US Coins

Market Analysis: MS-68 red 1902 Indian Head cent brings $144,000

A PCGS MS-68 red 1902 Indian Head cent brought $144,000 at a June 14 Stack’s Bowers Galleries auction.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

The rare coin market continues to be hungry for otherwise common coins that sit in the top spots on grading service population reports. Demand from collectors seeking the best in their quest to form — and keep — the top registry sets means that demand for “top pop” coins seems to keep growing. 

Stack’s Bowers Galleries sold a 1902 Indian Head cent graded Mint State 68 red by Professional Coin Grading Service for $144,000 at its June 14 auction. It is one of two 1902 cents recorded in this grade at PCGS and is one of just seven certified of the entire type by the service in this grade, with none finer.

The issue is not rare by any stretch of the imagination even in nice Uncirculated grades, with a mintage of 87,374,704 and PCGS recording just over 300 grading submissions in MS-65 red and finer.

For reference, one of the three PCGS MS-67+ red 1902 cents brought $38,400 last January at Heritage’s Florida United Numismatists auction, where that cataloger wrote that the population totals for the date may be inflated due to resubmissions of the same coin that are not removed from the population reports. At that time just one 1902 Indian Head cent was graded MS-68, while today PCGS reports two. A typical MS-65 red example might sell for $675.

Stack’s Bowers called it “a virtually pristine coin with a smooth satin texture that is devoid of even the most trivial blemishes,” observing a bold strike and adding, “Fully original mint color is generally medium rose with blushes of even more vivid reddish-orange in a few isolated peripheral areas.”

Top-graded 1923 dollar

The 1923 Peace dollar is another common coin in nearly all grades, and it is among the most plentiful and best-preserved in Mint State grades, challenged only by the 1922 issue for its availability. The population thins at the MS-67 level, and at the same sale Stack’s Bowers offered one of the six PCGS MS-67+ examples that are tied for the finest-known of the issue. Carrying a green CAC sticker, this one realized $38,400.

Their cataloger wrote, “This enchanting Superb Gem is drenched in smooth, frosty mint luster. Fully struck with a light amount of pastel-lemon patina on each side,” concluding, “It is difficult to imagine a more inviting Peace dollar of the low relief design type.” Bidders agreed and it’s the Plus that makes all the difference, as PCGS has recorded 116 submissions at the MS-67 level, one of which sold for $3,120 at Heritage in May.

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter


Community Comments