1866 Indian Head Penny

1866 Indian Head Penny

The 1866 Indian Head Penny is a popular coin among numismatists. It was minted by the United States Mint in 1866 and features an iconic image of Lady Liberty wearing an Indian headdress.

This penny has become highly sought-after due to its historical significance and rarity. Its design and composition make it one of the most desirable coins for collectors, with some specimens selling for thousands of dollars.

In this article, we will discuss the history, design, and value of this classic coin.

History Of The 1866 Indian Head Penny

Satirically describing the 1866 Indian Head Penny is like trying to describe a beautiful sunset in the middle of a thunderstorm.

The coin has been through so much and yet still stands as an iconic symbol of American culture, history, and numismatics.

It was first minted in 1859 when America’s western frontier was being explored by brave pioneers searching for new lands, but it really gained popularity during the Civil War era due to its simple design.

The obverse side of this penny features Lady Liberty wearing a headdress decorated with feathers that resemble those worn by Indians of the time period.

This design choice was meant to honor both Native Americans and immigrants who were settling into their newfound homes at the same time.

On the reverse is a wreath made from corn, wheat, cotton, tobacco leaves – all symbols representing America’s agricultural industry.

The small size of these coins make them very popular among collectors because they are easy to store and display.

Their unique designs also make them attractive pieces for any collection or historical artifact display case – often times raising prices significantly based on rarity or condition alone!

With such rich history embedded within each one, no collector should be without an 1866 Indian Head Penny in their trove!

Design Of The 1866 Indian Head Penny

The 1866 Indian Head penny is a classic example of 19th century American currency. It features a design that has come to be iconic, and it marks an important moment in numismatic history.

On the obverse side of the coin is Liberty wearing a feathered headdress, symbolic of Native Americans. This portrait was designed by James B. Longacre, who had been Chief Engraver at the U.S Mint since 1840. His initials can be seen below Liberty’s chin on each issue of this series.

On the reverse side of the coin we find an olive branch with three arrows crossed beneath it, surrounded by thirteen stars representing the original colonies; these symbols signify peace and unity within America as well as strength outwards against its enemies – both foreign and domestic. An oak wreath encircles all, along with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA above and ONE CENT below in small typeface. The mint mark ‘D’ appears just left of center underneath ONE CENT indicating production at the Philadelphia mint facility during this era from 1860-1864 then later from 1865-1909 when other facilities were opened up for business.

Though not technically part of the design itself, many collectors seek out coins that have a full red luster or dark brown patina indicative of higher grade specimens due to their rarity and aesthetic appeal compared to lower grade examples which are often worn down and lack any discernible eye appeal whatsoever. Such pieces command premium prices among discerning buyers yet remain relatively affordable even for those on limited budgets looking to get into collecting early date copper issues like these U.S pennies from yesteryear!

Value Of The 1866 Indian Head Penny

The 1866 Indian Head penny is a highly sought after coin amongst numismatists. It is the first year of production for this type of one cent piece, with nearly 80 million being made during its mintage period. In fact, it was so popular that collectors have been willing to pay up to $1,500 USD for an uncirculated copy in good condition!

This makes the 1866 Indian Head penny an attractive option for any collector looking to add value or diversify their portfolio. Here are just some of the factors that make it such a desirable item:

  • Rarity – As noted previously, there were only 80 million produced and most have since disappeared from circulation.
  • Historical Significance – The 1866 design marks the inaugural release of what would become one of America’s longest-running coins series.
  • Quality & Condition – Coins must be graded “Mint State 60” (MS60) by a professional third party grading company for maximum value.

Factors impacting quality include originality (“Original” vs “Restored”), luster, eye appeal, and whether wear has occurred on the highest points of the coin’s design details.

Conditions range from Poor 1 to Mint State 70 with MS60 being considered as average condition.

As such, these features all contribute towards making the 1866 Indian Head Penny an excellent investment opportunity and should definitely be taken into consideration when evaluating potential additions to your collection.

Variations Of The 1866 Indian Head Penny

The 1866 Indian Head Penny is an intriguing coin due to its unique design and historical significance. As such, the variations of this penny are highly sought after by numismatists.

One variation of the 1866 Indian Head Penny is the Proof Coin. These coins were minted with a much higher standard than regular circulation pennies. They often feature sharper details on both sides as well as shinier surfaces; however, it can be difficult to differentiate between proof coins from other uncirculated examples without close examination since they do not have any specific marking or stamp which sets them apart from others.

