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THE OFFICIAL RED BOOK®

Indian Head (1859 - 1909)

The “Indian Head” design first issued in 1859 is actually a representation of Liberty wearing an Indian headdress, not an actual Native American. The first year featured a laurel wreath on the reverse. This was changed after one year to the oak wreath with a small shield. Coins of 1859 and early 1860 show a pointed bust. Those made from late 1860 until 1864 have a more rounded bust. Prior to the issuance of nickel five-cent pieces in 1866, these coins were popularly referred to as nickels or nicks. Later, they were called white cents.

Indian Head (1859 - 1909)
1859 | 1860 - 1864 | 1864 - 1909

Variety 1 - Copper-Nickel, Laurel Wreath Reverse (1859)

Coin Attributes

  • Design Years: 1859
    Designer: James B. Longacre
    Weight: 4.670 grams
    Diameter:19 mm
    Composition:
    • 0.8800 copper, 0.1200 nickel
    Edge: plain

Variety 2 - Copper-Nickel, Oak Wreath with Shield (1860 - 1864)

Coin Attributes

  • Design Years: 1860 - 1864
    Designer: James B. Longacre
    Weight: 4.670 grams
    Diameter:19 mm
    Composition:
    • 0.8800 copper, 0.1200 nickel
    Edge: plain

Variety 3 - Bronze (1864 - 1909)

During the Civil War, nearly all gold and silver, and eventually the copper-nickel cent, disappeared from circulation in the Midwest and East. In larger cities, thin, copper, cent-sized tokens began to be issued by merchants to fill the void left by the missing cents. The government stepped in and with the Act of April 22, 1864, issued its own thin, bronze coin and made the issuance of the merchants’ tokens illegal.

The obverse was redesigned near the end of 1864. A slightly sharper portrait included the designer’s initial L (for Longacre) on the lower ribbon behind the neck. If the coin is turned slightly (so Indian faces observer) the highlighted details of the L will appear to better advantage. The tip of the bust is pointed on the variety with L, and rounded on the variety without L. This design continued until 1909, when the design was replaced with the Lincoln cent.

On coins minted from 1859 through mid-1886, the last feather of the headdress points between I and C (Variety 1); on those minted from mid-1886 through 1909, it points between C and A (Variety 2).

