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Value of Indian-Head Penny Can Vary

August 21, 1986|DON ALPERT

Question: Can you tell me from what year to what year Indian-head pennies were issued, and how many were in circulation in that time? I have a 1901 Indian-head penny. How much is it worth?--F.N.

Answer: Indian-head cents were issued from 1859 to 1909. The number issued from year to year varied, but there were literally millions and millions produced. Certain dates, however, are considered key issues and are the hardest to locate when completing a set. Others are common, such as your 1901 cent. There were more than 79 million produced in 1901, making your coin worth about 25 cents and up, depending upon condition.

At one time, the Indian-head cent was among the most popular series to collect. But the popularity of series are cyclical, and currently the Indian-head cent is not in great favor. Still, it is a most beautiful coin, and it appeals to nostalgia buffs and others who enjoy history along with numismatics. Circulated Indian-head cents are quite common as a rule and not terribly expensive. But certain proofs and varieties are rather scarce and can cost a pretty penny.

According to Q. David Bowers in his book "United States Copper Coins," those dated before 1879 are elusive. Key dates include the 1864-L, 1871 and 1877. Later scarce issues are the 1908-S and the 1909-S. Brilliant uncirculated Indian-head cents of all dates are quite desirable. Unfortunately, many circulated cents have been dipped and cleaned to give them the appearance of being brilliant uncirculated. Circulated coins are still circulated, no matter how much they shine. Copper has a tendency to tarnish, but even those that are chocolate brown can still be uncirculated. Learn all you can about this series, as with other coins, before you buy.

Q: Could you tell me something about the dollar I have? It is dated 1923.--N.S.

A: Your silver dollar is a Peace type, which was minted from 1921 to 1935. It was issued to commemorate the end of World War I and was designed by Anthony de Francisci. Your coin is a high-mintage issue. There were 30.8 million from Philadelphia (no mint mark), 6.8 million from Denver (D mint mark) and 19 million from San Francisco (S mint mark). Your coin is worth $8 and up.

Q: I have a $100 bill that looks as if the paper was folded by the force of the printing plate as it was pressed over the bill. The bill has been circulated but is in excellent condition. Can you tell me its value?--L.C.C.

A: Your bill has a paper fold, but that is not a major error, and consequently it has no collector value. It's just worth face value.

Q: I have a two-part question. The first is that recently I went to my bank deposit box, took out my Lincoln copper pennies and noticed that they had a green mold on them. Is there anything on the market that I can use to clean them?

My second question is that I am thinking about buying 1971, 1972 and 1973 proof Eisenhower dollars, plus one each of the uncirculated 40%-silver half dollars. What do you think would be a fair price to pay for them and what about their future?--J.G.

A: Cleaning coins should only be done by an expert, if done at all. But I'll tell you this, when copper cents have turned green, the experts clean them with Vaseline. Never rub the coins. Pat dry with a soft towel. As for the Ike proof dollars, a 1971 will cost you about $8, a 1972 about $11. The 1973 is $63. The 40% silver is essentially bullion. As for the future, I don't know. Chances are they'll advance in value, but there are never any guarantees.

Q: My husband and I have a gold Russian coin, which was his grandmother's, dated 1899 for 10 rubles, and an American silver dollar dated 1923. Would you please tell me the approximate value of each?--R.D.K.

A: Your gold Russian ruble is worth about $80, the Peace dollar is $8 and up, depending upon condition.

Q: I would appreciate it if you would print information concerning the value of a $500 playing chip from the Sahara Tahoe casino. It is not dated (about 15 years old) and is sealed in a plastic dome. It is orange and black and says on the top: Lake Tahoe-Nevada. On the bottom is: $500 Sahara Tahoe. I have been unable to find any information in the Player Chip Journals as most of the coins are of lesser denominations.--C.L.

A: This is not really a numismatic question. I do know that Nevada casinos change their chips regularly, but I don't know what the policy is regarding old chips. I doubt if your chip has any collector value, but it might have face value. Check with the casino to be sure.

Q: Some years ago I purchased some 1966, '67 and '69 U.S. Special Mint Sets from the United States Assay Office in San Francisco. Each set consists of a 1-cent, 5-cent, 10-cent, 25-cent and 50-cent coin, still in the original plastic cases. Please give me your opinion as to the value of these sets.--C.S.

A: Your mint sets might be called special but they do not have special value, unfortunately. The '66 is worth about $4, the '67 is $5.50 and the '69 is $3.

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