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.

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Recent News: Indian Head Cents

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Preview of Heritage PNG Dallas Invitational US Coins Signature Auction
Coin Update News, February 20th

The first problem was apparent at the time the Flying Eagle Cents were struck, as the design did not strike up properly, and this caused the design to be replaced by the Indian Head Cent in 1859. Weakly struck coins are often encountered, and sharply...Read more

New Vreed-en-Hoop power plant equipped with flood protection
Stabroek News, February 12th

With the commissioning of a US$35M 26 MW power plant by the Guyana Power & Light Inc. (GPL) at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara, the delivery of electricity would be significantly improved and the facility has state-of-the-art flood protection...Read more

School Bank Day Turns Up An Unusual Find, January 23rd

North Falmouth School 1st grader Grady O'Dea had this Indian Head penny in his collection of coins for his weekly bank deposit. Class volunteer Kristin Shearer spotted the penny, had it appraised and returned it to Grady to keep. Posted: Friday...Read more

Key Date Indian Head Cents
Coin Update News, November 21st

After the Flying Eagle cent had briefly been struck for circulation in 1857 and 1858 (in addition to pattern pieces struck in 1856, often included with the two other dates), the Indian Head Cent was introduced in 1859. It would by struck for half a...Read more

Monterey County Gives! 2014 - Introduction
Monterey County Weekly, November 13th

As CEO of the Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC), I've had the pleasure of writing this introduction for several years. Typically it has focused on the excitement of launching MCGives! But because of you, the readers of the Monterey County ...Read more

Treasure Hunting for the Transitional Pattern 1859 Indian Head Cent
Coin 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

1872 Indian Head cent shines in MS-65
Numismatic News, February 29th

The 1872 Indian Head cent is no longer a secret. It might be surprising to some, but for decades the 1872 Indian Head cent received very little attention as being an especially tough date. That was largely because Indian Head cents were like most other ...Read more

Indian Head Cent Stood Test of Time, August 31st

James Longacre must have been a better engraver than his critics thought. In designing the Indian Head cent, he managed to blend seemingly inconsistent design elements into a masterpiece that remained in production for half a century. A Caucasian ...Read more