1874 Indian Head Penny

1874 Indian Head Penny

The 1874 Indian Head Penny, also known as the ‘Beaded Border’ penny due to its distinct beaded border around the obverse of the coin, is a highly sought after collectible among numismatists.

It was produced by the United States Mint from 1859-1889 and is composed of 88% copper and 12% nickel.

This particular rare piece of US currency has been admired for decades for its intricate design which features an image of Lady Liberty wearing a full Native American headdress with thirteen stars surrounding her on one side and the words “one cent” in script along with wheat stalks on the other.

Demand for this historic object continues to grow with each passing day, making it one of the most treasured pieces in any collection.

Design And Composition

The Indian Head Penny, formally known as the Indian Head Cent, is a popular and widely collected coin. It was minted between 1859 and 1909 and has become an iconic symbol of the American West.

Its design harks back to its Native American heritage with Lady Liberty wearing a feather headdress on one side and an oak wreath surrounding the denomination ‘One Cent’ on the other.

In terms of composition, this copper-nickel cent contains 88% copper and 12% nickel which gives it a distinctive coloration compared to other coins from that era made of gold or silver. The weight of these coins is around 3.11 grammes, making them lightweight but still durable enough for circulation.

As part of its intriguing history, some versions of this penny were struck off-center during production giving each individual specimen an unique aesthetic character – something numismatists have come to appreciate over time. In fact, many collectors seek out pieces that have been misstruck in order to add variety to their collections.

History Of The 1874 Indian Head Penny

The 1874 Indian Head Penny is an absolute marvel of numismatics. It’s a breathtaking piece of history that takes the breath away from any collector lucky enough to get their hands on one – and it’s no wonder!

This coin, first minted in 1874, was truly ahead of its time: never before had such intricate detail been placed into a penny so small. From the moment you set your eyes upon this captivating coin, you will find yourself awestruck by its sheer beauty and craftsmanship; each line has been carefully engraved with precision and care.

The front side features Lady Liberty wearing a Native American headdress while holding up an olive branch with her right hand and shield with her left – all surrounded by thirteen stars representing the original colonies. Meanwhile, on the reverse lies a bold image of an eagle perched atop arrows and oak branches encircled by “United States of America” along with other text indicating the value and year of mintage.

Indeed, it would be hard to deny how special this 19th century penny is as it stands out amongst even modern coins for its stunning design elements. Whether held in awe or admiration, there is no doubt that these coins remain highly sought-after pieces among collectors today:

  • Rarity:
  • Only about 1 million were produced in 1874 making them quite rare
  • There are only around 40 known surviving examples in excellent condition
  • Value:
  • Prices range anywhere between $50 – $200 depending on grade & rarity
  • Some specimens have sold at auction for over $1000

It’s clear why this extraordinary piece of U.S currency still resonates strongly with those passionate about numismatics centuries after its creation – just take one look at this majestic coin and you’ll quickly understand why!

Collecting And Valuing The 1874 Indian Head Penny

The 1874 Indian Head Penny is a highly sought after piece of numismatic history. It was issued by the United States mint in 1874 and features Liberty wearing an feathered headdress with the words ‘Liberty’ inscribed above her. This penny has become increasingly valuable over time, as it is considered one of America’s most iconic coins.

ScarceVery Fine$50
RareExtremely Fine$350
Very RareUncirculated Grade I & II (MS60-62)$2500-$5000+

Collecting and valuing the 1874 Indian Head Penny takes expertise that can only be gained through extensive experience and knowledge of coin grading standards. As these coins are so rare, their market value will depend on its condition, which can range from good to uncirculated grade I or II (MS60-62). Generally speaking, common examples may fetch around $5 while very rare pieces may go for up to thousands of dollars depending on their condition. Knowing what your coin is worth requires a great deal of research before selling or buying any piece. The table provided above gives you a quick reference guide to values based on rarity and conditions typically found in 1874 Indian Head Pennies.

To make sure you get the best deal when trading this classic American coin, always check auction sites like eBay and Amazon for comparable pieces and do not settle for anything less than fair market value! A professional numismatist would also be able to help determine if your specimen would bring more at auction or if now might be a better time to sell directly from your collection.

Popular Variations Of The 1874 Indian Head Penny

The 1874 Indian Head Penny is an exquisite relic of a bygone era. As the first copper-nickel cent, it has been revered and collected since its inception over 140 years ago. Those who study numismatics know that this classic penny comes in several variations which add to their desirability and can significantly affect value.

