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(1859-1909) Indian Head Cent / Penny Coin

CoinTrapTM Commentary: Initially made of 88% copper and 12% nickel, the Indian Head Cent or Penny entered circulation in 1859 and was produced for a full 50 years by the U.S. Mint.  The composition of the penny was changed to 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc in 1864.  Nearly 1.9 billion Indian Head pennies were minted.

The obverse of the coin features an Indian Chief with a full headband of feathers. The Indian Chief’s headband includes the word LIBERTY. The reverse features the words ONE CENT centered prominently in the middle portion and a wreath of branches wraps around the edges toward a federal shield located at the upper center portion of the coin. Over the ensuing years, very slight modifications were made to the design, particularly with  minor printed date variations (fancy or plain).

Key dates for the Indian Head Cent include the 1909-S and 1877.  Indian Head cents are generally quite affordable and fun to own for coin collectors of all experience levels.

Coin Value: What is the value of your Indian Head Penny/Cent coin?  This can depend on a plurality of factors.  Nevertheless, the main factors that will determine the value or worth of your Indian Head Cent are these: (1) your coin’s grade, (2) finish, (3) the mint mark (e.g., S for San Francisco and blank for Philadelphia), and (5) scarcity/demand. Regarding your coin’s grade, it has become a standard in the field of numismatics (coin collecting) to grade coins on a point-scale from 1 (poor) to 70 (perfect).  This is also referred to as the “Mint State” or just “MS” for short. Click here to find the up-to-date estimated value of your Indian Head Cent coin from the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS®), which takes the factors mentioned above into account*. If you do not know the grade of your Indian Head penny coin, you can take it to your local coin dealer and ask that they have it graded at one of the three major coin grading services.

Indian Head Cent Coin Mint Years: 1859, 1860, 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865, 1866, 1867, 1868, 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909

Indian Head Penny - Obverse

Indian Head Penny - Reverse

Obverse - Indian Head Cent

Designer: James B. Longacre

Reverse - Indian Head Cent

Designer: James B. Longacre

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    The Indian Head Cent replaced the Flying Eagle cent, which was aesthetically pleasing, but not very amenable to being struck using the newer, harder metals.  Secretary of the Treasury, Howell Cobb (1815-1868) authorized the minting of the Indian Head coin, which provided a more central design and more stable specimen for striking.  Initially minting was confined to the Philadelphia mint, but in 1906, Congress authorized the minting of the Indian Head penny at other mints around the country.

* CoinTrapTM is not affiliated with the PCGS®.  By clicking on the link above, you are opening a browser window containing content provided by a third party website and you will be subject to any terms and conditions as set forth on that website.

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Coin Collecting, Coin Commentary and Coin Values