Indian Head Cent

1859 – 1909

The Indian Head Cent was designed by James Barton Longacre and minted from 1859 through 1909. They were produced at the Philadelphia Mint for the duration and by the San Francisco Mint in 1908 and 1909.

The obverse of this coin features Lady Liberty wearing a feathered bonnet. Though this coin is commonly called the Indian Head Cent, or the Indian Head Penny, it is not a Native American that appears on the obverse. It has the words, “United States of America” along with the date around the rim and the word “Liberty” on the headband.

Indian Head Cent

Indian Head Cent Obverse(Lady Liberty in Headdress)

The reverse side of this coin shows “ONE CENT” surrounded by a laurel wreath. In 1860 this design was modified with the laurel wreath becoming an oak wreath. Three arrows were added, entwined with the ribbon and a shield was placed at the top between the wreaths.

The Indian Head Cent was minted with 88% copper and 12% nickel, which was actually required by the law at the time. In 1864 the weight of the coin was dropped from 72 grains to 48 grains. The metal content of the coin was changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin.

The area of the coin that is most subject to wear is the bonnet and especially the headband. The word “Liberty” is usually worn completely away in well circulated examples.

The Indian Head Cent is currently very underrated as a collectable coin. When you consider that, in total, only 1,849,648,000 coins were minted over a period of 50 years you will realize just how rare these small cents are. In addition, this small cent was heavily circulated making nice high grade examples even more rare.

As the prices of silver and gold increase so does the cost of silver and gold coins. Rising prices in sliver and gold coins will encourage many coin collectors to look at other types of coins. Who knows for sure, but you can get really nice Indian Head Cent coins relatively cheap – today.

Indian Head Cent

Indian Head Cent Reverse

The most valuable dates are 1877 (over $400), 1909-S (over $200), and 1908-S (about $40). Remaining dates and mint marks range from $2.00 to $35.00. Note that these values are approximate for coins in Very Good condition, higher grades will bring much more.

Indian Head Cent Specifications

  • Diameter: 19 mm
  • Weight:
    • 1859 – 1863 3.11 g
    • 1864 to 1909 4.67 g
  • Composition:
    • 1859 – 1863 88% Copper 12% Nickel
    • 1864 to 1909 95% Copper 5% Zinc
  • Edge: Plain
  • Designer: James Barton Longacre

By D. Slone, Copyright 2011 CoinCollectorGuide.com

Indian Cent Mintage Numbers

1859 .. 36,400,000
1860 .. 20,566,000
1861 .. 10,100,000
1862 .. 28,075,000
1863 .. 49,840,000
1864 (Copper) .. 13,740,000
1864 (Bronze) .. 39,233,714
1865 .. 35,429,286
1866 .. 9,826,500
1867 .. 9,821,000
1868 .. 10,266,500
1869 .. 6,420,000
1870 .. 5,275,000
1871 .. 3,929,500
1872 .. 4,042,000
1873 .. 11,676,500
1874 .. 14,187,500
1875 .. 13,528,000
1876 .. 7,944,000
1877 .. 852,500
1878 .. 5,799,850
1879 .. 16,231,200
1880 .. 38,964,955
1881 .. 39,211,575
1882 .. 38,581,100
1883 .. 45,589,109
1884 .. 23,261,742
1885 .. 11,765,384
1886 .. 17,654,290
1887 .. 45,226,483
1888 .. 37,494,414
1889 .. 48,869,361
1890 .. 57,182,854
1891 .. 47,072,350
1892 .. 37,649,832
1893 .. 46,642,195
1894 .. 16,752,132
1895 .. 38,343,636
1896 .. 39,057,293
1897 .. 50,466,330
1898 .. 49,823,079
1899 .. 53,600,031
1900 .. 66,833,794
1901 .. 79,611,143
1902 .. 87,376,722
1903 .. 85,094,493
1904 .. 61,328,015
1905 .. 80,719,163
1906 .. 96,022,255
1907 .. 108,138,618
1908 .. 32,327,987
1908-S .. 1,115,000
1909 .. 14,370,645
1909-S .. 309,000


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Comments

18 Responses to “Indian Head Cent”
  1. Carla Hopper says:

    I have a small coin collection left to me by my father 26 years ago and would like to know if there is any value to it and have know idea how to go about it.
    Thank you,
    Carla Hopper

  2. admin says:

    Hello Carla,

    The value of a coin can range quite a bit depending upon it’s grade (condition).

    I would recommend that you get a coin book that details how to grade each particular coin. The criteria used to determine grade varies widely from one type of coin to the next. Once you determine the grades of your coins you can then look up their values in a current price guide such as Coin Values Monthly.

  3. Moomy says:

    What is the value of an 1897 Philadelphia Indian Head Cent?

    • admin says:

      The value of an 1897 Philadelphia Indian Head Cent can vary quite a bit depending upon its condition/grade. G-4 would be worth around $2 while an MS-67 could be worth over $12,000

  4. Jane says:

    I have a double headed penny 1970 mint mark S . What is the value.?

  5. Lawrence says:

    I have an 1887 Indian Head penney that is in fairly good shape. Would this coin have any value today?

  6. Lois says:

    I have an 1854 Indian Head half cent. It is very shiny gold The back has quite a large 1/2 with a small bear under it. It lookd like it was made just a few years ago it is so shiny and well printed. Any ideas? I cant find a guide for this any where

  7. Robin says:

    I have an 1883 Indian Head Penny in very good condition.
    Any idea of the value?
    I also have an 1818F Buffalo Head nickel.
    Any ideas on that one also?

  8. Carlos says:

    What is the price to get a 1882 indian head coin?

  9. CoinCollector says:

    Robin – 1818F Buffalo Head nickel?

    Carlos – In lower grades probably less than ten bucks

  10. Ron Chatagnier says:

    Please contact me about value of copper idianhead cent(app. 1890 to 1899)
    G to F condition.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have a bicentennial penny with a stamp mark by Lincolns head. It goes nearly through the coin. the coin is also shiny like a nickel. The stamp is either a map of the us or the liberty bell i dont remember its been years since i saw it. I got it from a roll of regular pennies from the bank years ago. in safety deposit box now. Anyone have any knowledge of a coin like this? If so please respond.

  12. caarolyn says:

    how much would a 1902 indian head penny be worth. fair condition

  13. frankie says:

    I HAVE A 1899 INDIAN HEAD CENT THAT IS SILVER IN COLOR AND VERY LIGHT, IT ALSO HAS A DIFFERENT SOUND WHEN YOU DROP IT ON A DESK, COULD IT BE A 1899 ZINC PENNY, THANKS FRANKIE

  14. Deborah says:

    I hv a 1901 Indian Head penny and 1919 penny are they wroth any thing?

  15. Richard says:

    I have a 1860 indian head cent that is silver in color and very heavy, can”t find in any coin books. what do you think?

  16. Casey says:

    How do u know if it’s a G4 or a MS67?
    Its a 1897 Indian head!

  17. Donna Jasper says:

    I have a 1897 Indian cent what’s it worth?

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