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Indian Head Cents

By Q. David Bowers, Founder

Author: Q. David Bowers / Wednesday, October 01, 2014 / Categories: Answers for the Avid Collector

Question: I have an 1868 Indian cent that is graded MS-65, but I noticed that there are some cuts and marks on the cheek of the Indian that are readily visible. However, there are no marks anywhere else on the coin. How can a coin have marks in only one place?

Answer: While it is impossible to “diagnose” the coin without actually seeing it, it is possible for a coin to have marks in only one place. If your cent really has no other marks anywhere else, this might indicate that these marks were on the original planchet, and that the area on the cheek did not strike up fully, thus preserving the original planchet marks. If this is the case, the marks should be in random orientation (not all in the same direction as a scuff or scrape would be) and recessed into the surface, with no metal displacement at the sides of each mark. To determine this, you will need a very strong magnifier or, even better, a microscope. Good luck!