Coin Attributes

  • Design Years: 1864 - 1909
    Designer: James B. Longacre
    Weight: 3.110 grams
    Diameter:19 mm
    Composition:
    • 0.9500 copper, 0.0500 tin and zinc
    Edge: plain
Grade Price Guide
Circ|MS|PF
  • Description
  • Mintage
  • G-4 Good. Good. No LIBERTY visible.
  • VG-8 Very Good. Very Good. At least some letters of LIBERTY readable on head band.
  • F-12 Fine. Fine. LIBERTY mostly visible.
  • VF-20 Very Fine. Very Fine. Slight but even wear on LIBERTY.
  • EF-40 Extremely Fine. Extremely Fine. LIBERTY sharp. All other details sharp. Only slight wear on ribbon end.
  • AU-50 About Uncirculated. About Uncirculated. Very slight trace of wear above the ear and the lowest curl of hair.
  • MS-60 Uncirculated. Uncirculated. No trace of wear. Light blemishes.
  • MS-60BN Mint State. Mint State. No trace of wear. Light blemishes.
  • MS-63BN Mint State. Mint State. Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Impaired luster possible.
  • MS-64 Very Choice Unc.. Very Choice Unc..
  • MS-64BN Mint State. Mint State.
  • MS-65 Gem Uncirculated. Gem Uncirculated.
  • MS-65BN Mint State. Mint State.
  • MS-66 Gem Unc.. Gem Unc..
  • PF-63BN Proof. Proof. Nearly Perfect
  • PF-64BN Proof. Proof.
  • PF-65BN Proof. Proof.
  • PF-66 Gem Proof. Gem Proof.
  • 1859
  • 36,400,000
    • Description
    • Mintage
    • G-4 Good. Good. No LIBERTY visible.
    • VG-8 Very Good. Very Good. At least some letters of LIBERTY readable on head band.
    • F-12 Fine. Fine. LIBERTY mostly visible.
    • VF-20 Very Fine. Very Fine. Slight but even wear on LIBERTY. LIBERTY on headband complete and legible. Knobs on coronet defined.
    • EF-40 Extremely Fine. Extremely Fine. Slight wear on hair; knobs on coronet sharp. LIBERTY sharp. All other details sharp. Only slight wear on ribbon end.
    • AU-50 About Uncirculated. About Uncirculated. Trace of wear on headband. Nearly full luster. Very slight trace of wear above the ear and the lowest curl of hair.
    • MS-60 Uncirculated. Uncirculated. No trace of wear. Light marks and blemishes. No trace of wear. Light blemishes.
    • MS-60BN Mint State. Mint State. No trace of wear. Light marks and blemishes. No trace of wear. Light blemishes.
    • MS-63BN Mint State. Mint State. Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Impaired luster possible. Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Impaired luster possible.
    • MS-64 Very Choice Unc.. Very Choice Unc..
    • MS-64BN Mint State. Mint State.
    • MS-65 Gem Uncirculated. Gem Uncirculated.
    • MS-65BN Mint State. Mint State.
    • MS-66 Gem Unc.. Gem Unc..
    • PF-63BN Proof. Proof. Nearly Perfect
    • PF-64BN Proof. Proof.
    • PF-65BN Proof. Proof.
    • PF-66 Gem Proof. Gem Proof.
    • 1860
    • 20,566,000
      • 1861
      • 10,100,000
        • 1862
        • 28,075,000
          • 1863
          • 49,840,000
            • 1864
            • 13,740,000
              • Description
              • Mintage
              • G-4 Good. Good. No LIBERTY visible.
              • VG-8 Very Good. Very Good. At least some letters of LIBERTY readable on head band.
              • F-12 Fine. Fine. LIBERTY mostly visible.
              • VF-20 Very Fine. Very Fine. Slight but even wear on LIBERTY. Slight detail in curled feathers in headdress. Details worn smooth at eyebrow, hair below headdress, and behind ear and bottom curl.
              • EF-40 Extremely Fine. Extremely Fine. LIBERTY sharp. All other details sharp. Only slight wear on ribbon end. Slight wear above and to right of eye and on top of curled feathers.
              • AU-50 About Uncirculated. About Uncirculated. Very slight trace of wear above the ear and the lowest curl of hair. Trace of wear on feathers, nearly full luster.
              • MS-60 Uncirculated. Uncirculated. No trace of wear. Light blemishes. No trace of wear. Light marks and blemishes.
              • MS-60BN Mint State. Mint State. No trace of wear. Light blemishes. No trace of wear. Light marks and blemishes.
              • MS-63BN Mint State. Mint State. Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Impaired luster possible. Some distracting contact marks or blemishes in prime focal areas. Impaired luster possible.
              • MS-64BN Mint State. Mint State.
              • MS-64RB Mint State. Mint State.
              • MS-64RD Mint State. Mint State.
              • MS-65RB Mint State. Mint State.
              • MS-65RD Mint State. Mint State.
              • MS-66 Gem Unc.. Gem Unc..
              • PF-63BN Proof. Proof. Nearly Perfect Reflective surfaces with few blemishes in secondary focal places. No major flaws.
              • PF-63RB Proof. Proof. Nearly Perfect Reflective surfaces with few blemishes in secondary focal places. No major flaws.
              • PF-64RB Proof. Proof.
              • PF-64RD Proof. Proof.
              • PF-65RD Proof. Proof.
              • PF-66RD Proof. Proof.
              • 1864
              • 39,233,714
                • 1865
                • 35,429,286
                  • 1866
                  • 9,826,500
                    • 1867
                    • 9,821,000
                      • 1868
                      • 10,266,500
                        • 1869
                        • 6,420,000
                          • 1870
                          • 5,275,000
                            • 1870, Proof
                            • 1,000
                              • 1871
                              • 3,929,500
                                • 1871, Proof
                                • 960
                                  • 1872
                                  • 4,042,000
                                    • 1872, Proof
                                    • 950
                                      • 1873
                                      • 11,676,500
                                        • 1874
                                        • 14,187,500
                                          • 1875
                                          • 13,528,000
                                            • 1876

                                              1876

                                              Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1876
                                              Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1876
                                            • 7,944,000
                                            • 35
                                            • 1877

                                              1877

                                              Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1877
                                              Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1877
                                            • 852,500
                                            • 900
                                            • 1878
                                            • 5,797,500
                                              • 1879

                                                1879

                                                Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1879
                                                Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1879
                                              • 16,228,000
                                              • 8
                                              • 1880
                                              • 38,961,000
                                                • 1881

