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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.
I’m the Coin Editor here at TheFunTimesGuide. My love for coins 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 the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Numismatic Literary Guild (NLG) and have won multiple awards from the NLG for my work as a coin journalist. I’m also the editor at the Florida United Numismatists Club (FUN Topics magazine), and author of Images of America: The United States Mint in Philadelphia (a book that explores the colorful history of the Philadelphia Mint). I’ve contributed hundreds of articles for various coin publications including COINage, The Numismatist, Numismatic News, Coin Dealer Newsletter, Coin Values, and CoinWeek. I’ve authored nearly 1,000 articles here at The Fun Times Guide to Coins (many of them with over 50K shares), and I welcome your coin questions in the comments below!