||May 2019 Baltimore U.S. Coins Auction
||Outstanding Gem Mint State 1877 Indian Cent
1877 Indian Cent. Snow-2. MS-65 RB (PCGS).
Offered is a rare and highly desirable Gem Uncirculated example of this legendary key date Indian cent. Satiny and smooth, both sides display a seamless blend of medium orange color and golden-brown patina. Fully struck and expertly preserved. With just 852,500 pieces produced, the 1877 has the lowest mintage among circulation strike Indian cents after only the 1909-S (309,000 struck). The 1877 is rarer than the 1909-S in all grades, however, because it was made during an era in which most collectors were content to obtain a Proof example. As a result, circulation strike 1877 cents were generally overlooked in their day, most finding their way into commercial channels, which generally meant several years of recycling between the Mint and banks. This process actually explains the low mintage for the circulation strike 1877.
Although popular during the Civil War and early Reconstruction eras, when silver and gold coins had disappeared from circulation in the East and Midwest, by the 1870s large quantities of bronze cents had begun to accumulate in banks as public demand for them waned. Through the Act of March 3, 1871, Congress authorized the Mint to redeem these bronze cents (along with copper and nickel coins), melt them, and use the metal retrieved to strike new coins. In 1874 the Mint modified this practice by simply reissuing the redeemed coins alongside whatever newly struck examples were required to meet demand. In 1877, a depression year, the Philadelphia Mint redeemed an unusually large number of bronze cents -- 9,908,148 coins (per Rick Snow, 2014) -- and reissued 9,821,500 coins, largely meeting demand. Relatively few new coins were required, explaining the small mintage for the circulation strike 1877 Indian cent.
Eagerly sought in all grades, both circulated and Mint State, the present Gem 1877 is a significant condition rarity that is sure to please even the most discerning numismatist.
PCGS# 2128. NGC ID: 2284.
Click here for certification details from PCGS.