How Much is a 1888 Indian Head Penny Worth? (Price Chart)

The US Mint was producing Indian head pennies from January 1, 1859, to 1909. The first coins minted by 1864 contained 88% copper and 12% nickel, but it was changed in 1864. Their weight was reduced, a small L appeared as Longacre’s initials, and new penny alloy changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin.

In 1888, this coin was minted in Philadelphia only. Nowadays, 1888 Indian head penny value depends on its quality and color variations ranging from a cheaper deep brown to highly appreciated rich red. The most expensive piece in this series is an error stuck this year.

1888 Indian Head Penny History

1888 Indian Head Penny History
Image

James B. Longacre, the US Mint chief engraver, designed the Indian head penny in 1859. This coin replaced the Flying Eagle, the first nation small cent.

1888 Indian head penny value

Location Year Minted Value
Philadelphia 1888 37,489,832 $5
Philadelphia 1888 proof 4,582 $5
Total / 37,494,414 /

Even though many Americans believe that this coin pays tribute to Native Americans, the head on the obverse is not an Indian chief. It is actually a Lady Liberty with a feathered headdress on her head.

It seems that Sarah, Longacre’s 12-year-old daughter, was a model for this image. The surrounding legend includes the date and the inscription of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

1888 Indian head penny value

Face value 1 cent ($0.01)
Compound 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin
Coin weight 0.10970 ounces (3.11 g)
Coin diameter 0.74803 inches (19 mm)
Coin thickness 0.05905 inches (1.5 mm)
Shape Round
Edge Plain

You can also see an oak wreath surrounding the words ONE CENT in the middle of the coin reverse. There is also a shield above the coin value. Since the Indian head penny was minted for half a century, it is one of America’s longest-produced coins ever.

 

1888 Indian Head Penny Types

In 1888, only a Philadelphia mint produced these pennies. Both regular coins and proofs were without a particular mint mark.

1888 Indian head penny value*

Quality 1888 1888 last 8 over 7
Good $3.2 $1,285
Very good $3.8 $1,670
Fine $5.5 $2,222
Very fine $9.4 $3,780
Extra fine $23 $8,305
About uncirculated $30 $19,475
MS 60 $72 $24,970
MS 63 $137 $38,120
PR 63 $165 /

*by USA Coin book

 

1888 Indian head penny without a mint mark

1888 Indian head penny without a mint mark

The Philadelphia mint produced 37,489,832 Indian head pennies in 1888. It is not a particularly expensive coin nowadays, and you can buy one for $3 to $5 in decent condition. On the other hand, a certified specimen in the mint state can bring you about $150 at auction.

1888 Indian head penny value

By JM Bullion
Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1888 $3 $5 $22 $27
By CoinStudy
Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1888 $2 $3 $16 $79
By Coinflation
Year Quality
Good Fine Extra fine Uncirculated
1888 $1.5 to $2 $3.5 to $4 $13 to $14 $32+

In this particular case, the coin color will determine its value. You can find three shade variations, including:

  • Red 1888 Indian head penny
  • Red-brown 1888 Indian head penny
  • Brown 1888 Indian head penny

The red pieces are the most appreciated among collectors, and their price is always higher. Always take care to have your penny professionally cleaned and graded to increase its value.

 

1888 Indian head penny proof

1888 Indian head penny proof
Image

Even though the Philadelphia mint produced 4,582 Indian head proofs in 1888, they were not exceptionally scarce.

1888 proof Indian head penny value by Greysheet

Quality 1888 proof with brown surface 1888 proof with red-brown surface 1888 proof with red surface
PR 60 $143 to $172 $176 to $211 $260 to $300
PR 61 $162 to $195 $221 to $254 $292 to $336
PR 62 $188 to $226 $260 to $300 $325 to $374
PR 63 $221 to $254 $300 to $344 $364 to $420
PR 64 $292 to $336 $422 to $486 $1,250 to $1,440
PR 65 $422 to $486 $572 to 658 $3,750 to $4,310
PR 66 $910 to $1,090 $1,150 to $1,310 /
PR 67 $3,440 to $4,060 $4,060 to $4,690 /

If you are a dedicated collector and look for the best coins available, you should pay a few hundred dollars for a piece in the mint state. Only rare PR 67 are worth $3,500 to $4,500, depending on their surface color.

