The 1885 Indian Head Penny is just one of many editions, but as part of the coins from the 1880s, it is especially popular amongst collectors. Being more than 100 years old, there really aren’t many of these coins that have survived the years, and even fewer that have survived in decent condition. Collectors are always trying to get their hands on old coins, and few are more important pieces of history than Indian Heads.
These coins were extremely popular when they were minted, and as such they were used for many things on a day to day basis. Over the years, because of this heavy circulation, many of the coins were either lost or damaged heavily. At the highest end of the price spectrum are those coins that have survived the years in pristine condition.
When it comes to coins as old as the 1885 Indian Head Penny, the condition of the coin is everything for collectors. Naturally, the coins that are in the best condition are those that are most heavily sought after by collectors. In order to officially judge the condition of a given coin, you need to give the coin a grade.
Grading is typically executed by a professional grading service that employs experts, but by using the specifications below you can give your coin(s) a rough grade, albeit an unofficial one.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated 1885 Indian Head Penny is one that was never circulated. Because of this, the coin will show absolutely no signs of wear. The only minor flaw you will find with these coins is that some of the mint’s original luster will have worn away due to aging.
Extremely Fine: An Extremely Fine Indian Head is still in great condition, but some years in circulation have caused some signs of wear to appear. Despite small scratching, the coin’s faces will be flawless and complete with most of its original texture. These coins, like Uncirculated versions, are quite difficult to find.
Fine: A coin that receives a Fine grade is one that saw its fair share of circulation. Because they were exchanged on more or less a daily basis, these coins will show plenty of scratching and other signs of wear. The texture of the coin, the raised aspects of it, will have been worn down a bit as well. Finally, the coin will have lost most, if not all, of its shine.
Good: A coin deserving of this grade will be the most heavily circulated you will find. Their faces will be mostly smooth thanks to millions of times being used and the wear and tear will be on the extremely heavy side of things. The imagery on the coin can still be made out, but not without some effort.
Like most Indian Head Pennies, the price you will pay directly correlates with the condition the coin is in. While most 1880s Indian Heads see their prices rise dramatically for coins graded Uncirculated and Extremely Fine, the 1885 edition sees its price increase more dramatically than usual as the condition improves. By way of the chart below, you can get a rough idea of what you will pay for a given 1885 Indian Head Penny, given its grade.
1885 Indian Head Penny
|1885||$8||$15||$60||$80||Source: Red Book|