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The Popular 1888/7 Indian Cent Variety

By Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez - March 18, 2022

The 1888/7 or 1888 8 Over 7 Indian Cent is one of the most sought-after varieties in the entire series. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

The Indian Cent series is ideal for those who enjoy numismatic challenge and set-building complexity, both of which are served up in heaping helpings thanks to the many key dates, semi-keys, and varieties this coin has to offer. And when it comes to varieties, one of the first that many think of in the Indian Cent series is the 1888/7, or 1888 8 Over 7.

This variety is thought to have arisen from an 1887 die being repunched with the 1888 date. However, it’s likely this die didn’t see service for very long, as evidenced by a die break above the “TE” of “UNITED” on the obverse, suggesting die failure in short order. This is theorized as to one reason the 1888/7 Indian Cent is so rare today.

Amazingly, this overdate, hailing from a long-popular series, was not discovered – or at least announced – until 1970, when numismatic expert James F. Ruddy first reported this variety. He said two examples of this variety were revealed among a small hoard of Indian Cents in an old Virginia mansion. The telltale diagnostic for the 1888/7 is a blob under the bottom loop of the third (or last) “8” in the date.

Closeup of the 1888/7 Indian Cent diagnostic blob in the date. Courtesy of PCGS TrueView. Click image to enlarge.

Despite additional findings in the last few decades, the 1888 8 Over 7 Indian Cent remains extremely rare, with PCGS estimating perhaps 500 examples across all grades. The vast majority of these pieces are in circulated grades, with the largest cluster of certified specimens hovering in the range of G4 to F12. A smattering are encapsulated in higher grades, with but only five to 10 believed to be in uncirculated condition. PCGS has graded just three at MS60 or above, including one in MS63BN, another in MS63RB, and one MS64RB. None are known or believed to exist in RD.

Prices for this esoteric variety begin around $2,000 for a G4 and climb to $4,250 in F12, $8,000 in XF40, and $16,000 in AU50. The few pieces in Mint State all have values in the high five figures, with the record price claimed by an MS63BN that took $74,750 in 2007. Current market values suggest that specimen and the two others claiming RB designations would fetch much higher prices if they crossed the auction block today.


  • Breen, Walter. Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins. Doubleday, 1988
  • Snow, Richard. A Guide Book of Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents. Whitman Publishing, 2016.
Article provided by PCGS at
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