Nashua Coins

Six Fun Facts of the Indian Cent

One of the most popular pennies in existence would be the Indian Head Penny. Even people who don’t collect recognize the now iconic penny. James Longacre designed the Indian Head Penny. Because it premiered in the years leading up to the Civil War, this penny is viewed as an important part of the history of American coins. Though it was only struck from 1859 until 1909, the Indian Head Penny remains a favorite part of many coin collections. Here are six more fun facts about the Indian Head Penny!



The Indian Cent evolved from the Large Penny. When the Large Penny was first minted, the public did approve. As the Mint reduced the size of the penny, the Flying Eagle Penny came to be. As design flaws affected the use of the Flying Eagle Penny, the Mint replaced it with the Indian Head Penny.


Though most think the design is of an Indian Chief, the face was intended to be Lady Liberty adorned with an Indian headdress. When it comes to American coins, it’s hard to get more American than Lady Liberty and Native Americans.


Due to their location on the timeline, Indian Head Pennies have different values. It was struck for fifty years, so multiple editions of this penny exist. The earlier versions from the years leading into the Civil War carry a higher value than newer editions. Of course, this is just a rule of thumb.


The very first Indian Head Penny featured a laurel wreath on the opposite side. This edition of the penny was made of a copper-nickel composition. However, within a year, the laurel wreath was exchanged out for an oak wreath. When they made this change, they also added a small shield to the top of the penny.


Most coins that enter circulation only last a few decades. Very rarely do circulated coins still exist 100 years later. This is what makes the Indian Head Penny so fascinating. Not only did it survive over 100 years, but certain editions remain in abundance. Naturally, the abundant versions are not as valuable as the more rare editions.


The Indian Head Penny faced a lot of changes in 1864. The first significant change was the composition. This is the year the United States Mint chose to use bronze in penny production instead of copper and nickel. This year also saw the addition of a small L to the bottom of the headdress in honor of James Longacre.

American coins have such a rich history that too many people are unaware of. For example, the 1908 and 1909 Indian Head Pennies are the only editions with the mint marks printed on them. You never know what facts follow around the coins in your pocket. For those interested in numismatics, contact Nashua Coins & Collectibles today or visit them online!

202 Main St.
Nashua, NH 03060
Get Directions
Main Phone: 603-718-1018
Contact Us
Sun - Tues: CLOSED
Wed - Sat: 12AM - 6PM

Protected by Security by CleanTalk