US Coins

MS-66 red 1874 Indian Head cent soars in auction

Among the wonderful collections offered at the 2018 American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money Auctions in Philadelphia was the ESM Collection of Indian Head cents presented by Stack’s Bowers Galleries on Aug. 15.

The collection is one of the all-time finest sets of the series on the Professional Coin Grading Service Set Registry and was collected by Pete Miller, who expanded on a childhood interest in coins. 

replica 1,000-unit Nova Constellatio patternInside Coin World: Reader’s 1783 Nova Constellatio piece is a replica The “Readers Ask” column responds to a collector who owns what looks like a very famous and very rare U.S. coin from 1783.

The 1874 Indian Head cent is not rare in any absolute sense with a mintage of 14,187,500. Finding Mint State examples with full Mint red color, however, is challenging, and in top grades the issue is a condition rarity in the series. This 1874 cent graded PCGS MS-66 red is one of the finest certified and brought $22,800. 

Stack’s Bowers noted, “Full Red Gems such as this are seldom offered, and this coin is far more attractive than many identically graded pieces that we have handled recently.”

Bidders agreed that the quality was exceptional and it sold for substantially more than the last comparable at auction, a PCGS MS-66 red example that realized $8,812.50 at Heritage’s 2016 Central States Numismatic Society auction in metropolitan Chicago.

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