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I Did It! My Unique Indian Head Cent Set (WARNING -- Looong read)

winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,740 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 30, 2023 11:06PM in U.S. Coin Forum

As some of you know, I’ve been working on a very unique Indian Head Cent set. While my Registry set is currently ranked #9, that is not what makes it unique. Several collectors have previously put together Indian Cent sets that are 100% CAC. A few other collectors have previously put sets together where every coin has Rick Snow’s Eagle Eye Photo Seal. But according to Rick Snow, this is the ONLY set put together where EVERY coin has BOTH a CAC sticker AND an Eagle Eye Photo Seal!

Isn’t having BOTH stickers redundant? No doubt there’s a LOT of redundancy having both stickers. However, I believe that CAC and Rick Snow place different weights from each other on various factors. I believe that Rick Snow places a heavier weight on strike and die state than does CAC, and might also be a bit more strict on the amount of carbon spots/flecks than CAC, especially on coins graded MS66 and higher. On the other hand, I believe that CAC places a heavier weight on luster than does Rick Snow. By having both stickers, I believe I have the best of both worlds for this set!

My records don’t go back to when I had raw coins, but it looks like my first purchase of a slabbed Indian Cent was back in May 2016. That coin has since been sold. The purchase of the first coin in my present set goes back five years, to September 2017. I bought that coin from Rick Snow.

A couple of collectors expressed disbelief to me when I shared my plan for the uniqueness of this set. At least one felt I would never accomplish it in my lifetime, but he did truly wish me good luck, and he’s been rooting for me.

Putting together this set has given me the most fun and joy I’ve had from our wonderful hobby, even more fun than in completing my lifelong collection of my highly ranked Type Sets and a few other sets. However, it was not easy, and I’ll describe the tremendous help I’ve received from MANY collectors and dealers in helping me accomplish this goal.

Thank goodness I have my own business, where my assistant knows very well I take time each day to search on the internet for coins. She also knows to interrupt me if I’m on the phone with a client and a collector or dealer calls regarding coins.

Every day I look at collectorscorner.com for new listings of IHC’s. Every week I look at new listings of GC, DLRC, Heritage, Legend Numismatics and Legend Auctions, Stacks, etc. I also receive daily emails from many dealers showing me their newps.

Just as helpful, and truly super appreciated, is the help I received from the collector community and several dealers. Since they knew of this project, I would get pm’s, emails, and phone calls pointing out coins to me that might fit the bill. Many have also sold me THEIR coins, including a regular forum member who sold me his 1877 MS65RB that had both stickers on it (for those that don’t know, the 1877 is the key date in this series)! I’ve had collectors and dealers alike offer me coins without CAC’s (some raw) and my purchase was conditional upon those coins receiving CAC stickers, as well as me seeing excellent photos, so I could make a determination if it was a candidate for Rick’s Photo Seal.

I even had a collector let me know that he noticed that one of the very top collectors had just retired his IHC set. I jumped on that, and before that collector had a chance to consign his coins, I did quick detective work to determine how to contact him. I successfully negotiated buying seven of his coins.

Separately, I’ve had great cooperation from many dealers. If my research determined shortly before a major coin show that they had a coin or two in stock that I needed, and it looked real good, and had a CAC sticker, I would ask them if they could run the coin over to Rick Snow’s table at the show to ask him if that coin merited his Photo Seal. Several dealers were kind enough to do this for me, and Rick Snow was super generous with his cooperation, especially since he was not the one selling me those coins.

But most of all, this set would not have been completed without the significant and critical help of Rick Snow himself, the world’s foremost authority on Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents. As many of you know, he literally “wrote the book” on Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents! When I first discussed the challenge of putting together a set with these restrictions, I let him know I planned on having a minimum grade of MS64, and each bronze coin would be no less than RB. It was Rick that suggested I raise that minimum to coins grading no less than MS65. While I was in a position to afford this, I asked him would raising the minimum grade requirement keep me from ever finishing this set? He had confidence I would indeed be able to accomplish it. Looking back, I’m thrilled he convinced me to climb a steeper hill, and the result is a set that is fully GEM!

