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

Source: Google News

Digging Ends At Parker Academy For Now
WVXU, May 28th

We have an Indian Head penny from the 1880s. We found some clay marbles that are hand painted.” Jones says a single musket ball was found by the front door. She says that lends credence to the story the school was attacked by slave catchers. “There is ...Read more

Illustrator Develops Line of Coin-Themed Greeting Cards
CoinWeek (blog), May 14th

He plans to soon introduce an Indian Head cent card at the same price and a Lincoln “Wheat” cent line at $2.45 per card. Chambers says that his company will also work with customers interested in custom photographs, artwork, or higher-end coins. The...Read more

Local lawman fulfills long time dream by finding a Civil War relic
Bluefield Daily Telegraph, May 11th

He found a federal Navy button cover near the Mercer County Courthouse, but his other finds have mostly been items like rings, Indian Head penny coins and an old penknife. On Sunday, two veteran relic hunters — Dr. Rodney Cox of the Salem VA Hospital ...Read more

Prize finds: Inaugural metal detecting hunting event held in Emporium
Bradford Era, May 3rd

During the first day of the hunt he came away with rings and several coins, like an Indian head penny. “The event was an amazing success. The event brought people from across areas of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and utilized area businesses for lodging ...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

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
NumisMaster.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