David Hall: The 1861 is the lowest mintage of the 1860-64 copper-nickel Indian cents. It is the rarest copper-nickel Indian cent in circulated grades and is marginally rarer than the others in mint state condition. But in Gem MS65 or better condition is it about as rare as the 1862, not quite as rare as the 1860 or 1863, and not nearly as rare as the 1864 (the rarest of the copper-nickel Indian cents in Gem condition). The 1861 owes its status as a rarer coin to its low mintage as in the 1950s and 1960s mintage was everything.
The 1861 is generally well struck. Gems often have exceptionally attractive frosty luster.
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