1859 Indian Head Penny

1859 Indian Head Penny

The 1859 Indian Head Penny is an iconic and popular coin among numismatists. This penny marks the first year that these coins were issued to the public, making them highly sought after by collectors around the world.

It has a unique design which features Lady Liberty wearing a headdress of feathers on one side and a wreath surrounding “ONE CENT” on the other. These coins are also known for their longevity, as they still remain in circulation today despite being over 160 years old!

In this article we will explore why this particular penny is so beloved by collectors and consider its significance throughout history.

Origin Of The 1859 Indian Head Penny

The 1859 Indian Head Penny is a beloved coin among numismatists, being the first year of issue for this type. It was minted in Philadelphia and contains 88% copper with 12% nickel alloy, making it readily distinguishable from other coins issued during that time period. Its iconic design features an idealized Native American male’s face surrounded by thirteen stars representing the original colonies. As such, it has been aptly named the “Indian Cent” by many collectors today.

From both technical and historical perspectives, the 1859 Indian Head Penny presented several challenges to its creators at the United States Mint. The dies used for striking had to be delicately crafted in order to accurately reproduce the intricate details on such a small piece of metal – a feat not easily achieved even by modern standards! In addition, there were some political considerations due to tensions between native tribes and settlers in mid-19th century America which made choosing suitable designs difficult.

Despite all these issues, the 1859 Indian Head Penny was ultimately released and quickly became popular amongst Americans as well as those abroad who wanted to possess a tangible link to early US history. Over 150 years later, it remains one of most sought after coins among antique currency enthusiasts around the world; truly embodying an enduring symbol of our nation’s past.

Design Elements Of The 1859 Indian Head Penny

The 1859 Indian Head Penny is a unique coin, with a history and design elements that draw numismatists to its fascinating characteristics. After the establishment of the United States Mint in 1792, there was an urgent need for coins; thus, it’s no surprise that this penny has become such a celebrated piece of U.S. currency.

When examining the features of this historic penny, one cannot help but admire how much detail went into creating something so small yet significant:

  • The obverse displays Lady Liberty wearing an Indian headdress;
  • The reverse contains 13 stars encircling wheat-ears and cotton blossoms which symbolize America’s agriculture;
  • On both sides of the outer rim are the words “One Cent” and “United States Of America’;
  • Finally, at 4 o’clock on the reverse is ‘1859’ indicating when it was minted.

These fine details make it easy to see why collectors flock to acquire these coins. As they can be considered rare due to their age and condition requirements adding them to any collection would surely enhance its value.

For numismatists who enjoy studying US currency and historical artifacts alike, owning an 1859 Indian Head Penny creates a tangible connection between themselves and our nation’s past as well as providing a memento sure to last generations.

Rarity And Value Of The 1859 Indian Head Penny

The 1859 Indian Head Penny is an incredibly rare coin and highly sought after by numismatists. It was minted with a mintage of only 852,500 coins and can be considered amongst the most scarce coins in U.S history.

For those fortunate enough to own this extremely desirable coin, its value may range from $100-$700 depending on condition. In higher grades of preservation, values may reach up to thousands of dollars for these hard-to-find specimens.

Very Fine$400
Extremely Fine$600–$700

It’s become increasingly difficult to locate a good quality example due to their rarity and age. Trusted dealers are often the best source if you’re looking to add one to your collection. Regardless of whether it’s circulated or uncirculated, take care when handling as such delicate pieces are easily damaged through careless storage techniques or mishandling. Collecting an original 1859 Indian Head penny would certainly provide numismatic satisfaction that will last forever!

Collecting 1859 Indian Head Pennies

The 1859 Indian Head Penny is a desirable coin for numismatists of all levels. This penny was minted and circulated in the United States during the second year of production, which makes it one of the more sought-after varieties to collect. It has been estimated that over 10 million were produced, but only about 200 examples remain today due to their low mintage and general wear from circulation.

The 1859 Indian Head Penny features an obverse portrait of Lady Liberty wearing feathered headdress with LIBERTY inscribed above her head. The reverse depicts a laurel wreath encircling ONE CENT along with the date below. Many have found these coins to be attractive due to their intricate design elements such as feathers, stars, and stripes on Liberty’s headdress.

