The Indian Head cent, or Indian Head Penny, was designed by James Barton Longacre and struck from 1859 until 1909. It was minted in both Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The coin featured the head of Lady Liberty, facing left and wearing a Native American headdress with "Liberty" written across the band. The words "United States of America" encircle her. Popular legend has it that Longacre used his young daughter as inspiration for the design, but no proof exists to confirm nor deny this rumor.
For the first year it was struck, the reverse of the Indian Head cent depicted the denomination – the words "one cent" – inside a laurel wreath. The following year, the laurel wreath became an oak wreath, thought to symbolize authority. Arrows were added to the bottom an a heraldic shield was added at the top.
The Indian Head penny was produced using the same material as the Flying Eagle cent – a mixture of copper and nickel – until 1864, when the nickel was removed, changing the coin’s color.
Although there are slight variations in design, the images remained virtually the same (excluding the obvious change on the reverse after the first year) until the coin ceased production in 1909.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Legendary Coins and Currency
Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors
Clubs & Associations
- The Fly In Club
- Society of U.S. Pattern Collectors
- American Numismatic Association
- American Numismatic Society
- Numismatic Bibliomania Society
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Indian Head Cents
Source: Google News
Kids gets hands-on lesson in archaeologyMyCentralJersey.com, August 26th
We came here, dug in the dirt and found a silver button from the 1700s, a clay marble, part of a smoking pipe and an Indian head penny,” said Zoe Jones, 11, of Basking Ridge. “It was so cool.” “When the kids found artifacts in the area they excavated...Read more
A PENNY SAVED, DOLLARS, TOO: Heads-up investigation flips coin thief on tailThe Daily Star-Journal, August 26th
THE SOL KAPLAN AWARD is presented at the World's Fair of Money in Chicago. From left are recipient Sarah Miller, former Professional Numismatists Guild President Fred Weinberg and Vic Bozarth. Miller and Bozarth receive the award for their efforts in ...Read more
The Gold and Silver Mine: Different ways to detect counterfeit coinsShore News Today, August 16th
An example I can offer is within the Indian head cent series which was minted from 1859 until 1909. One of the lowest minted coins in that series and one that is highly counterfeited is the date 1877, which can sell for $500 and up. To determine if the...Read more
Today in History: Happy Birthday to 'Eddie Munster'Santa Cruz Sentinel, August 2nd
In 1909, the original Lincoln “wheat” penny first went into circulation, replacing the “Indian Head” cent. In 1923, the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in San Francisco; Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president. In...Read more
YEARS AGOYoungstown Vindicator, August 1st
1909: The original Lincoln “wheat” penny first goes into circulation, replacing the “Indian Head” cent. 1923: The 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding of Ohio, dies in San Francisco; Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes president...Read more
This day in historyBoston Globe, August 1st
In 1909, the original Lincoln ''wheat'' penny first went into circulation, replacing the ''Indian Head'' cent. In 1923, President Warren G. Harding died in San Francisco; Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president. In 1934, President Paul von...Read more
Similar stories from Amarillo.comAmarillo.com, August 1st
In 1909, the original Lincoln “wheat” penny first went into circulation, replacing the “Indian Head” cent. ? In 1923, the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in San Francisco; Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president...Read more
Treasure Hunting for the Transitional Pattern 1859 Indian Head CentCoin Update News, October 31st
In 1859 an estimated 1,000 or more specimens were made of a so-called transitional pattern (Pollock-272, Judd-228) utilizing the standard 1859 Indian Head cent obverse in combination with the oak wreath and shield reverse (as regularly adopted in 1860)...Read more