Historical Values of Indian Head Pennies: See How The Indian Head Penny Value Has Changed Over The Years

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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.

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30 thoughts on “Historical Values of Indian Head Pennies: See How The Indian Head Penny Value Has Changed Over The Years”

    • Summer,

      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.

    • 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

    • Hello, Valerie —

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

      Thanks for your question!

  1. Hi Josh, I have 3 indian head pennies, 1888 and 1892 and one from 1863 that has stars around the head on the front and what someone wrote one the back of the package “union 61/36”. Can you tell me what they are worth?

  2. Hello .Joshua. could you please lend me your opinion on the grade of this Indian Head Penny is it G4 good or maybe V. G. 8 I’m having a hard time thank you very much

    • Hi, David –

      Judging only from the obverse of the coin (I don’t see a photo of the reverse) this appears to be in the grade range of Very Good-10 to Fine-12. However, the coin appears to have some porosity and rim dings, which would bring its value down about 20% to 30% from its book value. Given the evident grade and condition of the coin, I’d say this 1863 Indian Head cent is worth somewhere in the $7 to $10 range.



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