Information about effigy: Liberty, Indian Head

Liberty, Indian Head
United States / One Cent 1906 Indian Head

The concept of liberty has frequently been represented by personifications, often loosely shown as a female classical goddess. Examples include Marianne, the national personification of the French Republic and its values of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, the female Liberty portrayed on United States coins for well over a century, and many others. These descend from images on ancient Roman coins of the Roman goddess Libertas and from various developments from the Renaissance onwards.

The earliest American one cent coins depicted Liberty in a variety of forms - with a "Liberty Cap", in a classic style etc. These were large copper coins which were discontinued in 1857. They were replaced by the Indian Head cent, also known as an Indian Head penny, produced by the United States Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the Chief Engraver at the Philadelphia Mint.

Longacre advocated his Indian Head design in an August 21, 1858, letter to Mint Director James Ross Snowden:
"From the copper shores of Lake Superior, to the silver mountains of Potosi from the Ojibwa to the Araucanian, the feathered tiara is as characteristic of the primitive races of our hemisphere, as the turban is of the Asiatic. Nor is there anything in its decorative character, repulsive to the association of Liberty ... It is more appropriate than the Phrygian cap, the emblem rather of the emancipated slave, than of the independent freeman, of those who are able to say "we were never in bondage to any man". I regard then this emblem of America as a proper and well defined portion of our national inheritance; and having now the opportunity of consecrating it as a memorial of Liberty, 'our Liberty', American Liberty; why not use it? One more graceful can scarcely be devised. We have only to determine that it shall be appropriate, and all the world outside of us cannot wrest it from us."

By numismatic legend, the facial features of the goddess Liberty on the obverse of the Indian Head cent were based on the features of Longacre's daughter Sarah; the tale runs that she was at the mint one day when she tried on the headdress of one of a number of Native Americans who were visiting, and her father sketched her. However, Sarah Longacre was 30 years old and married in 1858, not 12 as in the tale, and Longacre himself stated that the face was based on a statue of Crouching Venus in Philadelphia on loan from the Vatican.

Liberty, Indian Head - Example/s on coins
United States / One Cent 1906 Indian Head

1906 Indian Head Cent

United States / One Cent 1906 Indian Head

The effigy was used on the Indian Head Cent type of coins between 1859 and 1909.

Liberty, Indian Head - showing 52 of 52 coins
NameMintageLegend
One Cent 1859 Indian Head 36,400,800 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1859
One Cent 1860 Indian Head 20,567,000 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1860
One Cent 1861 Indian Head 10,101,000 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1861
One Cent 1862 Indian Head 28,075,550 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1862
One Cent 1863 Indian Head 49,840,460 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1863
One Cent 1864 Indian Head (CuproNickel) 13,740,370 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1864
One Cent 1864 Indian Head (Bronze) 39,233,899 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1864
One Cent 1865 Indian Head 35,429,786 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1865
One Cent 1866 Indian Head 9,827,225 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1866
One Cent 1867 Indian Head 9,821,625 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1867
One Cent 1868 Indian Head 10,267,100 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1868
One Cent 1869 Indian Head 6,420,600 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1869
One Cent 1870 Indian Head 5,276,000 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1870
One Cent 1871 Indian Head 3,930,460 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1871
One Cent 1872 Indian Head 4,042,950 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1872
One Cent 1873 Indian Head 11,677,600 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1873
One Cent 1874 Indian Head 14,188,200 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1874
One Cent 1875 Indian Head 13,528,700 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1875
One Cent 1876 Indian Head 7,945,150 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1876
One Cent 1877 Indian Head 853,400 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1877
One Cent 1878 Indian Head 5,799,850 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1878
One Cent 1879 Indian Head 16,231,200 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1879
One Cent 1880 Indian Head 38,964,955 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1880
One Cent 1881 Indian Head 39,211,575 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1881
One Cent 1882 Indian Head 38,581,100 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1882
One Cent 1883 Indian Head 45,598,109 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1883
One Cent 1884 Indian Head 23,261,742 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1884
One Cent 1885 Indian Head 11,765,384 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1885
One Cent 1886 Indian Head 17,654,290 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1886
One Cent 1887 Indian Head 45,226,483 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1887
One Cent 1888 Indian Head 37,494,414 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1888
One Cent 1889 Indian Head 48,869,361 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1889
One Cent 1890 Indian Head 57,182,854 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1890
One Cent 1891 Indian Head 47,072,350 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1891
One Cent 1892 Indian Head 37,649,832 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1892
One Cent 1893 Indian Head 46,642,195 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1893
One Cent 1894 Indian Head 16,752,132 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1894
One Cent 1895 Indian Head 38,343,636 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1895
One Cent 1896 Indian Head 39,057,293 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1896
One Cent 1897 Indian Head 50,466,330 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1897
One Cent 1898 Indian Head 49,823,079 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1898
One Cent 1899 Indian Head 53,600,031 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1899
One Cent 1900 Indian Head 66,833,764 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1900
One Cent 1901 Indian Head 79,611,143 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1901
One Cent 1902 Indian Head 87,376,722 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1902
One Cent 1903 Indian Head 85,094,493 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1903
One Cent 1904 Indian Head 61,328,015 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1904
One Cent 1905 Indian Head 80,719,163 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1905
One Cent 1906 Indian Head 96,022,255 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1906
One Cent 1907 Indian Head 108,138,618 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1907
One Cent 1908 Indian Head 33,442,987 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1908
One Cent 1909 Indian Head 14,679,645 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1909
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Liberty, Indian Head: Details
Year1859
CountryUnited States
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Is a sub-type of...
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Liberty, Portrait
From 1793