Indian Head Penny Values and Prices

How Much Is My Indian Head Penny (1859-1909) Worth?

US-1864-1C-Bronze-L-on-Ribbon-PR64-Red.jpg
U.S. Indian Head Cent Minted from 1859-1909. Image Courtesy of: Heritage Auction Galleries, Ha.com

This guide will give you an estimate of the value and price of your Indian Head penny minted from 1859 to 1909.  The table listed below provides average coin values based upon the condition of the coin.  

History of the Indian Head Penny

by 1857 the cost of making  copper coins had risen due to the increased price of copper. Mint Director James Ross Snowden noted in his annual report that the mint was barely making expenses due to the increased cost of copper used in both half cent and large cent coins.

The mint ceased production of half cent coins and reduced the size and wait of the penny.

In 1857 a small cent coin was introduced that featured a flying eagle on the obverse. Production problems limited the coin to only two years. The Indian Head penny was introduced and 1859 with a composition of 88% copper and 12% nickel and a diameter of 19 mm and a weight of 4.67 grams. In 1864 the composition was changed to 95% copper and 5% tin into reduced weight of 3.11 grams. The coin's designer was James B Longacre.

Market Analysis

Indian Head pennies do not contain any precious metals (i.e. silver, gold, etc.). Therefore, their value is derived from demands by coin collectors.  Many people collect these coins, so the market is quite active and most dealers will pay top-dollar for nice specimens. 

Key Dates, Rarities, and Varieties

The following Indian Head pennies in any condition, are worth considerable more than common ones.

  As such, these coins are frequently counterfeit or altered from common Indian Head cents.  Therefore, before you start celebrating your early retirement with your new found fortune, have the coin authenticated by a reputable coin dealer or third party grading service.  In addition to what is listed below, there are several more Indian Head penny rarities and varieties that are beyond the scope of this article.

  • 1869 9/9 (Doubled "9" in the date)
  • 1873 Double Liberty ("LIBERTY" is doubled on the Indian's headdress)
  • 1877
  • 1888 8/7 (The remnant of a "7" is underneath the last "8" in the date)
  • 1909 S

Condition or Grade Examples

If your coin is worn and looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below, it is considered a circulated coin.

If your coin looks similar to the one illustrated in the link below and has no evidence of wear due to being in circulation, it is considered an uncirculated coin.

Mint Marks

Indian Head pennies were produced at two different mints: Philadelphia (no mint mark), and San Francisco (S).  As illustrated in the picture below, the mint mark is located on the reverse of the coin, just below the wreath.

Average Circulated and Uncirculated Values & Prices

The following table lists the buy price (what you can expect to pay to a dealer to purchase the coin) and sells value (what you can expect a dealer to pay to you if you sell the coin). The first column lists the date and mint mark (see the photo above) followed by the buy price and the sell value for an average circulated Indian Head penny.

  All circulated prices and values assume that the date is readable and not completely worn off the face of the coin.  The next two columns list the buy price and the sell value for an average uncirculated. These are approximate retail prices and wholesale values. The actual offer you receive from a particular coin dealer will vary depending on the actual grade of the coin and a number of other factors that determine its worth. Uncirculated specimens that exhibit original red or red-brown color are worth significantly more.

Date & MintCirculated Uncirculated
BuySell BuySell
Copper-Nickel
1859$15.00$9.00 $530.00$400.00
1860$14.00$8.50 $240.00$180.00
1861$29.00$18.00 $290.00$220.00
1862$10.00$7.00 $170.00$130.00
1863$10.00$7.00 $170.00$130.00
1864$20.00$12.00 $240.00$170.00
Bronze
1864 No L on Ribbon$13.00$7.40 $130.00$100.00
1864 L on Ribbon$80.00$50.00 $460.00$330.00
1865$11.00$7.00 $120.00$90.00
1866$52.00$30.00 $310.00$240.00
1867$60.00$37.00 $300.00$220.00
1868$42.00$24.00 $310.00$220.00
1869$110.00$70.00 $610.00$480.00
1869 9 over 9*$250.00$140.00 $1,000.00$700.00
1870$120.00$80.00 $580.00$440.00
1871$130.00$80.00 $660.00$510.00
1872$180.00$100.00 $900.00$600.00
1873 Open 3$34.00$21.00 $300.00$230.00
1873 Closed 3$38.00$23.00 $420.00$320.00
1873 Dbl LIBERTY*$730.00$460.00 $11,200.00$8,400.00
1874$24.00$14.00 $220.00$160.00
1875$28.00$17.00 $240.00$180.00
1876$44.00$26.00 $330.00$230.00
1877 *$800.00$500.00 $4,100.00$3,000.00
1878$41.00$25.00 $320.00$230.00
1879$10.00$7.00 $110.00$80.00
Date & MintCirculated Uncirculated
BuySell BuySell
1880$10.00$7.00 $80.00$60.00
1881$10.00$7.00 $68.00$49.00
1882$10.00$7.00 $72.00$56.00
1883$10.00$7.00 $68.00$50.00
1884$10.00$7.00 $90.00$70.00
1885$10.00$7.00 $140.00$110.00
1886 Type I$12.00$7.40 $240.00$170.00
1886 Type II$19.00$11.00 $390.00$280.00
1887$10.00$7.00 $72.00$53.00
1888$10.00$7.00 $110.00$80.00
1888 8 over 7*$3,300.00$2,000.00 $32,000.00$24,000.00
1889$10.00$7.00 $54.00$42.00
1890$10.00$7.00 $61.00$47.00
1891$10.00$7.00 $54.00$43.00
1892$10.00$7.00 $56.00$43.00
1893$10.00$7.00 $51.00$39.00
1894$10.00$7.00 $90.00$70.00
1895$10.00$7.00 $49.00$36.00
1896$10.00$7.00 $48.00$34.00
1897$10.00$7.00 $46.00$34.00
1898$10.00$7.00 $50.00$38.00
1899$10.00$7.00 $44.00$32.00
Date & MintCirculated Uncirculated
BuySell BuySell
1900$10.00$7.00 $45.00$33.00
1901$10.00$7.00 $33.00$26.00
1902$10.00$7.00 $39.00$30.00
1903$10.00$7.00 $34.00$26.00
1904$10.00$7.00 $33.00$24.00
1905$10.00$7.00 $34.00$26.00
1906$10.00$7.00 $32.00$23.00
1907$10.00$7.00 $35.00$26.00
1908$10.00$7.00 $32.00$24.00
1908 S$80.00$40.00 $290.00$230.00
1909$10.00$7.00 $42.00$30.00
1909 S *$410.00$250.00 $1,000.00$800.00
Complete
Date-Mint Set
$2,500.00$1,600.00 $14,000.00$10,500.00
Complete
Date Set
$2,100.00$1,300.00 $12,500.00$9,500.00

* = Click here for more detailed information on these Indian Head Penny Key Dates, Rarities, and Varieties

Please note: You cannot increase a coin's value by cleaning it. In fact, cleaned coins are worth considerable less and coin dealers can spot a cleaned coin immediately.  Therefore, never clean your coins. 

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