Part of the earlier editions of the Indian Head Penny, the 1874 edition is one of the first coins made with a 95% copper alloy. Like most coins produced during the early 1870s, this one is incredibly difficult to find simply because very few have survived to today. As the years move forward, this coin will only become more difficult to find as demand continues to grow.
When it comes to trying to determine the value of your Indian Head Penny, the most accurate way of doing so is by determining a grade. Typically, determining a grade requires you sending your coin(s) to a professional grading service so that they can carefully analyze all aspects of the coin. Because that is a costly process, you can attempt to determine a coin’s grade yourself.
Though the grade you give your coin will by no means be an official grade, it can help you with regard to determining a rough value. Listed below are some grades as well as what your Indian Head might look like if it is of that specific grade.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated 1874 Indian Head will appear almost identical to what it looked like the day it was produced. Age has caused some of the coin’s shine to diminish a bit, but all in all the coin looks pristine and is free of scratching and blemishing. As you might expect, Uncirculated Indian Heads are by far the most difficult to find and, as such, the most expensive.
Extremely Fine: An Extremely Fine coin is one that saw time in circulation, but did not stay in circulation long at all. The Indian Head on the front of the coin will be entirely intact with very little noticeable wear, as will the reverse side of the coin. The shine of the coin will have diminished a bit simply due to the changing of hands, but overall the coin is quite attractive and free of most wear.
Fine: A Fine coin will show some noticeable wear, but it will still be in decent shape. Through the years, the coin’s texture will have been worn down because of circulation, but the imagery and inscriptions will still mostly be able to be seen with the naked eye. As far as the coin’s shine is concerned, it will be almost entirely eliminated thanks to years of changing hands.
Good: A coin in this condition will show quite heavy signs of wear. The imagery will be incredibly difficult to make out and the texture will be almost entirely worn down such that the face is smoothed. Even though these coins appear to be in rough shape, the fact that they are as old as they are makes them far more valuable than their condition might lead you to believe.
As for determining a price of your 1874 Indian Head is concerned, you should look first and foremost at the coin’s condition. The better the condition the coin is in, the higher a price tag it will carry. In fact, as the coin’s grade increases its value does too, and in most cases, the value of the coin will jump dramatically from grade to grade. Below is a simple chart you can use to determine the value of a coin given a specific grade.
1874 Indian Head Penny
|1874||$20||$45||$100||$150||Source: Red Book|