US Coins

Market Analysis: Indian Head octagonal 25-cent piece

This BG-799R octagonal 1868 Indian Head 25-cent piece graded MS-67 is the finest-known of the variety, featuring a well-defined depiction of a Native American on the obverse. It realized $2,640.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Some late-date California gold pieces have remained in magnificent states of preservation, since they were created more for collectors than for the rigors of daily commerce.

Heritage’s Oct. 15 auction offered an octagonal 1868 Indian Head 25-cent piece, listed as Breen-Gilio 799R, and graded Mint State 67 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., making it the finest-certified by a margin of two grade points at any service. The cataloger praises the sharp strike, pointing out, “The preservation is virtually flawless, yielding bright yellow-gold surfaces and satiny mint luster.” It sold for $2,640.

The Coinage Act of April 22, 1864, made the private production of coins illegal in the United States, but enforcement was uneven. As the “Red Book” points out, “To circumvent the law, and to make them more acceptable, some pieces made after 1881 were backdated to the 1850s or 1860s. There are more than 570 different varieties of this small-denomination gold and modern replicas are frequently seen.”

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