One variant of the 1874 Indian Head Penny is known as the Shield Cent, identified by its shield design on the reverse side rather than traditional laurel wreath pattern. This rare variation was only minted for three years during the Civil War period when metal shortages necessitated alternative metals for coin production. The Shield Cent’s scarcity makes them particularly desirable to collectors and are generally valued much higher than standard cents from other years.

Another version of the 1874 Indian head penny is called Proof or Matte proof coins, which have far fewer marks than circulated coins due to different minting techniques used at the time. These special pennies were produced in limited numbers before 1910 and typically command high prices due to their rarity and superb condition.

Although not all proofs can be authenticated with certainty, some investors choose these as investments for their potential return. All told, these varieties make collecting 1874 Indian Head Pennies an interesting hobby indeed!

Care And Maintenance Of The 1874 Indian Head Penny

As a numismatist, you must take great care when handling your 1874 Indian Head Penny. It is important to always wear clean white cotton or latex gloves when touching the coin. This will help prevent oils from seeping into the metal and causing discoloration or oxidation.

Additionally, make sure to store any coins in an album or safe container that prevents contact with air and light, both of which can cause damage over time.

When cleaning an 1874 Indian Head Penny, it should be done gently using warm water and mild soap, such as dish detergent. Never use abrasive materials like steel wool or chemicals like acetone – these could scratch the surface of the coin beyond repair. If the coin needs further cleaning than what warm water can provide, consider taking it to a professional conservator for restoration work.

The best way to preserve your 1874 Indian Head Penny is by keeping it away from extreme temperatures and humidity levels. Coins stored in overly-cold or hot environments may become brittle and crack easily if handled too roughly. Likewise, high humidity can cause corrosion and other forms of damage if not adequately controlled.

With proper attention and maintenance, this historic American penny will remain in excellent condition for many years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Is The 1874 Indian Head Penny Typically Found In Circulation?

Numismatists debate the length of circulation for coins such as the 1874 Indian Head Penny.

While some believe it’s been in and out of circulation since its creation, others suggest that these pennies were not widely circulated until much later.

It is thought that this particular penny was most likely found mainly in pocket change during the turn of the century and into the early 20th century.

By mid-century, however, they had become rarer finds, with many collectors seeking them out instead.

Is The 1874 Indian Head Penny Still Produced Today?

The 1874 Indian Head Penny is no longer produced today, as it was only minted during that year.

Numismatists have long appreciated the coin’s rarity and historical significance, making it a popular item in collections across the world.

The 1874 variant of this classic American penny has become increasingly difficult to find due to its age, but some specimens are still occasionally found in circulation.

Are There Any Special Features To Look For When Identifying A Genuine 1874 Indian Head Penny?

As a numismatist, it is important to be able to identify genuine specimens of coins. One such coin that requires careful evaluation for authenticity is the 1874 Indian Head Penny.

There are several distinct features to look for when determining whether or not a specimen is genuine, including the size and shape of the obverse and reverse designs, as well as any traces of wear on the surfaces.

Additionally, certain elements like mint marks may help indicate if a penny has been circulated by an official source. Taking all these factors into consideration can help ensure one gets an accurate assessment of their chosen piece.

What Is The Most Valuable 1874 Indian Head Penny In Existence?

Numismatists have long been captivated by the 1874 Indian Head penny, with its unique design and fascinating history.

As such, it comes as no surprise that some of these coins can fetch incredibly high prices when sold at auction.

The most valuable example known is the specimen currently held in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Numismatic Collection – a pristine uncirculated coin valued at over $10 million dollars!

Is It Possible To Tell The Difference Between A Circulated And Uncirculated 1874 Indian Head Penny?

Yes, it is possible to tell the difference between a circulated and uncirculated coin.

Numismatists are able to detect this by looking for signs of wear or damage on the coin’s surface.

An uncirculated coin will show almost no signs of wear or damage due to the lack of circulation in its life-span.

A circulated coin, however, will have more marks from contact with other coins as well as physical evidence of handling over time.

By examining these details closely, numismatists can determine which type of coin they’re dealing with.


The 1874 Indian Head Penny is a highly sought-after coin, with collectors eager to add it to their collection. It’s rare for one of these coins to be found in circulation today; however, when you do find one in the wild, take note of its special features.

A genuine specimen will sport an original design that hasn’t been altered or worn down by use over time. For numismatists looking for the most valuable of this type, it may come as no surprise that uncirculated specimens are worth more than any circulated versions.

With all of this knowledge at hand, you can now confidently make an informed decision on whether adding an 1874 Indian Head Penny to your collection is right for you.






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