1880 Indian Head Penny

1880 Indian Head Penny

The 1880 Indian Head Penny is an iconic coin for numismatists. It was designed by James Barton Longacre and minted from 1859-1909.

This classic penny features a portrait of Lady Liberty wearing an Native American headdress on the obverse, with the reverse featuring the words “One Cent” surrounded by a wreath of wheat, cotton, and corn ears.

Its unique design and historical significance make it one of the most sought after coins in U.S. numismatic history.

The 1880 Indian Head Penny has been popular among collectors since its introduction in 1859. While many people collect these coins as part of their general collection, others specialize in collecting 19th century pennies or even just 1880s alone.

Regardless of how they are collected, this series offers opportunities to all levels of coin enthusiasts and can be found in grades ranging from poor to uncirculated condition depending on the rarity and age of each piece.

History Of The 1880 Indian Head Penny

The 1880 Indian Head Penny is a classic relic of American history. It was minted from 1859 to 1909 and is an iconic part of the long-running series featuring Lady Liberty wearing a feather headdress. During this period, it became immensely popular amongst coin collectors for its intricate design details, which include its obverse side depicting Lady Liberty’s profile with stars in the background, as well as its reverse side with wheat ears encircled by oak leaves and cotton blossoms.

With such beautiful detailings and craftsmanship, it is no surprise that these coins are highly sought after even today. Although most versions of the 1880 Indian Head Penny were made using copper-nickel alloy, there have been some variations produced over the years. In 1919 and 1920, two special editions were created: one with 95% copper content and another one with 95% zinc content. These editions were popularly known as “red pennies” or “white pennies” respectively due to their distinct colors relative to other varieties.

As far as rarity goes, certain dates on the 1880 Indian Head Penny can be quite hard to find—such as those from 1865 and 1872—because they had low mintage numbers compared to other years. This makes them especially desirable for avid numismatists who seek out rare finds like this one. Collectors should take extra care when looking for authentic pieces since counterfeit copies have also become increasingly common in recent times!

Design Of The 1880 Indian Head Penny

The 1880 Indian Head Penny is a unique specimen of numismatic art. Its design features the profile of an Indigenous American man wearing a feathered bonnet, set against a background of thirteen stars representing the original colonies and flanked by oak branches on either side.

The obverse features Lady Liberty in her iconic coronet adorned with cotton and wheat to represent the nation’s agricultural industry. The reverse reads “One Cent” within a wreath of shields symbolizing unity between the states.

The coin was designed by James B Longacre, who based his work off sketches provided by Chief Engraver Franklin Peale at the United States Mint. They employed a process called ‘medallic engraving’ wherein they used tools to cut directly into dies made from hardened steel. These dies were then used to strike coins in mass production.

This method allowed for uniformity amongst all reproductions, ensuring that each penny had identical imagery throughout its lifetime. Though this particular type of penny has been out of circulation since 1909, it remains one of America’s most beloved pieces of currency due to its intricate details and timeless symbolism.

Even today, collectors take great pride in adding these classic coins to their collections and will pay top dollar for specimens in good condition or those produced earlier in the series’ run.

Grading The 1880 Indian Head Penny

I’m a numismatist and I’m here to discuss the grading of the 1880 Indian Head Penny.

Mint marks, condition and rarity are key factors to consider in the grading process.

Examining the mint mark is important to determine the origin of the penny and it’s potential value.

Condition is also a major factor, as an uncirculated penny is worth much more than a heavily circulated one.

Rarity also plays a part in grading, as a rare penny is more valuable than a more common one.

All of these factors come together to determine the grading of an 1880 Indian Head Penny.

Mint Marks

Grading the 1880 Indian Head Penny involves more than simply looking at it. One of the most important factors to consider is the mint mark, which helps collectors identify where and when a coin was made.

As such, understanding what mint marks are can be essential for properly grading an 1880 Indian Head penny. Mint marks have been used since ancient times to indicate the origin of coins. The U.S began using them in 1838 with the introduction of the Philadelphia Mint letter ‘P’ on all its coins.

To this day, other letters like ‘D’ (for Denver), ‘O’ (for New Orleans), and ‘S’ (for San Francisco) still remain as mint marks on certain types of coins. An 1880 Indian Head penny would typically only feature either a P or no mark at all if it were made in Philadelphia; however, there could also be D, O, or S depending on the year and type of coin.

Therefore, examining a coin’s mint mark is key when it comes to determining its grade; without this information available, accurate grading becomes nearly impossible. This is why knowing how to recognize different kinds of mint marks should always be part of any collector’s skill set!


Once the mint mark of an 1880 Indian Head penny has been identified, it’s important to assess its condition.

Condition is a major factor when it comes to grading coins since signs of wear and tear can significantly reduce their value.

After all, a well-preserved coin will naturally fetch more money than one that’s heavily damaged.

To determine a coin’s condition, numismatists look for various clues like scratches, dents, corrosion or discoloration on the surface.

It also helps to compare the piece with other specimens from similar mintage years so you can see how yours measures up in terms of overall quality.

Additionally, specialists may take into account factors such as luster and strike too – minor imperfections in these areas could potentially lower the grade even further.

In short, assessing a coin’s condition is essential if you want to accurately grade it; proper inspection takes time and knowledge but is ultimately worth the effort!


Aside from condition, rarity is another factor to consider when grading the 1880 Indian Head penny. Generally speaking, coins that are harder to come by tend to command higher prices than those with larger mintage numbers.

For instance, an uncirculated coin of this type would be rare and therefore worth more than one that’s been circulated heavily. The same holds true for ones with a certain mint mark; depending on their scarcity in comparison to others, these may be valued even further.

A numismatist should always research the current market before assigning a grade so they can have an accurate understanding of what value it carries. All things considered, rarity plays an important role in determining how much money a collector will pay for such a coin.

