PCGS Coin of the Month: 1902 Indian Cent

1902 Indian Cent, PCGS MS68RD, obverse

The 1902 Indian Cent, PCGS MS68RD is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Month.

The Indian cent, struck from 1859 through 1909, is one of the most widely collected coins of the 19th century, perhaps behind only the Morgan Dollar, which debuted in 1878. Indian cents are ideal for a vast array of collectors because common dates are generally quite affordable in the circulated grades yet offer tremendous challenges in the better grades. Some pieces are nearly impossible to find in Gem grades and with Red coloration, which represents the original “red” color of copper after being struck. 

1902 Indian Cent, PCGS MS68RD, reverse

The year 1902 isn’t necessarily recognized as a rare date among Indian cents. In fact, it’s one of the most common when taking into account mintage figures and overall availability. However, it’s difficult to examples that offer both an original red surface color and grade into the stratospheric “Superb” realm. Such pieces are the pursuit of all serious (and financially well-heeled) series enthusiasts, many of whom compete on set registries that reward the finest collections. 

An Indian cent connoisseur building a registry set and vying for top honors will need some extremely nice examples to have a shot at earning award-worthy nods, given the incredible competition out there today. One of the ways a collector can ensure they have a real chance at winning such acclaim is by purchasing something like this 1902 Indian cent, which was graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as Mint State-68 Red (RD). This phenomenal piece offers superior eye appeal and is just one of seven examples in the entire Indian cent series that PCGS had graded at such a lofty level. When this specimen was offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries in August 2022, it realized an impressive $120,000. 

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