliant Proof.  Ex- Stack's "The September Sale", September 12-13, 2000, Lot 154, sold for $138.00

NGC MS-65, Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1291, not illustrated, sold for $345.00

PCGS MS-64, Red.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1292, not illustrated, sold for $2,300.00

PCGS MS-64 Red.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7581, not illustrated, sold for $322.00

MS-64 Red and Brown.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5433, not plated, sold for $230.00

NGC graded MS-64 Brown.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1133, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "Snow-2, FND-002; FS-010.7…This is the finest known example. Only 22 examples are reported with just four examples known in MS grades. A well struck example with hardly any surface impairments. A few field depressions are visible but these are caused by machine oil on the planchet during the striking process. These are not distracting and do not serve to limit the grade. There are no design deficiencies.

This new variety was discovered in the early 1990's by noted numismatist Bill Fivaz. Because the Snow-1 1888/7 is virtually unobtainable, this variety has become a sort of hole filler for that space in collector's albums. In addition to the overdate feature, the base of a 1 digit is visible sticking out of the first pearl of the necklace. The overdate feature is somewhat controversial. It was confirmed by many numismatists at the time of ti's discovery by using overlays which seemed to prove the overdate status of the variety. However, in the June 2000 issue of "Longacre's Ledger", Dr. Tim Larson challenged the overdate status, claiming that it could be an 1888/888. The jury is still out. Listed in the Cherrypicker's Guide at $7,500 for MS-63.", sold for $1,552.00

NGC MS-63 Red and Brown.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 165, "1888/7, Snow-2, FS-010.7", illustrated, not sold

ANACS MS-63 RB.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 226, "1888/7 Overdate, the "Fivaz" variety, Snow-2, FND-002, FSI-010.7, Rarity-7", illustrated, sold for $5,002.50

MS-62 Red and Brown Questionable Color.  Ex-  Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "October 2000 Long Beach Sale", October 5-7, 2000, Lot 6665, not illustrated, not sold

MS-60 Brown Cleaned.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 5434, "Snow-2 Rarity", plated, sold for $586.50

PCGS graded AU-58.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, lot 1131, illustrated, where it was described as follows: "8 over 7. Snow-1…This is a very memorable coin which has never been auctioned. This is the 6th finest known of 23 known examples. This is the absolute finest circulated specimen. The original prooflike surfaces are essentially unimpaired. The coin has no major marks. There is only the faintest rub on the highest points and some minor hairlines in the field. Nearly all known examples have a die "cud" on the rim at the 9:00 position. Perhaps the die failed very early in its life, accounting for the extreme rarity of this coin.
Jim Ruddy, partner in the firm of Bowers and Ruddy, first discovered this variety in 1970. Two uncirculated examples were found together in a Virginia estate. The two coins were apparently together since their mintage. A value of just under $5,000 was placed on the variety at the time. Since then, collectors have searched in vain for additional specimens. Only 23 examples have turned up since. A brief listing of the known specimens with some comments may help shed some light on how rare this coin really is.

1). Reportedly a gem full red example exists. It was sold for $43,000 in 1991.

2). The finest certified example is the MS-64RB PCGS example. This coin is a beautiful prooflike piece with perfect surfaces, except for a bold contact mark on the cheek. It last sold privately for $60,000. This coin traces it's pedigree to Superior's "Juan X Suros" Sale where it was graded MS-63 RB by PCGS (and still accounted for in their Population Report) and described as being one of the Ruddy discovery coins, a claim which is false. Earlier it was sold by Eagle Eye Rare Coins privately for $22,500.

3). A MS-64BN coin is graded by NGC. This coin was discovered a few years ago in the inventory of the New York numismatic firm of Stack's, and subsequently sold in their October 1997 sale for $33,000. It was later graded by NGC as MS-64 BN. The coin has a small "X" scratch above the first three feathers. It was offered in Superior's February 2000 Pre Long Beach Sale where it was described as being one of the original Ruddy discovery coins, a claim which is false.

4 & 5). The two Ruddy discovery coins do not seem to have been on the market in the past 10 years. These have been described as being MS-60. One was bought by Robert Marks and was seen in no less than four auction appearances between 1972 and 1974 garnering winning bids between $1,500 and $4,000. Perhaps the ANACS graded MS-61RB is one of these coins.

6). The present example. AU-58 PCGS. This coin was sold by the Boston numismatic firm J.J. Teaparty in the early 1980's. It surfaced again in 1998 and was graded and placed into the "Margene Heathgate" collection by Eagle Eye Rare Coins.

7). ANACS graded AU-55 cleaned, net graded from MS-60. Sold on the internet auction eBay, December 11, 2000 by Eagle Eye Rare Coins for $10,000.

8). XF-40

9 - 14). Five examples are known in Very Fine including 2 corroded examples.

15). One example is graded Fine.

16-23). Eight examples are known in Very Good or lower grades. One PCGS graded example is misattributed.", sold for $18,400.00

PCGS VF-20.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003 , Lot 225, "1888/7 Overdate, the "Ruddy" variety, Snow-1, FND-001, FS1-010, Breen-2012, Rarity-6", illustrated, sold for $5,290.00

ANACS VG-8.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II", March 15-17, 2001, Lot 1223, "Overdate", unsold

ANACS VG-8.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 162, "1888/7, Snow-1", illustrated, sold for $977.50

PCGS Good-6.  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.'s "Benson Collection, Part I", February 16, 18-20, 2001, Lot 1289, "8 over 7", illustrated, sold for $977.00  One of the rarest overdates in United States numismatics - discovered by James F. Ruddy around 1970"

ANACS Good-6.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 163, "1888/7", illustrated, sold for $632.50

ANACS Good-4.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Long Beach Signature Sale", May 31-June 2, 2001, Lot 7582, "Breen-2012, 1888/7", not illustrated, sold for $805.00

ANACS Good-4.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Lake Geneva Sale", June 28-29, 2001, Lot 164, "1888/7", illustrated, sold for $603.75

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

 

Obverse of 1888/7 Cent     Reverse of 1888/7 Cent
Images courtesy of Superior Stamp & Coin

From Superior Stamp & Coin's "Pre-Long Beach Sale", February 7-8, 2000, Lot 45, "1888, 8 over 7.  FS-010.  Small die cud on rim at 9 o'clock.  So-called Jim Ruddy variety from the discoverer.  NGC graded Mint State 64.  Brown.  Die State B", reserve not met.