Collecting 1859 Indian Head Pennies can be a challenge given their rarity, yet many numismatists still strive to find them in excellent condition or higher grades. With proper care and maintenance, they are sure to become treasured pieces within any collection!

Historical Significance Of The 1859 Indian Head Penny

The 1859 Indian Head Penny is a timeless reminder of America’s tumultuous past. It stands as an enduring symbol of the nation’s struggles to establish itself in the world, from its inception during the Civil War era to becoming a global superpower today.

Numismatists and collectors alike have long been captivated by this iconic coin:

  1. Its design features Lady Liberty wearing a feather headdress, invoking both Native American tribal imagery and also highlighting her strength as she looks confidently forward into the future;
  2. It was designed by James Barton Longacre, the fourth Chief Engraver of the United States Mint;
  3. The reverse side bears an oak wreath encircling the words ‘One Cent,’ with a shield at its base denoting national unity;
  4. And it has held steady purchasing power since first minted over 150 years ago!

As such, it helps us understand our history better, reminding us that we can come through even the darkest times together if we remain united in spirit—as embodied so beautifully on this remarkable penny.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Tell If My 1859 Indian Head Penny Is Authentic?

Authenticating a numismatic piece is essential for any collector.

When it comes to Indian Head pennies, 1859 models in particular, there are several steps one needs to take when verifying the authenticity of such a coin.

First, examine the strike; if it’s too weak or soft, that could be an indicator of fakery.

Additionally, look at the details on the face and reverse side to determine if they’re consistent with a genuine penny from the era.

Lastly, consider having it graded by a professional third party service like PCGS or NGC; this will give you peace of mind knowing your 1859 Indian Head penny has been evaluated by experts in the field.

What Is The Best Way To Store 1859 Indian Head Pennies?

When it comes to coin collecting, proper storage of your coins is essential.

Numismatists recommend storing 1859 Indian Head Pennies in a cool and humidity-free environment since these conditions can help prevent the deterioration of the metal over time.

To further protect each individual penny, use an airtight container such as plastic or PVC-free flips that won’t react with the copper.

Additionally, consider keeping track of your collection by writing down any details related to the pennies, including their grade and condition.

This will ensure you have accurate records for future reference.

Are There Any 1859 Indian Head Pennies In Circulation Today?

Numismatists have long marveled at the indian head penny, a beloved piece of American history minted from 1859 to 1909.

With such an enduring legacy, many wonder if any original coins remain in circulation today.

The answer: there may still be some out there!

While it’s difficult to find one that hasn’t been heavily worn by years of use, diligent searching and luck can yield a valuable treasure for those willing to look.

What Other Coins Are Similar To The 1859 Indian Head Penny?

The 1859 Indian head penny is a highly sought-after coin due to its historical significance and rarity.

For collectors looking for coins of similar style, there are several options available.

The Flying Eagle Penny, which was first released in 1856, features an eagle on the obverse with small stars around it.

The Liberty Head Nickel, issued between 1883 and 1912, also has a similar design to the Indian head penny with a portrait of Lady Liberty surrounded by 13 stars.

Another option is the Buffalo Nickel from 1913 to 1938; this nickel features a Native American chief on one side and an American bison on the other.

All these coins offer numismatists classic designs that evoke nostalgia for America’s past along with potential value as collectibles.

Where Can I Find An 1859 Indian Head Penny For Sale?

Numismatists looking for an 1859 penny should consider the Indian Head Penny.

This rare coin is a great find and can be acquired from many sources, including online auctions or dealerships specializing in antique coins.

Individual sellers may occasionally have them available as well.

It’s important to do your research before buying any coin, so you know you’re getting the legitimate article.


As a numismatist, I can attest to the enduring beauty of the 1859 Indian Head Penny. It’s no wonder that collectors are eager to get their hands on one of these striking coins.

Each penny is like a tiny piece of history- capturing a moment in time and bringing it into the present day. With proper storage, an 1859 Indian head penny will last for decades and bring joy to its owner for years to come.

Whether you’re looking for an investment or just want something special from America’s past, the 1859 Indian Head Penny provides both with timeless grace and charm.






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