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In the Corner with Dan Hughes


Jan 17, 2014

One of the first "old" coins many of find when we begin metal detecting is the Indian head penny.

Why did the Flying Eagle cent, which preceded the Indian head penny, last just three years? 

Who was used as a model for the Indian on the penny? 

And which Indian head penny is worth a thousand dollars, even in not-so-great condition?

These questions and more are all answered in this week's show.

For some informative articles on treasure hunting, and a nice ad for my book The Metal Detecting Manual, visit http://treasuremanual.com.


Treasure Hunter
over three years ago

@Leonard...The reason the 1877 is so valuable is stated in the article, the mintage is only 900k that is a very low mintage and to find any coin of that age in "near-mint condition" is going to drive prices to the moon!

Dan Hughes
three and a half years ago

Leonard, here ya go:

In 1864, the Philadelphia mint produced almost 40 million Indian head pennies.

By 1877, thanks to a recession and some coin-redeeming practices of the mint, the output dropped to a record-low 900,000 pennies minted.

So less that a million Indian head pennies were minted with the 1877 date; the fewest ever made in Philadelphia. And - the fewer available, the more valuable.

Also, people didn't yet collect coins as investments, so most of them went right into circulation. There are very few of them still around in near-mint condition, and those are worth about $4,000 each.

What puzzles me is that the 1909-S Indian head penny is worth less than the 1877, even though they only made 309,000 of them. Part of the answer is that since 1909 was the last year for the Indian head, more people held onto them rather than put them into circulation where they would get lost. (Ever found a penny with your detector? Pennies do get lost a lot.)

Leonard
three and a half years ago

You never said why the 1877 penny is worth so much.

James Bizzell
three and a half years ago

Thanks, Dan. Always informative. I will be on the lookout for that 1877 Indian Head!!!