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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Rare US Coins, Medals, and Paper Money from Several Important Collections ...CoinWeek, March 17th
Flying Eagle and Indian Head cent varieties and patterns from the Reference Collection of Q. David Bowers will captivate specialists in the series. The Desh Family Collection, long off the market, was assembled by a Midwestern dry goods merchant...Read more
City Living: Cobb's Hill smorgasbordRochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 15th
A man with a metal detector gets a beep and finds a 1909 Indian head penny. Right behind him, following him and his curious contraption, a Depression child picks up a 2015 copper-coated Lincoln head zinc cent. Above me on the reservoir, a mother...Read more
Dan Perkins has lived with his cartoon-world alter-ego, Tom Tomorrow, for 25 ...Monterey County Weekly, February 5th
Dan Perkins has published nine anthologies, crafted an album cover for Pearl Jam and launched his own direct-to-consumer cartoon network to make up for the loss of income as newspaper clients go under. Next up? He hopes to launch a Kickstarter ...Read more
School Bank Day Turns Up An Unusual FindCapeNews.net, 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 CentsCoin 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
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
1872 Indian Head cent shines in MS-65Numismatic 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 TimeNumisMaster.com, 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