US Coins

Market Analysis: 1864 Indian Head, L on Ribbon cent

A standout among the cents at Heritage’s Oct. 7 Premier Session auction was a rare 1864 Indian Head, L on Ribbon cent graded Proof 64 red and brown by Professional Coin Grading Service that realized $45,600.

James B. Longacre’s initial L is seen on the obverse ribbon, where it was added during the year in a design change.

Proof strikes of the cents are known from three distinct die marriages. This one is the Snow PR2 die pair, “characterized by the long obverse diagonal die mark on Liberty’s neck, at the rear crease of the jawline under the ear,” and “A couple of prominent die lines on the reverse run diagonally upward from two outside-left olive leaf tips at 8 o’clock toward the rim,” Heritage writes.

Research by Richard Snow and others helps collectors understand these Proof cents. Only 10 to 20 Proof 1864 Indian Head, L on Ribbon cents were struck in 1864, and restrikes were struck later to satisfy the needs of collectors, with an initial delivery of 10 or so of them around 1871.

Heritage adds, “Snow is credited with the discovery by matching the reverse die of the present example [a restrike] with the regular-issue Proof dies of that year [1871]. The unique die lines on the reverse are the same as on proofs from 1869 through 1871, although the 1869 and 1870 proofs were struck from earlier die states.”

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