Collecting The 1880 Indian Head Penny

The 1880 Indian Head Penny has been graded for its condition and rarity, but what about collecting these coins? Numismatists have long appreciated the beauty of these coins, which can represent a rich history.

As with any collectible item, there are many different factors that come into play when choosing to add an 1880 Indian Head Penny to one’s collection. First and foremost is price. Depending on the grade, an 1880 Indian Head Penny may cost anywhere from a few dollars up to several hundred or even thousands of dollars if it is especially rare or in pristine condition. It’s important to remember that value fluctuates over time depending on market forces like supply and demand.

The second factor to consider when adding this coin to your collection is personal preferences. Do you prefer uncirculated specimens with their original luster intact? Or are you looking for something more unique such as a circulated piece with some wear? Consider too how it might fit into existing collections, whether by theme or design elements like mint mark or year of issue.

For those who take joy in collecting memorabilia from our nation’s past, the 1880 Indian Head Penny offers numismatists a chance to own tangible pieces of history. Its scarcity adds another layer of intrigue and makes each specimen highly prized among collectors everywhere. With careful consideration given to all aspects involved in acquiring this beautiful example of American currency, anyone can start building their own collection today!

Valuing The 1880 Indian Head Penny

The 1880 Indian Head penny is an immensely valuable coin for numismatists and collectors alike. Its historic significance, its aesthetic appeal, and the rarity of surviving specimens have kept it highly sought after since being minted by the United States Mint in Philadelphia over a century ago.

It was designed by Chief Engraver James B. Longacre to replace the short-lived Flying Eagle cent of 1856–1858. The obverse features Lady Liberty wearing a Native American headdress with thirteen stars encircling her portrait along with the date set at the bottom. On the reverse side of this one-cent piece stands a laurel wreath surmounted by two crossed arrows that symbolize strength and unity among both sides of America’s population – native and immigrant.

Numismatic value for any given specimen depends on certain factors such as condition, remaining details, luster, tone, eye appeal, and strike quality:

  • Condition:
  • Uncirculated coins are worth more than circulated ones because they do not show signs of wear from handling or circulation through commerce.
  • Coins which grade higher due to their lack of contact marks or small blemishes will bring top dollar prices when compared to those that have suffered damage throughout time.
  • Remaining Details:
  • Professionally graded pieces should demonstrate full details within every aspect of design regardless of age or condition; however, even low-grade specimens can still be considered collectible if enough detail remains visible on each side.
  • Coins exhibiting strong strike qualities typically look better under magnification than those displaying weakly struck elements like letters or devices on either face.

For these reasons, numismatists tend to pay premium prices for uncirculated examples without evidence of manipulation while also considering originality and overall appearance when appraising particular specimens according to market value trends within specific series types.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does It Cost To Buy An 1880 Indian Head Penny?

Numismatists and collectors alike are often drawn to the beauty of the 1880 Indian Head Penny. Its intricate design, worth in history, and condition all play a role in its cost.

The value of this rare penny can range from $10 for those with worn surfaces up to hundreds or even thousands for coins that are well-preserved. Depending on its condition and rarity, these coins may be priced higher than other years due to their scarcity.

Collectors should be aware that some counterfeit versions exist; it is best to authenticate your coin before attempting to purchase one.

Where Can I Find An 1880 Indian Head Penny?

Numismatists in search of rare coins may be interested in the 1880 Indian Head penny. This classic coin from the United States is highly sought after by collectors, and with a bit of research you can find one for your personal collection.

Various online marketplace websites are available that offer these coins for sale, often graded and certified by reputable third-party organizations like PCGS or NGC. You can also check CoinWeek’s website for information about upcoming auctions featuring this type of coin.

With some diligence, you should be able to find an 1880 Indian Head penny to add to your numismatic pursuits!

What Is The Best Way To Store An 1880 Indian Head Penny?

Storing a precious numismatic relic such as an 1880 Indian Head Penny is no small task.

As any experienced numismatist will tell you, it requires utmost care and attention to ensure its longevity.

To that end, the best way to store your penny with confidence is by keeping it in an airtight container, preferably made of acid-free material like plastic or cardboard.

Additionally, avoid exposing the coin to moisture or direct sunlight which can cause discoloration over time.

With proper storage practices in place, this valuable token of history can remain safe for many years to come.

Is It Legal To Own An 1880 Indian Head Penny?

Owning a coin from the 19th century is legal in most countries, provided it was acquired through legitimate means.

The 1880 Indian Head Penny is no exception to this rule and can be owned by any numismatist or collector who has obtained it ethically.

However, owners should exercise caution when displaying their coins as they are highly sought after due to their rarity and value.

Are There Any Counterfeits Of The 1880 Indian Head Penny?

Counterfeits of any type of coin can be found, and the 1880 Indian Head penny is no exception. Numismatists must be aware that counterfeits exist in order to avoid being fooled by imitation coins.

The most common types of counterfeit pennies are made of copper-plated zinc or even base metal alloys, but there are also more sophisticated fakes made from high-grade gold or silver plating over a copper core. Many counterfeiters will use details from genuine coins to make their copies appear authentic.

To ensure authenticity, numismatists should always purchase certified coins from reliable dealers.


The 1880 Indian Head Penny is a highly sought after piece of American numismatic history.

As an avid collector, I’m always on the lookout for one of these rare coins.

It would be a great addition to my collection and bring me immense joy as it’s steeped in so much historical value.

It can be difficult to find an authentic example due to counterfeits circulating around, but when you do come across one that ticks all the boxes, it’ll feel like you’ve struck gold!

With proper storage and care, this coin will remain in its present condition for generations to come – making it a perfect heirloom or investment opportunity.






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