1871 Indian Head Penny

 1871 Indian Head Penny

The 1871 Indian Head Penny is a highly sought after item for numismatists and collectors alike. This coin, which was minted from 1859 to 1909, has an image of Liberty wearing a feather headdress on the obverse side. On the reverse side is the denomination “One Cent” surrounded by a wreath of corn, wheat, maple leaves, and oak branches.

Its intricate details have made it especially desirable among all coins in this series. The 1871 Indian Head Penny is considered particularly rare due to its low mintage numbers compared to other years within the same time period. It only had 19 million coins struck, while most other years had more than 20 million.

Because of this rarity, these coins come with hefty price tags that can range anywhere from $5-$1,000 depending on condition and grade. Despite their high cost however, they are still desired by many since they represent one of America’s earliest coins.

History Of The 1871 Indian Head Penny

The 1871 Indian Head Penny is a remarkable numismatic relic of America’s past. It was minted during the era of Reconstruction, when the nation was still reeling from the Civil War and on its way to becoming an industrial giant.

The design of this penny is truly unique; it features a classic Liberty head portrait with flowing hair framed by an intricate wreath consisting of corn, cotton, and wheat – each crop representing one part of the country’s economy at that time.

It’s no surprise then that the Indian Head Penny has become so popular among coin collectors over the years – something akin to a portal into history itself. Strikingly beautiful and highly sought after, these coins are some of the most coveted pieces in any collection due to their historical significance as well as their aesthetic appeal.

For many collectors, owning a piece like this serves not only as an investment but also as a reminder of our collective journey through history. A true testament to American resilience even in times of turmoil, these coins remain timeless symbols of freedom and prosperity for generations to come.

Design Of The 1871 Indian Head Penny

The 1871 Indian Head Penny is an iconic coin in American numismatics. It features a Native American head with traditional feathers on the obverse and a stylized wreath of corn, wheat, maple, and oak leaves on the reverse. This penny was designed by James B. Longacre and minted from 1859 to 1909.

This beloved penny has been collected for its beauty since it first debuted over 150 years ago. Its design instills feelings of nostalgia and patriotism among those who look upon it.

The image of a proud indigenous leader reminds us of our nation’s history; the leaves evoke thoughts of nature, bounty, and prosperity; and the date serves as a reminder that time marches on.

As such, this piece remains a powerful symbol for collectors around the world—a reminder that all things must pass but are not forgotten.

For many people, owning one brings them closer to understanding their place in America’s story.

Mintage Numbers

Mintage numbers of Indian head pennies are quite limited when compared to other coins from the same era. This is partly due to the fact that they were produced for a relatively short period, 1859-1909. To further illustrate this point, we can look at the following table:

YearMintmarkNumber minted (in millions)

The figures in the table above indicate that only 24.3 million Indian Head Pennies were made between 1859 and 1861 – a comparatively small number when considering how many coins are typically issued during any given three year span today. It could be argued that their lack of availability has contributed to their desirability among collectors. In addition, it serves as evidence of why these pieces remain so sought after by numismatists even over 150 years later; few examples exist relative to similarly aged coinage, making them rarer than most others available on the market. As such, they’re highly prized by hobbyists who seek out scarce items with significant historical value.

Value Of The 1871 Indian Head Penny

Mint marks are an important factor in determining the value of an 1871 Indian Head Penny.

For instance, a penny with an S mint mark can fetch a much higher price at auction than one without a mint mark.

The auction price of an 1871 Indian Head Penny can also depend on its condition – those in better condition can bring in more money.

Overall, I’d say it’s a great coin to collect if you can find one in good condition!

Mint Marks

The 1871 Indian Head penny has the potential to be highly valuable, depending on the mint mark. The ‘S’ mint mark is one of the most sought after because it indicates that it was struck in San Francisco and there were only 852,500 printed. This gives these coins a high demand among numismatists as they are considered rarer than other years where more coins were produced.

However, even though some with an ‘S’ have been graded higher due to their rarity and condition, any uncirculated or near-uncirculated example from this year can still fetch respectable prices.

On the contrary, when looking at the Philadelphia version of this coin (marked with a ‘P’) you’ll find much less value if your coin wasn’t well preserved over time. That’s because nearly 30 million pieces were created for circulation, meaning supply far outstrips demand here – however those who are lucky enough to own examples that have survived in exceptional condition may be able to get upwards of $100 or more!

To conclude, while all versions of the 1871 Indian head penny hold historic significance and should be cherished by collectors alike, its true worth varies greatly depending on which mint made yours and how well it has been preserved since then.

Auction Prices

When it comes to auctioning off an 1871 Indian Head penny, its value can fluctuate greatly depending on the condition and mint mark. Those with a ‘S’ from San Francisco are usually highly sought after due to their rarity – but even so, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll fetch top dollar in auctions.