Rick also was kind enough to give me some pointers on what it takes for a coin to merit his Eagle Eye Photo Seal. I’ll pass a couple of pointers on: The first three feather tips from the left MUST show some detail – the more detail the better. As I examined coins, sure enough I’d see coins with what looked like nice strikes, but those three feather tips were amazingly often very weak. Those would not cut it. Separately, while none of us like carbon spots and flecks, they invariably occur on many old copper coins. It’s the nature of the beast. After a short time I learned roughly what is acceptable and what is not. MS66’s have a lower tolerance than MS65’s. The area where the carbon spots/flecks appear is a factor as well. Finally, Die State is important to Rick. Obviously, a coin struck from newer dies is preferable to coins struck from older dies.

Some may ask if I “settled” on obtaining some coins just to fill holes? While I’m still on the hunt for some upgrades, I strongly believe that with only one exception, I did not settle at all. As most of you know, when a copper coin has an “RB” suffix, that coin has to have at least 5% Red in it, and can have as much as 95% Red before it might get the RD suffix. My RB coins in this set all have a high percentage of Red. I encourage you to click on the hotlink below to the details of my Registry set. If you click on any photo, it will then allow you to see two or three other photos of each coin. I also included in the comment section the % red that Rick feels each of the RB coins has.

The one exception to settling is my 1890 MSRB. It was the last slot to fill, and in my opinion, the coin in hand is ugly (at least to me). So yes, I'm human. I settled for that coin, and I can't wait for the day when it gets upgraded, or even replaced with an eye appealing coin in that same grade.

As I started this project, one or two forum members felt that Rick’s Photo Seal program was just self-serving. Now that I know Rick quite well, this absolutely could not be further from the truth. While I did buy coins from Rick that met my standards, the vast majority of the coins were bought elsewhere. Out of the 55 coins in the Registry set (and two other varieties shown in the photos below), only six were bought from Rick! But please don’t think I’m being a pig. I’ve made sure to treat Rick fairly, and every time I get an upgrade, I have Rick sell those dupes for me. I’m super appreciative of all of his help. As noted, I absolutely couldn’t have even come close to completing this set without his generosity and help!

While photos appear below, the goal of me showing those is for members to be able to see the labels. Coin details in those photos are poor. You will notice that of the 57 coins shown (55 make up the Registry set), 31 have a “+” grade (54%)!

Click on this hotlink to see coin photos with details, along with the comments section:


Here are photos of the slabs in my Registry Set, along with two varieties - 1860 Pointed Bust and 1873 Closed 3. These photos hopefully clearly show the labels, but unfortunately do not show coin details. As such, I encourage you to click on the hotlink above to see coin details. Click on any photo from the above hotlink to see several photos of each coin.


A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:


  • That's an impressive collection! You certainly put a ton of time into finding everything for the set.

  • JonBrand83JonBrand83 Posts: 430 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 12:06PM

    Well done, and thanks for showing! I love the group shot. I am a fan of both stickers and having the multiple expert approval.


  • CrustyCrusty Posts: 1,042 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats. Such a sweet set. It made me smile knowing your Secretary knows to to interrupt your business calls if a coin related call comes in. Love it!

  • pcgscacgoldpcgscacgold Posts: 2,514 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats @winesteven
    You have put together an amazing collection in a short time period.

  • Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 3,980 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Your set looks great. I see what you mean about that 1890. I personally like woodgrained copper coins, but the way it makes the extreme left obverse look so dark it lowers the eye appeal.


  • GRANDAMGRANDAM Posts: 8,278 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Eagle Eye & CAC,,,,,, MS65 or better and a lot of +grades,,,,,,quite an achievement ,,,,, way to go!!!!!

    GrandAm :)
  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,567 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A nice collection assembled by a pretty good guy, Congratulations on the accomplishment. I hope you hold on to the set for quite a long while.

  • U1chicagoU1chicago Posts: 5,335 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A big congrats on completing an interesting and unique set!
    One funny thing I noticed is that the 1890, the one coin you want to replace, is sideways in the holder (something that I associate with coins in albums that one wants to eventually replace).

  • gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,172 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Amazingly nice set. PM me and I will give you the address to send them to. :smiley:

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,349 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Absolutely OUTSTANDING! One heck of an accomplishment!

    bob :)

    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,083 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One truly amazing accomplishment
    Congratulations Steve

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 8,710 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great job Steven. I know you are proud of this accomplishment as are most of us. I am truly tickled for you.

