The 1881 Indian Head Penny is seeing demand rise in recent years because the quantity of coins available are not able to satisfy how many people want them. On top of that, the condition of these coins means everything to collectors, and finding them in solid condition is a challenge in and of itself. As the years move forward, the 1881 Indian Head will only grow more popular and increasingly difficult to find.
As was stated above, condition is everything, and with coins this old it is imperative that you do everything you can to get your hands on the coin that is in the best possible state of preservation.
When it comes to coins that are this old, the first thing collectors will look at is the coin’s grade. Grades are a direct reflection of condition and collectors tend to put a lot of weight into the exact grade a specific coin is given. For the Indian Head, because they are so old, it is naturally a bit more difficult to find them in good condition, which is exactly why investors are willing to pay so much more for a coin in pristine condition than they are for one in so-so condition.
By using the specifications below, you can determine a rough grade for an Indian Head based on its appearance.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated Indian Head Penny is one that has never exchanged hands in its 100+ year history. These coins will look and feel almost identical to the way they did the day they were produced. On top of that, much of the original luster of the coin will remain intact and pleasing to the eyes. These coins are extremely difficult to find simply because they were so popular to be used for day to day purchases.
Extremely Fine: An Extremely Fine Indian Head Penny will show much of the coin’s original luster, but some of it will have faded due to some circulation. The coin’s faces will be mostly free from scratches and other blemishes. The raised imagery and overall texture of the coin will remain, but will have faded a small amount.
Fine: A coin in this condition will show ample signs of wear and be complete with plenty of scratching. The coin’s luster will be mostly faded and some of the raised imagery and descriptions will have been worn down due to years of exchange. Still, the coin’s images are able to be made out with the naked eye without too much trouble.
Good: A coin in this condition has seen plenty of time in circulation. Not only will almost all of the raised imagery be worn down, much of it will be difficult to be made out with the naked eye. These coins are the most commonly found type of 1881 Indian Head simply because most of the ones that have survived are in this condition.
The Indian Head Penny’s value is a direct reflection of the condition the coin is in. While an 1881 in Fine or Good condition will not yield a massive price tag, the price of the coin quickly grows as the condition improves. This is a general rule of thumb for most Indian Head Pennies, but especially earlier editions like this one. The chart below will give you a good idea of how much you can expect to pay for an Indian Head given its grade.
1881 Indian Head Penny
|1881||$5||$8||$25||$35||Source: Red Book|