On the contrary, those with a ‘P’ issued by the Philadelphia Mint often fail to get high bids as there was such a huge supply of them compared to other years. That being said, if you’ve got one in really good condition then it could still be worth quite a bit!

It’s important to note here that while some sellers might try and play up their coins as rarer than they actually are (or worse yet attempt to pass off counterfeits), savvy buyers should always do their research ahead of time and make sure they’re getting what they pay for before committing any money.

This is especially true when considering more valuable examples of this coin; potential bidders should never let themselves be deceived into thinking something is worth far more than it actually is!

In short, anyone looking at buying or selling an 1871 Indian Head Penny needs to take extra care in order to ensure they get the best price possible – whether that means doing additional research or simply being aware of potential pitfalls along the way.

Collecting The 1871 Indian Head Penny

The rarity of the 1871 Indian Head Penny has long been debated by numismatists. Some believe that it is a valuable coin, with only 40 known examples in circulation, while others argue that its value lies more in its historical significance than anything else.

After much research, however, it seems that both theories are partially correct—the true value of this penny is determined by both its scarcity and its place in history.

In terms of collectability, the 1871 Indian Head Penny certainly stands out from other coins produced during the same era due to its relative rarity. As mentioned earlier, there are only 40 known specimens still in existence today: three copper-nickel pieces at various museums, along with 37 copper pennies held by private collectors across the United States. This scarcity makes them highly sought after among coin enthusiasts who seek to add these rare items to their collections.

At the same time, though, this penny also holds great historical importance as one of the first coins minted for use in everyday transactions in America following Reconstruction. It was designed by James B Longacre and features an image of Lady Liberty wearing a feather headdress on one side and 13 stars representing each original colony on the reverse side.

For all these reasons—both monetary and sentimental—this penny holds tremendous appeal for any collector seeking to own part of American history.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Diameter Of A 1871 Indian Head Penny?

As a numismatist, I know that the diameter of a typical Indian Head penny is 19.05mm.

This makes it slightly larger than most other U.S coins from its time period.

The 1871 version specifically has an identical size but features some minor design changes from its predecessors to denote the new year’s minting.

Is There A Difference Between The Philadelphia And San Francisco Versions Of The 1871 Indian Head Penny?

It is interesting to note the difference between Philadelphia and San Francisco versions of the Indian Head Penny.

While both coins were minted in 1871, they differ in terms of design elements, size, and metal composition.

The most obvious distinction lies in their reverse side; the ‘V’ shaped design on the Philadelphia version appears as an upside-down ‘A’ on its San Francisco counterpart.

Additionally, the widths differ slightly with a diameter of 19mm for Philadelphia’s coin compared to 20mm for that of San Francisco.

Finally, while both are composed mainly of copper, minor differences exist in zinc content which can further differentiate them under close examination.

Are There Any Rare Varieties Of The 1871 Indian Head Penny?

As a numismatist, I’m often asked about rare varieties of coins. The 1871 Indian Head Penny is no exception. It’s one of the most sought-after U.S. coins for collectors and offers several interesting variants that draw high prices at auction.

One of the more desirable varieties among experienced collectors is the ‘With Motto’ variety, which features the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ on the reverse side. Another key variant is the ‘Proof Only’ coin, which was never issued in circulation but instead released solely as proof coins to dealers and institutions. Both are extremely rare and valuable, making them great additions to any collection!

Where Can I Find A Reputable Dealer Of 1871 Indian Head Pennies?

As a numismatist, it’s important to find reputable dealers when looking for rare coins.

This is especially true with the 1871 Indian Head penny, as there are many varieties of this coin that collectors seek out.

To ensure you’re getting an authentic piece in good condition, do your research and ask around to discover who has the best reputation amongst other buyers and sellers.

You can also look online for trusted retailers or visit local coin stores for further information.

Are There Any Other Coins That Have A Similar Design To The 1871 Indian Head Penny?

The Indian Head Penny is a unique coin with its own distinctive design, but there are several other coins that have similar characteristics.

The Flying Eagle cent and the Liberty Nickel both feature a similar portrait of Lady Liberty on the obverse side. Both coins also incorporate elements of Native American culture in their designs which tie them to the concept behind the Indian Head penny.

Lastly, the Shield nickel utilizes an eagle shield motif which has some similarities to the wreath found on the reverse side of an 1871 Indian head penny.


The 1871 Indian Head Penny is a remarkable coin that has captivated numismatists for generations. It’s diameter of 19mm makes it slightly larger than other coins from the era, making it quite unique.

What’s more impressive is that some rare varieties can fetch high prices in auctions and private sales. It’s estimated that fewer than 10 million examples were made between Philadelphia and San Francisco mints combined. This scarcity makes them highly sought after by collectors who are willing to pay top dollar for specimens in pristine condition.

For these reasons, if you’re interested in investing in or collecting this iconic piece of history, be sure to find a reputable dealer with experience handling rare coins like the 1871 Indian Head Penny.






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