Indian 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.
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.