Description and Analysis

Indian Cents
1877 1C MS

Description & Analysis

Though it had only the second lowest mintage in the Indian Head series, the 1877 cent is by far the rarest issue in terms of survivors. The few thousand persons who collected cents at the time simply purchased proofs and disregarded the rarity of currency pieces. Most examples existing today are heavily worn. Needless to say, fully red examples are extremely rare.

This date's low mintage was the result of economic depression combined with the success of the Treasury's redemption policy. Almost 10 million cents were returned to the Mint in 1877 as unneeded in commerce, and 9,821,500 of these were reissued in place of newly-struck pieces.

The rarity of this issue is even greater than its low mintage suggests, and some researchers have speculated that the published figure is in error. Reinforcing this notion is the fact that only two obverse dies for the date are known in combination with a single reverse. It would take a greater number of dies than this to produce 852,500 cents under the most ideal circumstances, and it may be that the published figure included some dated 1876 or even some reissued coins.