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Indian Head Penny History, Stats, and Values

Updated on May 20, 2012
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The Indian Head Penny is among the most popular coin series ever produced during the 18th century in American coinage history. The Indian Head Penny was designed by Mr. James Barton Longacre. The Indian Head Penny is also known or is referred to as the "Indian Penny". The Indian Head Penny was produced from 1859-1909. In 1909, the design was changed to the famous wheat penny design. In 1909, Indian Head Pennies and Wheat Pennies were both produced.

The obverse side of the Indian Penny has "Liberty" portrayed on the coin. Liberty is shown wearing an Indian headdress with "LIBERTY" shown on the front band of the head dress. "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" follows the outer rim of the coin and the date is centered at the bottom of the front of the coin. The reverse side of the coin has "ONE CENT" etched in the middle of the coin and it is surrounded by a laurel wreath. Due to striking errors when the coin was first produced, it was later changed to an oak and olive wreath. The Federal Shield is also on the back of the coin. The Indian Head Penny was made out of 88% copper and 12% nickel from 1859-1864. Later that year, it was changed to 95% copper and 5% zinc.

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Despite the fact that these pennies were produced in large quantity, most of them are worth a dollar or two in worn condition and some do have high values. For example, the 1877 Indian Head Penny has sold for as much as $149,500 in an auction. Keep in mind, this would be a highly graded coin. They are very hard to find these days, especially in great condition. When the designed changed in 1909, many people began to hoard Indian Pennies.

As far as values go, like I stated before, common date pennies are worth a dollar or two. The 1877 Indian Head Penny has the most value of the series. Even in worn condition, it can bring in $500. As you read above, prime coins can be worth thousands. It all depend on the condition of the coin. The 1909-S is another valuable coin of the series. It is worth $200-$300 in average condition and it can reach into the thousands for a high grade coin. The 1908-S is worth $50 in good grade. These two coins were the only ones in the entire series to be produced in San Francisco. There were 1,115,000 pennies produced with this date and mint mark. Of course, values skyrocket for those pennies in extremely good condition. The 1869 Indian Penny is also worth $50 in good grade. There were 6,420,000 produced. The 1870, 1871, and 1872 Indian Head Pennies are also worth a fair amount. The 1870 is worth $40 in good grade. The 1871 is worth $55 and the 1872 is worth nearly $60 in good grade. Keep in mind, these values are for coins in low grade. The values increase for coins with a higher grade then good grade.

The value of your coin depends on condition and rarity. The higher the grade is, the more value that is added to your coin. The key dates for this series can value well over a $1,000. It all depends on the condition of the penny. If you have any questions in general, be sure to leave me a comment and I will answer you as soon as possible. I want to thank you for your time and thanks for reading. Be sure to come back and check with us as we continue to add more articles about coins and as we begin to add price charts.

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    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      Gypsy, you poor dear! I had this issue myself at one time or another. lol I am glad to share my passion with others. Collecting coins makes me happy. For some reason beyond me, I love it. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      7 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Interesting to find out the history of these coins. I remember as a child swallowing one but everything worked out OK in the end.

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      Thaks you Cloverleaf. I am glad to see you learned something new about them. I appreciate all your time and I will be sure to pay you a visit soon. Take care.

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 

      7 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi thelyricwriter, I have never been fortunate enough to hold one of these awesome pennies. I really learned a lot from reading all the stats you presented in this hub, thanks!

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      Prasetio, thanks again for checking it out. It is a great coin to have. I am glad you enjoyed learning about the history a little. You have a great weekend as well.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 

      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Wow.... you have a great information about Indian head penny history. Actually, I had never know about this before. Thanks for share with us. This coin is one of beautiful coins in the world. I learn much from you. Well done and VOTE UP! Have a nice weekend.

      Prasetio

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      Hey there Will. I have been lucky. My wife found one from 1903 once. I remember seeing them when I was little but I never thought about saving them. Thanks for stopping in.

    • thelyricwriter profile imageAUTHOR

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      7 years ago from West Virginia

      Hey there Will. I have been lucky. My wife found one from 1903 once. I remember seeing them when I was little but I never thought about saving them. Thanks for stopping in.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 

      7 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      When I was very young, we would occasionally find one of these still in circulation.

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