US Coins

Market Analysis: 1877 Indian Head cent something beyond brown

All things equal, copper U.S. coins with original red color will nearly always sell for more than coins with brown, or even red and brown, designations.

A brown (BN) color designation is typically used when a copper coin has little of the original red of its surfaces remaining. The red (RD) color designation is used when a coin has around 85% to 95% of its original red, and the red and brown (RB) designation is used for the broad range of coins between the two, with colors that go well beyond earth-toned hues.

While lacking original mint red color, this 1877 Indian Head cent graded Proof 65 brown by Professional Coin Grading Service featured plenty of other colors, including steely silver, blue and magenta. The date is well-known in the series due to the low mintage of the strikes for circulation, and this adds demand to the Proof coins issued for the year. It realized $4,440 in Heritage’s Jan. 11 Florida United Numismatists auction.

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