                                                  1881

                                                  Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1881
                                                  Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1881
                                                • 39,208,000
                                                • 5
                                                • 1882
                                                • 38,578,000
                                                  • 1883
                                                  • 45,591,500
                                                    • 1884
                                                    • 23,257,800
                                                      • 1885

                                                        1885

                                                        Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1885
                                                        Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1885
                                                      • 11,761,594
                                                      • 8
                                                      • 1886
                                                      • 17,650,000
                                                        • 1887
                                                        • 45,223,523
                                                          • 1888
                                                          • 37,489,832
                                                            • 1889
                                                            • 48,866,025
                                                              • 1890
                                                              • 57,180,114
                                                                • 1891
                                                                • 47,070,000
                                                                  • 1892
                                                                  • 37,647,087
                                                                    • 1893
                                                                    • 46,640,000
                                                                      • 1894
                                                                      • 16,749,500
                                                                        • 1895
                                                                        • 38,341,574
                                                                          • 1896
                                                                          • 39,055,431
                                                                            • 1897
                                                                            • 473,760,000
                                                                              • 1898
                                                                              • 49,821,284
                                                                                • 1899
                                                                                • 53,598,000
                                                                                  • 1900
                                                                                  • 66,831,502
                                                                                    • 1901
                                                                                    • 79,609,158
                                                                                      • 1902
                                                                                      • 87,374,704
                                                                                        • 1903
                                                                                        • 85,092,703
                                                                                          • 1904
                                                                                          • 61,326,198
                                                                                            • 1905
                                                                                            • 80,717,011
                                                                                              • 1906
                                                                                              • 96,020,530
                                                                                                • 1907
                                                                                                • 108,137,143
                                                                                                  • 1908
                                                                                                  • 32,326,367
                                                                                                    • 1908S

                                                                                                      1908S

                                                                                                      Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1908S
                                                                                                      Location of Mintmark S on Reverse of Indian Head Cent (1908 and 1909 Only)
                                                                                                    • 1,115,000
                                                                                                    • 90
                                                                                                    • 1909
                                                                                                    • 14,368,470
                                                                                                      • 1909

                                                                                                        1909

                                                                                                        Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1909
                                                                                                        No V.D.B. on Reverse (1909 - 1958)
                                                                                                      • 12
                                                                                                      • 1909S

                                                                                                        1909S

                                                                                                        Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1909S
                                                                                                        Small Cents Indian Head (1859 - 1909) 1909S
                                                                                                      • 309,000
                                                                                                      • 450
                                                                                                      • Description
                                                                                                      • Mintage
                                                                                                      • MS-66BN
                                                                                                      • PF-66BN
                                                                                                      • G-4
                                                                                                      • VG-8
                                                                                                      • F-12
                                                                                                      • VF-20
                                                                                                      • EF-40
                                                                                                      • AU-50
                                                                                                      • MS-60
                                                                                                      • MS-60BN
                                                                                                      • MS-63BN
                                                                                                      • MS-64
                                                                                                      • MS-64BN
                                                                                                      • MS-64RB
                                                                                                      • MS-64RD
                                                                                                      • MS-65
                                                                                                      • MS-65BN
                                                                                                      • MS-65RB
                                                                                                      • MS-65RD
                                                                                                      • MS-66
                                                                                                      • PF-63BN
                                                                                                      • PF-63RB
                                                                                                      • PF-64BN
                                                                                                      • PF-64RB
                                                                                                      • PF-64RD
                                                                                                      • PF-65BN
                                                                                                      • PF-66
                                                                                                      • PF-65RD
                                                                                                      • PF-66RD
                                                                                                      • 1859
                                                                                                      • 36,400,000
                                                                                                        • 1860
                                                                                                        • 20,566,000
                                                                                                          • 1861
                                                                                                          • 10,100,000
                                                                                                            • 1862
                                                                                                            • 28,075,000
                                                                                                              • 1863
                                                                                                              • 49,840,000
                                                                                                                • 1864
                                                                                                                • 13,740,000
                                                                                                                  • 1864
                                                                                                                  • 39,233,714
                                                                                                                    • 1865
                                                                                                                    • 35,429,286
                                                                                                                      • 1866
                                                                                                                      • 9,826,500
                                                                                                                        • 1867
                                                                                                                        • 9,821,000
                                                                                                                          • 1868
                                                                                                                          • 10,266,500
                                                                                                                            • 1869
                                                                                                                            • 6,420,000
                                                                                                                              • 1870
                                                                                                                              • 5,275,000