Historic Values of Indian Head Pennies

indian head pennies historic valuesIndian Head pennies were struck from 1859 to 1909 and were one of the longest-running coin series in the United States. Designed by James Longacre and among the most recognizable coin series in the United States, Indian Head pennies are popular among coin collectors young and old, and widely sought after.

In general, coin collectors will accumulate collections of Indian Head pennies by either date and mintmark, or type. For type sets, a coin collector usually needs just one example of an Indian Head cent to represent the series, whereas those who collect by date need one from each year for a complete set.

Determining how much it will cost to assemble a complete set of this small cent design, or figuring out how much one may be worth today, is a matter of perusing an Indian Head cent coin value guide.

In many cases, it is also educational to take a look at the track record of coin values to see how much certain dates have either increased or decreased in value over the years. While this is especially helpful to those who may want to invest in a coin series, it can also quite entertaining to see what the values are for a certain coin over a given period of time.

Below is a look back at historic coin values for the scarcer Indian Head cents. These coin values are from the 1965, 1985, and 2005 editions of A Guide Book of United States Coins, published by R.S. Yeoman.

*Values are for coins in a grade of “Good,” unless otherwise stated.

1859 $4.00 (1965) $4.50 (1985) $13 (2005)

1864 (L on ribbon) $16 (1965) $25 (1985) $55 (2005)

1866 $10 (1965) $20 (1985) $45 (2005)

1869/8 $45 (1965) $50 (1985) $110 (2005)

1870 $14 (1965) $23 (1985) $50 (2005)

1871 $21 (1965) $30 (1985) $50 (2005)

1872 $23.50 (1965) $43 (1985) $75 (2005)

1877 $100 (1965) $250 (1985) $550 (2005)

1878 $8.50 (1965) $14 (1985) $30 (2005)

1908-S $22 (1965) $22 (1985) $60 (2005)

1909-S $78 (1965) $100 (1985) $300 (2005)

As is the case with all coin values, previous trends may not necessarily predict future outcomes. For example, if a hoard of a rare date, such as the 1877 Indian Head penny, is found, the sudden influx of coins can lower the value of that date. For the most part, coin values are very volatile, and coins should never be seen as a “guaranteed” investment.

In the case of Indian Head pennies, whether or not they are a good investment, they more importantly represent a bygone era in the United States and should be collected and enjoyed for their historic, social, and numismatic value, as much as, if not more than, for their potential as a good investment in the years to come.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez

My love for coins and numismatics began when I was 11 years old. I primarily collect and study U.S. coins produced during the 20th century. I'm a member of both the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG). I've also been studying meteorology and watching weather patterns for years. I enjoy sharing little-known facts and fun stuff about coins, weather, travel, health, food, and living green.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/KZOOYCYACDLBTQB53XDW7VEA2M Summer

    this penny i have i think its fake…. it says on the back under one cent copy so is that a fake or is it real?? just wondering….

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide


      Coins that are counterfeit (or replicas), must have the word “COPY” placed somewhere on the piece. So, what you have is not a real coin.

  • Cassanovaone

    I have an 1898 Indian head penny… is it valuable?

    • SaraTG

      That is a fairly common date and would need to be in a very high grade of “uncirculated” condition to be worth a lot. In average used condition you are looking at about $3-$5

  • dixie6264

    what does the “s” mean after the date? For example the dates listed above mention 1909-s. Thanks!

    • SaraTG

      “S” stands for the San Fransico mint. Generally coins minted there are worth more as they produced fewer amounts.

  • James Willoughby

    I have a 1907 indian head ,in good conidtion ,Any value???

  • Valerie Nash

    I have a 1890 indian head in good condition, any value?

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Valerie —

      A worn 1890 Indian Head cent is worth around $3 to $5.

      Thanks for your question!

  • Liberty Zaenker Wolfgang Zaenk

    I have a 1989 Indian head penny stamped with a 5 any help? Sorry 1889

    • JoshuaTheFunTimesGuide

      Hello, Liberty —

      A worn 1889 Indian cent is worth $2 to $3.