1905 Indian Head Cent
Struck on $2½ Gold Planchet
PCGS MS 64
There are five Indian cents known that are stuck on gold planchets. Among them are three dated 1900, this piece dated 1905, and an example dated 1906. The Judd pattern reference lists 1900 and 1907 gold cents in the section on mint errors. However, Andrew W. Pollock, III, listed the 1900 gold Indian cents as P-1990 in the regular pattern section of his reference. Pollock writes: "Listed in Judd as a mint error, but it is difficult to imagine that a Mint employee would be so careless as to feed gold planchets into a coinage press fitted with one-cent piece dies." Pollock suggests that these pieces may have been deliberately struck for one or more collectors.
The following Census of gold Indian cents was compiled from a variety of sources, including uspatterns.com
, Donald Taxay's 1976 Catalogue and Encyclopedia, Andrew Pollock's 1994 United States Patterns and Related Issues, the Judd reference, and selected auction catalogs. Conversations with Fred Weinberg and Richard Snow provided additional background.
1900 MS65 PCGS. Col. E.H.R. Green; B.G. Johnson; John Beck (Abner Kreisberg Corporation, 1/1975), lot 609; Mike Byers; Auction '89 (Superior, 7/1989), lot 856; Bowers and Merena (8/1991), lot 4103; recently PCGS authenticated as a 1900 Indian cent struck on a gold $2.50 planchet, and graded MS65. The 1991 ANA catalog gives a weight of 65.8 grains, 1.3 grains too much for a quarter eagle planchet.
1900 AU55. Heritage (8/1993), lot 8000. The 1993 ANA catalog gives a weight of 4.35 grams (67.12 grains), 2.62 grains too much for a quarter eagle planchet.
1900. Michael Hodder reported in a May 14, 1996 letter to Q. David Bowers that he had personally seen three different pieces, all with weights in the range of 65.8 to 67.1 grains. See Bowers' A Buyer's and Enthusiast's Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Cents, p. 427.
1905 MS64 PCGS. Apparently unknown to the numismatic community prior to the current offering. Weight: 64.5 grains, the standard weight for a quarter eagle planchet.
1906 AU58 NGC. Stack's (6/2004), lot 4097; Stack's (9/2009), lot 4299. Weight: 64.4 grains, within the 0.25 grain tolerance for a quarter eagle planchet.
1907. Listed in the Judd pattern book, and in Donald Taxay's Catalogue and Encyclopedia [of] U.S. Coins. The 1907 gold Indian cent is currently unlocated.
There is one example dated 1900 that was stuck in silver, from the identical dies as the 1900 gold Indian cents, suggesting they were all made at or near the same time.
This example has brilliant yellow surfaces with frosty mint luster. A few faint hairlines on the cheek prevent a Gem grade assignment. This stunning gold Indian cent is one of the truly amazing error coins of all time and is unique for the date.