1877 Indian Head Cent

The Indian Head Cent, which debuted in 1859, averaged a mintage of 18 million annually, until 1877, when production suddenly declined to only 852,000.

Relatively few cents were issued in 1877 because the Mint had a sufficient supply of older cents in storage to meet reduced demand for coinage that year, due to soft economic conditions that began four years earlier.

In September 1873, a major financial firm, Jay Cooke & Company, declared bankruptcy, following a failed attempt to sell bonds for the nation's second transcontinental railroad. This triggered a chain reaction of bank failures and a temporary closure of the New York stock market. Many factories, railroads, and other businesses were forced into bankruptcy, sending the US into a major depression. This crisis was called the "Panic of 1873".

By 1875, unemployment exceeded 14%, with over 18,000 companies going out of business.

In addition to smaller demand for coinage because of the poor economy, the Coinage Act of 1873 also reduced the need for new cents in 1877. The Act provided for an exchange program non-precious metal coins for bronze cents. By the time 1877 rolled around, redemptions were paid out with cents from previous years held in Treasury vaults, further reducing cent requirements.

In 1878, mintage jumped to 5.8 million, the beginning of a steep rise in production.

Numismatic researchers have reason to believe far fewer than the reported 852,000 pieces for the 1877 cent were actually struck. All known 1877's were struck with the same reverse die. In those years, it was unusual for a die to last beyond 100,000 strikes, lending credence to this theory.

This may explain why the 1877 is valued higher than the 1909-S, which has a reported mintage of 309,000.

The 1877 Indian Head Cent is considered by most collectors to be the most important date in the popular Indian Head series.





1877 Indian Head Cent

Uncirculated 1877 Indian Head Cent
Coin Photos courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA






1877 Indian Head Cent Price Analysis

1877 Indian Head Cent (G-4 Condition)

The 1877 Indian Head Cent is one of the best known rare coins in all of numismatics, but surprisngly, it falls below the overall average of the Rare Coin Values Index. The blue line above graphs the percent change since the year 2000 in retail price of the 1877 cent in G-4 condtion, starting at a baseline index of 100. The red line demonstrates the overall direction of the rare US coin market since 2000 as calculated by the Index. The 1877 Indian Head Cent is one of 87 rare US coins that comprise the Index. The Index is updated monthly.


 

Members of the Rare Coin Values Index
Date Coin Type Grade Est. Retail Value Aug 2017
1793 Liberty Cap Left Half Cent G-4 3850
1802 2/0 Rev 1802 Draped Bust Half Cent G-4 1000
1793 Chain AMERI. Flowing Hair Large Cent G-4 10000
1794 Starred Rev Liberty Cap Large Cent G-4 35000
1799 Draped Bust Large Cent G-4 4500
1856 Flying Eagle Cent G-4 6500
1877 Indian Head Cent G-4 600
1909-S VDB Lincoln Cent G-4 600
1914-D Lincoln Cent G-4 170
1922-D (No D) Lincoln Cent G-4 550
1864 Small Motto Two Cent F-12 400
1865 Three Cent Silver PF-65 1750
1884 Three Cent Nickel F-12 650
1795 Flowing Hair Half Dime G-4 1400
1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Half Dime G-4 1500
1800 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Half Dime G-4 1100
1865 Seated Liberty Half Dime G-4 300
1879 Shield Nickel VG-8 550
1885 Liberty Nickel VG-8 675
1913-S Type 2 Buffalo Nickel G-4 325
1918/7-D Buffalo Nickel G-4 875
1937-D 3 Legs Buffalo Nickel G-4 475
1796 Draped Bust Dime G-4 2750
1822 Capped Bust Dime G-4 2000
1871-CC Seated Liberty Dime G-4 3250
1895-O Barber Dime G-4 375
1916-D Mercury Dime VG-8 1400
1942/1-D Mercury Dime VG-8 425
1875-CC Twenty Cent G-4 350
1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle Quarter G-4 12500
1804 Draped Bust, Large Eagle Quarter G-4 4000
1823 Capped Bust Quarter G-4 40000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Quarter G-4 10000
1896-S Barber Quarter G-4 725
1901-S Barber Quarter G-4 4750
1916 Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 2900
1918/7-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 1150
1923-S Standing Liberty Quarter G-4 300
1932-D Washington Quarter F-12 130
1794 Flowing Hair Half Dollar G-4 6000
1796 16 Stars Draped Bust Small Eagle Half Dollar G-4 40000
1815/12 Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1750
1836 Reed Edge Capped Bust Half Dollar G-4 1000
1870-CC Seated Liberty Half Dollar G-4 900
1892-O Barber Half Dollar G-4 327
1921-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 375
1938-D Walking Liberty Half Dollar VG-8 75
1953-S Franklin Half Dollar MS-65 FBL 20000
1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar G-4 65000
1796 Draped Bust Small Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1750
1801 Draped Bust Large Eagle Silver Dollar G-4 1000
1836 Gobrecht Dollar, Name on Base, Circ. Issue XF-40 12500
1873-CC Seated Liberty Dollar G-4 7500
1879 Trade Dollar PF-65 8500
1889-CC Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 800
1893-S Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 4000
1895 Morgan Silver Dollar F-12 (PF Only) 35000
1928 Peace Dollar F-12 275
1849-C Cl. Wreath Type One Gold Dollar VF-20 1300
1855-D Type Two Gold Dollar VF-20 10250
1861-D Type Three Gold Dollar VF-20 18500
1796 No Stars Capped Bust $ 2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 55000
1808 Capped Draped Bust $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 23500
1826 Capped Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 9500
1838-C Classic Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 2500
1848 CAL. Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 25000
1856-D Coronet $2.50 Quarter Eagle F-12 5250
1911-D Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle XF-40 4000
1854-D Indian Head Three Dollar F-12 10000
1795 Capped Bust Small Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 20000
1800 Capped Bust Large Eagle $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 4250
1808 Capped Draped Bust $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 3500
1821 Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1833 Large Date Capped Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 16000
1834 Cross 4 Classic Head $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 1300
1861-D Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 15000
1870-CC Coronet $5.00 Half Eagle F-12 13500
1909-O Indian Head $5.00 Half Eagle XF-40 7500
1795 9 Leaves Capped Bust Small Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 55750
1804 Capped Bust Large Eagle $10 Eagle F-12 20000
1841-O Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 2850
1879-CC Coronet $10 Eagle F-12 9700
1911-D Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 2250
1930-S Indian Head $10 Eagle XF-40 20750
1859-O Coronet $20 Double Eagle VF-20 5750
1907 Wire Rim St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 11000
1921 St-Gaudens $20 Double Eagle XF-40 45000


See the 87 Index Coins