US Coins

Market Analysis: Key-date MS-66 red 1877 cent brings $114,000

A key-date 1877 Indian Head cent led Heritage’s offering of The Castle Collection on Aug. 14 at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money.

Graded Mint State 66 red with both a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker and Rick Snow’s Eagle Eye Photo Seal, it was in an older Professional Coin Grading Service holder, which means that the blazing color has been stable for at least two decades. 

The reported mintage of 852,500 is perhaps overstated, with Snow and other experts believing that, since all known examples are from a single reverse die, that mintage may be too high. Heritage explains, “At a time when a typical die’s working life was in the low six figures, it seems highly improbable that this lone reverse die could last for so many pieces, especially since no known examples show significant die cracks or wear on that side.” 

In high grades an 1877 Indian Head cent is a prize, and PCGS has certified just eight in Mint State 66 red including the present coin. Heritage notes, “A handful of pinpoint carbon flecks on the reverse are only appreciable under magnification,” before calling it, “An altogether unbeatable representative of the most challenging Indian cent issue and a grand opportunity for the dedicated collector of the series.” 

It sold for $114,000 in the August Rosemont auction, while back in 2007 when Heritage offered it as part of The Santa Fe Collection, is was one of six then-graded by PCGS and it brought $149,500.

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