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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Rolling along with Indian Head cents in September: Found in RollsCoin World, November 26th
Searching through rolls of United States small cents sometimes turn up coins other than Lincoln cents, like this 1989 Indian Head cent. Original images courtesy of Bill O'Rourke. Found in Rolls column from Dec. 14, 2015, issue of Coin World: The coins ...Read more
AU Capital Management Acquires Unparalleled Collection of California ...CoinWeek (blog), November 24th
The use of the Indian Head design on the obverse did not commence until 1868, several years after the introduction and circulation of the similarly designed U.S. Indian Head cent. These newly circulating coins must have made commerce much more ...Read more
Turkey with cornbread and southern pecan stuffingAuburn Villager, November 19th
This past week a guy doing a little tidying up around the outside of our home unearthed an Indian Head Penny. Oddly enough the coin was dated 1895, a year before this house was built. Was it original, or perhaps dropped by a workman? No one will ever ...Read more
Chattanooga woman searching for grandfather's coin collection, accidentally soldWRCB-TV, November 5th
A Chattanooga woman says she is desperate to find a family keepsake accidentally sold at a local business. She says, regrettably, she used her grandfather's coin collection as collateral in order to pay for school books. Rachel Karr is kicking herself...Read more
Coins priced at all levels in Gardner IV auction by HeritageCoin World, October 31st
As evidence of this, the sale even offered a few coins that were affordable for nearly all budgets, such as a 1904 Indian Head cent graded MS-63 red and brown by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. with a green CAC sticker that brought $103.40, which represents...Read more
Collector discovers new variety for 1896 Indian Head centsCoin World, June 4th
Bold, horn-shaped die chip provides the supportive evidence for this 1896 Indian Head cent to be nicknamed the Flying 9 variety. Image courtesy of Eagle Eye Rare Coins. Collector Douglas Hill discovered a new example of 1896 Indian Head cent some ...Read more
You bought it: 'Absolutely beautiful' 1868 Indian Head centCoin World, January 26th
The most interesting piece that I purchased was a raw 1868 Indian Head Cent. It came from an album and has beautiful original album toning. It is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!! This coin could possibly grade MS66 or higher with PCGS. The finest 1868 Indian ...Read more
Counterfeit Coin Detection – 1875 Indian Head CentCoinWeek (blog), December 12th
Many Chinese counterfeits are made from dies that are not directly copied from genuine examples, therefore many of the details are incorrect. Cents have long been the target of counterfeiters because of the numerous key dates and the popularity of this ...Read more