There are a lot of old coins produced by the US Mint that are a hit with collectors, but few are more of a hit than the Indian Head Penny series. These coins are a crucial part of US coinage history and, as such, are a perfect addition to any US coin collection.
The 1898 Indian Head is one of the later editions and is necessary to complete many people’s collections. Finding the coin is one challenge, but collectors will tell you that finding them in pristine condition is a different challenge entirely. At the end of the day, every collector desires to have the coin that is in the best possible condition.
For collectors, the condition of the coin(s) they own is what separates a good collection from a great collection. For coins that are 100+ years old such as the 1898 Indian Head, collectors everywhere only want the most well-preserved coins available. In order to decipher which coins are the best, collectors look to a coin’s grade.
Typically, judging a coin’s grade is no more difficult than assessing the condition the coin is in. While this is so, official grades can only be derived by professional coin grading services that utilize the opinion of experts. Still, by way of the specifications below, you can gain a better understanding of what qualities a coin of a certain grade will have.
Uncirculated: An Uncirculated 1898 Indian Head is a rare find and is one that never saw days in circulation. These coins are in absolutely perfect shape and show no signs of wear. The raised aspects of the coin and all of the imagery is present on the coin’s faces. Unfortunately, the process of aging has caused some, if not most, of the coin’s original luster to have worn away.
Extremely Fine: If you have an Extremely Fine 1898 Indian Head Penny, you are going to need to closely examine the coin to find signs of wear. These coins were only in circulation for a limited amount of time and therefore will show almost no signs of wear.
Fine: Coin’s deserving of this grade saw ample time in circulation and will show a good amount of wear. Still, the coin’s imagery and some of the texture will have survived the years. Because so many 1898 Indian Head Pennies were produced, finding them in Fine grade is not as much of a challenge as it is with other editions of the coin.
Good: Coin’s receiving this grade will have seen more time in circulation than any other 1898 Indian Head. The faces of the coin will have been smoothed out due to years of exchanging hands, and the imagery/inscriptions will be somewhat difficult to make out with the naked eye. In some cases these coins will even be bent or chipped.
As far as giving these coins a price is concerned, look no further than the grade or overall condition of the coin. Because so many 1898s survived the years, those in poor condition will not run you nearly as much as one in perfect shape. Even in perfect shape, however, these coins are on the more affordable side of the spectrum as far as Indian Head pricing goes. Refer to the chart below in order to get a better idea of what an 1898 Indian Head will cost you if you are given its grade.
1898 Indian Head Penny
|1898||$3||$5||$15||$25||Source: Red Book|