Lot Number:77
Start Time:5/23/2024 4:00:00 AM
End Time:6/9/2024 10:41:00 PM
Bid Count:4
Winning Bidder:t****o
Starting Bid:$1.00
Bid Increment:$1.50
Current Bid:$5.50
Bidding complete

The Indian Head Cent, minted from 1859 to 1909, was a one-cent piece ($0.01) featuring a design that sparked debate but has become a popular collectible. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Design and Controversy:

  • Obverse (Heads): Depicts a head wearing a Native American headdress, though it was never officially designated as a specific tribe. This design choice was intended to represent Liberty and evoke a sense of American identity tied to the nation's frontier spirit.
  • Controversy: The use of a Native American headdress sparked debate, with some arguing it was an inaccurate representation and others questioning the appropriateness of using a cultural symbol on coinage.

Design Evolution (1859-1864):

  • The initial design (1859) featured a wreath made of laurel leaves with six leaves per bunch on the reverse.
  • In 1860, the wreath design was modified to feature eight leaves per bunch.
  • Due to rising copper prices during the Civil War, the composition of the coin switched from a copper-nickel alloy (1859-1864) to a cheaper bronze (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc) starting in 1864.


  • Diameter: 19 mm (approximately 0.75 inches)
  • Weight: 3.1 grams (approximately 0.11 ounces) (for copper-nickel issues); 2.5 grams (approximately 0.09 ounces) (for bronze issues)
  • Designer: James Barton Longacre, Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint
  • Mints: Philadelphia (no mintmark), Denver (mintmark "D"), San Francisco (mintmark "S")

Collecting Indian Head Cents:

  • Condition: As always, condition is a major factor in value. Higher grades (MS63 and above) from reputable grading services like PCGS or NGC command a premium.
  • Mintmark: Early issues from the Philadelphia mint (no mintmark) or scarcer issues from the Denver or San Francisco mints can be more valuable.
  • Date Rarity: Certain dates, like the 1877 with a doubled die reverse error, are particularly sought-after by collectors.
  • Composition: Copper-nickel varieties (pre-1864) can be more valuable than the more common bronze issues.

Where to Find Indian Head Cents:

  • You can find Indian Head Cents at coin shops, online marketplaces like eBay, or through auctions.
  • When considering a purchase, ensure the coin is authentic and has been graded by a reputable service if it's in potentially higher condition.

The Indian Head Cent, despite the initial controversy, remains a significant piece of American coinage history. Its unique design and historical context continue to capture the interest of collectors and serve as a reminder of debates surrounding cultural representation.

No donations for this lot

Thank you for visiting our online coin auction. While other sellers are increasing their prices, we are reducing our buyer premium from 18% to 15% to offer you greater value. Our shipping is always fast and cost-effective.

We have been selling coins online since 1996—almost since the inception of the internet! With over 70,000 positive feedback and hundreds of thousands of coins sold, we prioritize making your auction experience enjoyable. Your business is important to us, and we aim to build a lasting relationship with you. Look forward to top-notch service and a new selection of interesting items up for auction weekly. Be sure to sign up for our email notifications for upcoming coin and currency auctions.

After the auction concludes, you will receive an invoice via email with a link to complete payment using your credit card or PayPal account. We also offer a 2% discount for money orders or checks.

United States