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Indian Head Penny Values and Prices

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

By , About.com Guide

Indian Head Cent 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.  If the coin shows evidence of wear on it due to being used in commerce, it considered "circulated." If it was never used, then it is classified as "uncirculated." The pictures below illustrate examples of each condition.  Some coins are very valuable even in well worn condition.  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.

Introduction to Coin Values and Prices

There are many factors that go into determining the value of your coins. First of all you must understand how the coin market works. If a coin dealer runs out of 1864 Indian Head pennies, he cannot just call the mint and order more of them because the mint does not make coins dated 1864 anymore. The coin dealer has to replenish his supply by buying coins from other dealers or from people that come into his coin shop. What he pays you for that coin when you sell it to him is known as the "wholesale price" or "value." If you want to buy that 1864 Indian Head cent from the coin dealer, that is known as the "retail price" or "price."

Market Analysis

Indian Head pennies contain no precious metals (i.e. silver, gold, etc.). Therefore, their value is derived from demands from collectors.  Many people collect these coin, so the market is quite active and most dealers will pay top-dollar for nice specimens.  But don't expect to walk in to a coin shop with a big can or bag of Indian Head pennies and have the coin dealer dig through them to pull out the nice ones.  If you want to get paid top dollar for your coins, you need to sort and organize them so the dealer can quickly see what you have.

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
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Condition or Grade Examples

Indian Head Cent Average Circulated Condition Circulated Indian Head Cent Average Uncirculated Condition Uncirculated
Click on the photos above for a larger image.
Photos courtesy of Teletrade Coin Auctions, www.teletrade.com
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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.

Indian Head penny mint mark location
Mint Mark Location
Images © 2012 James Bucki  

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 sell 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 & Mint Circulated   Uncirculated
Buy Sell Buy Sell
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
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
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

These values have been compiled through my personal analysis of the coin market, referencing publications such as Numismatic News, Coin World, "The Official Blue Book; Handbook of U.S. Coins," The Coin Dealer Newsletter, published auction results and consulting with various coin dealers.

Disclaimer: The information on this site and all subsequent communications are provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be misconstrued as investment advice. All information, including valuations, on this website has been compiled from reliable sources and every effort has been made to eliminate errors and questionable data. However, the possibility of an error in a work of this magnitude always exists. Additionally, further analysis, research and/or discoveries may challenge the beliefs presented in this article. The author and About.com will not be responsible for any losses that may occur in the purchase, sale, or other transaction of coins and other items because of the information that is contained on this website. Visitors who feel they may have discovered an error or inconsistency are asked to please contact the guide so that the situation may be investigated and/or corrected. Under no circumstances does this information contained on this website represent a recommendation to buy or sell coins, precious metals, exonumia or paper currency.

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