    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.
  • gonzergonzer Posts: 2,972 ✭✭✭✭✭

  • anablepanablep Posts: 4,981 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Amazing, awesome, wonderful! Looks like you had fun assembling this beautiful set of IHC! Congrats!

    Always looking for attractive rim toned Morgan and Peace dollars in PCGS or (older) ANA/ANACS holders!

    "Bongo hurtles along the rain soaked highway of life on underinflated bald retread tires."

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,392 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You are my kind of maniac! Congrats. Peace Roy

    BST: endeavor1967, synchr, kliao, Outhaul, Donttellthewife, U1Chicago, ajaan, mCarney1173, SurfinHi, MWallace, Sandman70gt, Ricko, mustanggt, Pittstate03, Lazybones, Walkerguy21D, coinandcurrency242 , thebigeng, Collectorcoins, JimTyler, USMarine6, Elkevvo, Coll3ctor, Yorkshireman, CUKevin, ranshdow, Jzyskowski1, CoinHunter4, bennybravo, Centsearcher, braddick, Windycity, ZoidMeister, mirabela, JJM, RichURich

  • ifthevamzarockinifthevamzarockin Posts: 8,001 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow! <3

  • oih82w8oih82w8 Posts: 11,659 ✭✭✭✭✭


    oih82w8 = Oh I Hate To Wait _defectus patientia_aka...Dr. Defecto - Curator of RMO's

    BST transactions: dbldie55, jayPem, 78saen, UltraHighRelief, nibanny, liefgold, FallGuy, lkeigwin, mbogoman, Sandman70gt, keets, joeykoins, ianrussell (@GC), EagleEye, ThePennyLady, GRANDAM, Ilikecolor, Gluggo, okiedude, Voyageur, LJenkins11, fastfreddie, ms70, pursuitofliberty, ZoidMeister,...
  • kazkaz Posts: 9,012 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What an incredible achievement! Congratulations!

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thank you to everyone for your kind and generous comments. As I indicated in my post, I derived so much fun, joy and excitement in putting this set together.


    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • Dr_BonesDr_Bones Posts: 67 ✭✭✭

    very nicely done. congrats

    Visit USPatterns.com

  • hfjacintohfjacinto Posts: 596 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 4:31PM

    @winesteven everytime you post a set I drool too much and end up breaking my laptop. Sadly I have to stop following your posts. It’s too hard putting the eyes back inside my head and getting new laptops is costly.

    Im sad I can’t look at your beautiful sets anymore. 🤪🥰

  • Pnies20Pnies20 Posts: 1,862 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Truly an amazing feat. Nice job!

    BHNC Associate member #AN-07 … 88 and counting.

  • stevebensteveben Posts: 4,583 ✭✭✭✭✭

    well done. i would love to look through all those in hand that would be amazing.

  • jessewvujessewvu Posts: 5,062 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congratulations! Very nice set and quite an accomplishment.

  • NumisOxideNumisOxide Posts: 10,940 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Super set!! Congratulations :)

  • DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,385 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That's a well matched mixture of RB & RD Indians!

    I hate to say it, those green stickers really do get your attention. You must be IRISH!

  • goldengolden Posts: 8,807 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Super set! Congratulations.

  • shortnockshortnock Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    Well done. Thanks for sharing those images.

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,740 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @steveben said:
    well done. i would love to look through all those in hand that would be amazing.

    I’ll be putting together an Educational Exhibit at Winter FUN in Orlando this coming January, which will include my set, along with a lot of interesting facts. I’m hoping many from the forum attending FUN will take a few minutes to browse the exhibits, including mine.


    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • Glen2022Glen2022 Posts: 807 ✭✭✭✭

    WOW!!! Great set

  • crazyhounddogcrazyhounddog Posts: 13,672 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A HUGE congratulations my coin brother👍

    The bitterness of "Poor Quality" is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.
  • SeattleSlammerSeattleSlammer Posts: 9,940 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 6:11PM

    One hell of a set. 🔥 A bit surprised there are only 6 old, no-prong slabs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…but hopefully you’ve got stable color on the RD’s. Congrats!

