One Cent, Indian Head, Coin Type from United States - detailed information

One Cent, Indian Head, Coin Type from United States (issued 1859 - 1909)
Coin TypeOne Cent, Indian Head

The United States one-cent coin (often called a penny, from the British coin of the same name) is a unit of currency equalling one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is ¢. It has been the lowest-value physical unit of U.S. currency since the abolition of the half-cent in 1857.

The earliest one cent coins were large and made of copper. Their designs changed relatively often; there were three different types in 1793 alone, the Flowing Hair / Chain Cent, the Flowing Hair / Wreath Cent and the Liberty Cap Cent - the latter issued until 1796, after which came the Draped Bust type (1796 to 1807), the so-called Classic Head Cent (1808 to 1814) and the Coronet Cent, also known as Liberty Head (1816 to 1857).

When a large copper coin became impractical, an alternative was sought. The Flying Eagle Cent was a transitional smaller type, struck between 1856 and 1858 in copper-nickel. Its design created production problems though, so it was decided to replace it with a new type. In 1858, the Philadelphia Mint tested new designs for the cent; between 60 and 100 sets of twelve pattern coins were struck, consisting of the standard Flying Eagle obverse, a "scrawny eagle" pattern, and the Indian Head design, mated with four different wreaths for the reverse. From these, James Longacre's Indian Head design was finally selected and replaced the Flying Eagle in 1859 - initially also in copper-nickel until 1864, then bronze.

The reverse shows the denomination and value surrounded by a wreath. This was a laurel wreath in 1859, with no shield on top. After that, it was replaced by an oak wreath with a small shield on top. The obverse shows a representation of Liberty (and not an actual American Indian) wearing an Indian headdress made of feathers, thus giving the coin type its name Indian Head Cent - sometimes abbreviated by collectors to IHC; it is also called the Indian Head Penny (IHP).

Like all earlier cents, the Indian Head Cent was struck exclusively by the Philadelphia Mint until 1908; after that, the San Francisco Mint supplemented its production.

In the late 1860s and the 1870s, the Treasury Department initiated redemption programs to replace copper-nickel coins with the bronze cents; the copper-nickel cents disappeared from circulation after the 1880s. The earliest Indian Head Cents are the oldest coins in the world that are still current (next oldest are the 1879 Swiss Ten Rappen coins). They do not circulate in any meaningful way though - most have been worn down and melted, and the rest have been hoarded by collectors.

In 1909, the Indian Head Cent type was replaced by the Lincoln Cent.

Obverse
United States / One Cent, Indian Head - obverse photo

The obverse of the coin is surrounded by a denticled (toothed) border. It shows at its centre the representation of Liberty, facing left and wearing an American Indian headdress made of feathers, and a pearl necklace.

The ribbon holding the headdress carries the inscription LIBERTY in relief. A tiny letter L represents the artist's initials (for James Longacre). It is in relief on the ribbon tying Liberty's hair, between the lowest feather in the headdress and the curl of hair going down her neck.

Around left and right, interrupted by Liberty's headdress, the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Around below, the date of issue: [year].

Obverse Inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA [year]
Reverse
United States / One Cent, Indian Head - reverse photo

On two lines at its centre, the coin displays its value and denomination: ONE CENT, surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves.

The wreath is tied with a ribbon below the value, holding also three arrows.

Above the value, a small shield with seven horizontal stripes above and six vertical stripes below, representing the 13 original states forming the United States.

Reverse Inscription ONE CENT
EdgePlainEdge InscriptionNone
Coin Type: One Cent, Indian Head - (52) Coins
Coin NameMintageSymbolLegend
One Cent 1859 Indian Head 36,400,800 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1859
One Cent 1860 Indian Head 20,567,000 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1860
One Cent 1861 Indian Head 10,101,000 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1861
One Cent 1862 Indian Head 28,075,550 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1862
One Cent 1863 Indian Head 49,840,460 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1863
One Cent 1864 Indian Head (CuproNickel) 13,740,370 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1864
One Cent 1864 Indian Head (Bronze) 39,233,899 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1864
One Cent 1865 Indian Head 35,429,786 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1865
One Cent 1866 Indian Head 9,827,225 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1866
One Cent 1867 Indian Head 9,821,625 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1867
One Cent 1868 Indian Head 10,267,100 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1868
One Cent 1869 Indian Head 6,420,600 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1869
One Cent 1870 Indian Head 5,276,000 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1870
One Cent 1871 Indian Head 3,930,460 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1871
One Cent 1872 Indian Head 4,042,950 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1872
One Cent 1873 Indian Head 11,677,600 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1873
One Cent 1874 Indian Head 14,188,200 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1874
One Cent 1875 Indian Head 13,528,700 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1875
One Cent 1876 Indian Head 7,945,150 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1876
One Cent 1877 Indian Head 853,400 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1877
One Cent 1878 Indian Head 5,799,850 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1878
One Cent 1879 Indian Head 16,231,200 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1879
One Cent 1880 Indian Head 38,964,955 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1880
One Cent 1881 Indian Head 39,211,575 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1881
One Cent 1882 Indian Head 38,581,100 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1882
One Cent 1883 Indian Head 45,598,109 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1883
One Cent 1884 Indian Head 23,261,742 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1884
One Cent 1885 Indian Head 11,765,384 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1885
One Cent 1886 Indian Head 17,654,290 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1886
One Cent 1887 Indian Head 45,226,483 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1887
One Cent 1888 Indian Head 37,494,414 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1888
One Cent 1889 Indian Head 48,869,361 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1889
One Cent 1890 Indian Head 57,182,854 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1890
One Cent 1891 Indian Head 47,072,350 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1891
One Cent 1892 Indian Head 37,649,832 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1892
One Cent 1893 Indian Head 46,642,195 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1893
One Cent 1894 Indian Head 16,752,132 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1894
One Cent 1895 Indian Head 38,343,636 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1895
One Cent 1896 Indian Head 39,057,293 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1896
One Cent 1897 Indian Head 50,466,330 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1897
One Cent 1898 Indian Head 49,823,079 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1898
One Cent 1899 Indian Head 53,600,031 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1899
One Cent 1900 Indian Head 66,833,764 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1900
One Cent 1901 Indian Head 79,611,143 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1901
One Cent 1902 Indian Head 87,376,722 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1902
One Cent 1903 Indian Head 85,094,493 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1903
One Cent 1904 Indian Head 61,328,015 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1904
One Cent 1905 Indian Head 80,719,163 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1905
One Cent 1906 Indian Head 96,022,255 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1906
One Cent 1907 Indian Head 108,138,618 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1907
One Cent 1908 Indian Head 33,442,987 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1908
One Cent 1909 Indian Head 14,679,645 Liberty, Indian Head UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1909
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One Cent, Indian Head: Details
CountryUnited States
CurrencyUS Dollar
Sub-type ofOne Cent
From1859
To1909
Face Value1 (x Cent)
CurrentYes
MaterialBronze
DesignerJames Barton Longacre
TechnologyMilled (machine-made)
ShapeRound
OrientationCoin Alignment (Axis 6)
Size19.000 mm
Mass3.110 g