Another variation of note is the Over Mint Mark (OMM) variety of the 1866 Indian Head Penny. This type of coin is easily identifiable because it has an additional ‘S’ mintmark below the date that was applied after striking at another branch mint location in San Francisco. It’s widely believed these OMM varieties were created intentionally for collectors, making them quite rare and desirable among numismatic aficionados. Given their limited production numbers, it’s no surprise that finding one in good condition can command a hefty premium over common specimens.

In summary, there are several interesting versions of the 1866 Indian Head Penny worthy of attention among experienced and novice coin collectors alike. Whether you’re looking for an example with superior aesthetic qualities or searching for a rare variant like an OMM piece, assessing each specimen carefully will likely yield great rewards for those willing to take the time and effort necessary to find them.

Collecting The 1866 Indian Head Penny

The 1866 Indian Head Penny is widely believed to be the most sought-after coin in American numismatic history. With a mintage of just 852,000 pieces, this small number makes it one of the rarest coins available for collectors today. But does rarity alone make the 1866 Indian Head Penny so desirable? Let’s take a closer look and find out:

  • It was minted during an iconic period of US history – shortly after the end of the Civil War as America moved into Reconstruction.
  • The obverse design features Liberty wearing a Native American headdress with “1866” inscribed below her chin.
  • The reverse displays a Union shield surrounded by 13 stars representing each state at that time, with “ONE CENT USA” written above it.
  • Its composition consists of 95% copper alloyed with tin and zinc to create its distinct reddish hue.
  • It has been certified by prominent grading services such as PCGS and NGC, adding credibility to its condition and value.

Beyond its historical significance and aesthetic appeal, what truly sets apart the 1866 Indian Head Penny from other collectible coins? Perhaps it lies within its scarcity; not only are there fewer than 1 million specimens still surviving today, but many of them have also sustained extensive wear or damage due to their age which further depletes supply.

Whatever the case may be, it seems clear that once you add up all these variables together they create something truly special — making this penny unique amongst all others!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The 1866 Indian Head Penny Rare?

The 1866 Indian Head Penny is quite a rare find in the numismatic world.

It was minted during a time when there were many economic and political uncertainties, resulting in fewer of these coins being produced than its predecessors or successors.

Because of this, it carries a premium value for collectors who are lucky enough to come across one.

With its unique design, beautiful patina, and historical significance, the 1866 Indian Head Penny remains an attractive option for any coin enthusiast’s collection.

Where Can I Find More Information About The 1866 Indian Head Penny?

As any numismatist knows, the 1866 Indian Head Penny is a truly unique piece of American history.

For those looking to learn more about this rare coin, there are several online resources available.

Collectors can find detailed information on mintage numbers and design features, as well as insights into its value and rarity.

Additionally, it’s worth visiting an experienced dealer or checking out auction sites to get an idea of what prices similar coins have fetched in recent years.

With research and patience, anyone interested in learning more about the 1866 Indian Head Penny should be able to uncover all kinds of fascinating facts!

Is There A Way To Authenticate The 1866 Indian Head Penny?

Authenticating an antique penny can be a tricky task, especially when it comes to the 1866 Indian Head Penny.

Numismatists must take certain steps and precautions in order to ensure they are accurately assessing its legitimacy.

A few essential techniques include consulting reliable resources, performing any necessary research, and examining the coin’s condition.

With these steps in mind, numismatists can confidently determine if their penny is authentic or not.

Are There Any Counterfeit Versions Of The 1866 Indian Head Penny?

Authenticating coins can be a difficult task, and counterfeit versions of numismatic items have been around since the beginning.

The 1866 Indian Head Penny is no exception; it has seen its fair share of counterfeits over the years.

With the right know-how though, any collector should be able to spot a fake fairly easily by looking for telltale signs such as incorrect weight or size, poor quality engraving, wrong metal composition, and so on.

How Can I Store Or Display My 1866 Indian Head Penny Collection?

As a numismatist, you may want to showcase your prized collection of coins.

Storing or displaying your 1866 Indian Head Penny can be done in many ways – from an elegant display case to a simple folder tucked away in a drawer.

Utilizing euphemistic language and careful consideration, your treasured artifacts will remain safe and sound for generations to come!


The 1866 Indian Head Penny is a prized numismatic item, and collecting these rare coins can be quite rewarding.

As an experienced numismatist, I have found that the best way to appreciate such treasures is to handle them with care and store or display them properly.

With its intricate design details and historical significance, there’s no denying the beauty of this classic penny. It provides an intriguing glimpse into our nation’s past and serves as a reminder of the value of hard work and perseverance.

For any collector looking for something truly special, it doesn’t get much better than the 1866 Indian Head Penny!






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