  • KliaoKliao Posts: 5,370 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow! Amazing set! Congrats! I've never seen an eagle eye sticker coupled with a CAC sticker before and now there's a whole set of them! Love it!

    Young Numismatist/collector
    70 Positive BST transactions buying and selling with 42 members and counting!

  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,593 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Pretty darn awesome. It's good to see people having fun at this.


  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,400 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great set and congrats on finishing it. B)

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
  • david3142david3142 Posts: 3,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 8:03PM

    Congratulations on an outstanding achievement. While the combination of stickers make it unique and undoubtedly added to the difficulty in assembling it, what is most impressive is simply that you have a set of coins you loved putting together and every one of which appears to be outstanding in quality.

  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,240 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This set is almost unbelievable! Congratulations!


    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • EstilEstil Posts: 6,688 ✭✭✭✭

    Honestly it blows my mind there are even Indian cents out there that new/shiny looking!

    Dimes: 55P+D, 54S, 53S, 52S, 50S, 49D+S, 47S, 46S, 45D+S, 44S, 43D, 41S, 40D+S, 39D+S, 38D+S, 37D+S, 36S, 35D+S, all 16-34's
    Quarters: 61D, 52S, 47S, 46S, 40S, 39S, 38S, 37D+S, 36D+S, 35D, 34D, 32D+S
    74 Topps: 37,38,46,47,48,138,151,193,210,214,223,241,256,264,268,277,289,316,435,552,570,577,592,602,610,654,655
    1997 Finest silver: 115, 135, 139, 145, 310
    1995 Ultra Gold Medallion Sets: Golden Prospects, HR Kings, On-Base Leaders, Power Plus, RBI Kings, Rising Stars
  • paesanpaesan Posts: 1,555 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I’m not easily impressed but that’s an impressive collection! To me, nothing beats an evenly matched set!

    I didn’t read your entire post or all comments, but I’d be curious to know how many you purchased with both stickers, how many with no stickers, and how many with one or the other.


    More coins, less government.
  • boiler78boiler78 Posts: 3,035 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow just Wow!! Talk about adding multiple degrees of difficulty........A true labor of love.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @winesteven.... :o Wow!! What an outstanding set. I like the concept of both stickers, and agree with you that they represent different viewpoints - and brought together, make for special coins. Completion of that set certainly deserves a bottle of fine Cabernet Sauvignon in celebration. Cheers, RickO

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,740 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 12, 2022 4:47AM

    @paesan said:

    I’m not easily impressed but that’s an impressive collection! To me, nothing beats an evenly matched set!

    I didn’t read your entire post or all comments, but I’d be curious to know how many you purchased with both stickers, how many with no stickers, and how many with one or the other.


    Lenny - Thank you for your kind words.

    While I don’t have that data handy, here’s my overall ROUGH estimate. About five with both stickers. Regarding no stickers, I had two or three collectors do the legwork on THEIR four or five coins after I saw photos, and afterthey succeeded in getting the stickers, I bought the coins at strong prices. There were also a small number with just a Photo Seal, and after looking at photos and after the owner got the CAC, I then bought the coins. The vast majority I bought with just CAC stickers, and then got the Photo Seals afterwards.


    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • TomthemailcarrierTomthemailcarrier Posts: 623 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is an amazing set that you have put together. I’m pleased that my 1877 IHC is part of your set. It takes dedication, persistence and patience to accomplish what you have done. Congratulations!

  • divecchiadivecchia Posts: 6,460 ✭✭✭✭✭


    WOW!!! A complete set of all CAC and Eagle Eye Photo Seal Indian Head Cents. That is an amazing set and an accomplishment that would make anyone proud!!!

    Congratulations on completing this set. Good luck with the 1890 upgrade or any others that you may want to upgrade.

    Thanks for sharing your set.


    Hobbyist & Collector (not an investor).
    Donato's Complete US Type Set ---- Donato's Dansco 7070 Modified Type Set ---- Donato's Basic U.S. Coin Design Set

    Successful transactions: Shrub68 (Jim), MWallace (Mike)
  • skier07skier07 Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats and beautiful!!!

    Your very lucky to have the secretary that you have. Unfortunately I don’t think that approach would work very well in my profession.

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