 

1888 Indian Head Penny Rarities and Key Dates

1888 Indian head penny last 8 over 7 error coin

The most valuable Indian head penny ever produced is the MS 63 ‘last 8 over 7’ variety coin minted in Philadelphia in 1888. This penny was initially made with the 1887 date before forging the 1888 year over it. However, you can still see a piece of the number 7 under the 8.

No one knows the exact number of these errors, but they are definitely scarce. The PCGS registered only five of these Indian head penny errors in MS 60+ condition, but only one is MS 63. However, you should be careful with paying the asking prices since there is a possibility that a few more pieces exist somewhere.

1888/7 Indian head penny value by Greysheet

Quality 1888/7 1888/7 with red-brown surface
Good $1,750 to $2,370 /
Very good $2,310 to $3,230 /
Fine $4,690 to $6,320 /
Very fine $5,940 to $7,550 /
Extra fine $8,120 to $12,200 /
AU $13,800 to $34,500 /
MS 60 $39,000 to $44,800 /
MS 61 $43,200 to $49,700 /
MS 62 $54,000 to $62,100 /
MS 63 $69,000 to $79,400 $81,000 to $93,200
MS 64 $84,000 to $96,600 $96,000 to $110,400

The USA Coin Book estimated the value of the penny in good condition at $1,285. On the other hand, the MS 63 coin price was estimated to be $38,120. However, this highest-grade coin reached $74,750 at auction in 2007.

 

1888 Indian Head Penny Grading

1888 Indian Head Penny Grading

Since the 1888 Indian head penny has a rare and costly error, you should always ask an expert for evaluation and grading. Maybe the coin you have is that particular precious most collectors want to get.

1888 Indian head penny value*

Quality 1888 1888 last 8 over 7
Good $3 $670
Very fine $4 $6,160
Extra fine $5 $12,330
AU $60 $21,850
MS 63 $140 $45,900
MS 65 $1,240 /
PR 65 $400 /

*by COIN HelpU

Uncirculated – This particular penny never spent a day in circulation, so it often kept the luster and texture from the first day after minting. There were no signs of wear or scratching, and the high design points are still sharp and visible. The only flaw you can sometimes notice can be a lack of original luster due to aging.

1888 Indian head penny value by Greysheet

Quality 1888 1888 with red-brown surface 1888 with red surface
Good $4 to $4.85 / /
Very good $4 to $4.85 / /
Fine $4.4 to $7.3 / /
Very fine $8.8 to $14.6 / /
Extra fine $24.3 to $30.8 / /
AU $27 to $81 / /
MS 60 $74 to $89 / /
MS 61 $81 to $97 / /
MS 62 $122 to $140 $170 to $203 /
MS 63 $156 to $187 $208 to $240 $390 to $455
MS 64 $214 to $247 $422 to $488 $715 to $845
MS 65 $520 to $650 $1,020 to $1,180 $2,060 to $2,370
MS 66 $1,150 to $1,290 $1,750 to $2,120 $6,880 to $9,380
MS 67 / / $28,800 to $36,000

Extra fine – Since this coin was circulated for a while, you can notice slight signs of wear, minor imperfections, and light scratching on its surface. Besides, most parts are in pristine condition.

Hair curls and headdress ribbon have stayed separated, while the word LIBERTY is untouched and sharply defined. You can expect that the coin luster has darkened a bit, but the texture is still retained.

Fine – A penny in this state spent time in circulation but is still in decent condition. You can notice scratching and visible signs of use, but letters and essential details like feathers in a tribe headdress are still present.

1888 Indian head penny value*

Quality 1888 1888 last 8 over 7
Good $1.9 $1,900
Very good $3.8 $2,850
Fine $6.65 $4,750
Very fine $9.5 $8,550
Extra fine $33.25 $13,300
Uncirculated $62 $38,000
BU brown $430 /
BU red/brown $855 /
BU red $2,375 /

*by Hobbizine

Good – The coin graded as good is the worst collectible piece you can find on the market. It spent years in circulation, so most are scratched, bent, and in poor shape.

Sometimes, most details are invisible, and the surfaces are almost smooth. However, the ‘last 8 over 7’ error Indian head penny minted in 1888 will be worth a fortune even in the worst condition.

 

Summary

The US Mint chief engraver James B. Longacre designed the Indian head penny in 1859. The coin minted in 1888 kept the same name, but the US Mint changed its weight and metal composition. Most coins have a value from $3 to $150, but you can get a fortune if you have a rare piece with a famous error.

Leave a Comment