As a numismatist, I’m always fascinated by coins from the 19th century. The 1890 Indian Head Penny is no exception. This coin has a long and interesting history and is highly sought after by collectors all over the world.
It’s an iconic piece of American currency that deserves more recognition than it has received in recent years. In this article, we’ll explore the unique features of this beloved penny and uncover its remarkable story.
History Of The 1890 Indian Head Penny
The 1890 Indian Head Penny is a numismatic favorite among both novice and experienced collectors. Struck in Philadelphia by the U.S. Mint, it has become one of America’s most collectible coins due to its limited mintage and intricate design features.
Its obverse shows Lady Liberty wearing an elaborate headdress with thirteen stars surrounding her bust while the reverse displays a wreath encircling the words “ONE CENT” inside a rim denticle border. This penny was designed by James B. Longacre and first issued in 1859 as part of an effort to modernize American coinage.
It replaced the Flying Eagle Cent, which had been introduced three years earlier but quickly discontinued due to difficulties striking high-quality coins from that design. The Indian Head Penny remained virtually unchanged for more than thirty years until being replaced by the Lincoln Wheat cent in 1909.
Today, many examples can still be found in circulation although they command higher prices depending on their grade or condition since surviving pieces tend to show wear over time due to heavy use. In any case, these vintage coins are highly sought after because of their rich history and aesthetic appeal – making them some of the most popular items amongst avid numismatists.
Design Of The 1890 Indian Head Penny
The 1890 Indian Head Penny is a classic example of America’s early coinage. The obverse side features the profile of Lady Liberty wearing a Native American headdress, while the reverse displays an olive branch and wheat stalks with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounding it.
Minted in Philadelphia, this copper penny was composed primarily of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. This composition created an unmistakable reddish-bronze hue that remains unchanged to this day.
This unique design was inspired by the work of James B Longacre, who served as Chief Engraver of the United States Mint from 1844 until his death in 1869. His initial sketches for the Indian Head Penny were approved by President Abraham Lincoln in 1860, but due to delays imposed by the Civil War they did not enter circulation until 1864. Afterward production continued uninterrupted until 1909 when it ceased entirely with just over one billion Indians minted during its 45 year run.
A collector’s favorite, examples of these coins can range anywhere from being worth only their face value all the way up to several hundred dollars depending on condition and rarity factors such as mintage numbers or errors made during production. As with any numismatic item, careful examination is essential to accurately assess value and authenticity before making a purchase.
Mint Marks Of The 1890 Indian Head Penny
The Indian Head Penny of 1890 was issued with the mint mark “o” from the Philadelphia Mint, and had no distinguishing features to tell it apart from pennies of other years.
The San Francisco Mint used a “s” as its mint mark on this year’s penny; while not particularly rare, coins that bear this letter are still considered more desirable than their Philadelphia counterparts due to greater scarcity.
Finally, the New Orleans Mint marked its pennies with an ‘O’ in 1890 – these coins were struck in smaller quantities than those made at either Philadelphia or San Francisco, making them considerably harder to find today and even more sought-after by collectors.
In terms of identifying mint marks on an Indian Head Penny from 1890, then, the primary clues come down to location: look for a “S” for San Francisco, an “O” for New Orleans and nothing for Philadelphia.
Values And Prices Of The 1890 Indian Head Penny
Coin collectors know that the 1890 Indian Head penny is highly sought after. In fact, it’s a real gem with its distinct mint marks and intricate design – no wonder it’s so popular! But what are this vintage penny’s values and prices?
To put it simply, the 1890 Indian Head penny can be worth as much or more than its weight in gold. A major factor influencing its value is its condition: higher grade coins will typically cost more. Additionally, if your particular coin has any rare markings such as a doubled die variety or minor varieties unique to certain years, then you may have found yourself quite the valuable treasure!
Here is a quick rundown of things to look for when assessing an 1890 Indian Head Penny’s potential worth:
- Mint mark location
- Rarity of variants
Overall, these factors determine how much someone might pay for an 1890 Indian Head Penny; however, pricing can vary significantly depending on market trends and other external factors. It pays to do some research before investing in high grade coins – knowledge really does equal power when it comes to collecting numismatic artifacts!
Collecting The 1890 Indian Head Penny
The 1890 Indian Head penny is a much sought after piece of currency from the late 19th century. It has many unique features that make it attractive to collectors, and for those who collect coins in general it can be an interesting addition to any collection.
To begin with, its obverse or “heads” side depicts a portrait of Lady Liberty wearing a feathered headdress. The reverse or “tails” side bears the words ‘One Cent’ along with a wreath and shield motif. Its distinctive design makes it easily recognizable amongst other US coins and adds to its desirability as a collector’s item.
|Obverse||Portrait of Lady Liberty wearing a feathered headdress|
|Reverse||Words ‘One Cent’, wreath & shield motif|
|Size||19mm diameter, 1.5mm thickness (approx)|
|Weight||3.11 grams (approx)|
The physical attributes of the 1890 Indian Head Penny also contribute to its value and appeal among numismatists — measuring approximately 19mm across, 1.5mm thick, weighing 3.11g and composed of copper-nickel alloy — giving this coin an impressive feel when held in hand. When considering acquiring one for your own personal collection, these factors should all be taken into account when making the decision on whether you wish to purchase it or not.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should The 1890 Indian Head Penny Be Cleaned?
The subject of cleaning vintage coins is a delicate one and should not be taken lightly. As numismatists, we must ensure that our handling of such cherished artifacts is done with the utmost care and respect for their historical value.
The frequency at which an 1890 Indian Head Penny ought to be cleaned depends on its condition; if it is heavily tarnished or encrusted, then more frequent cleanings may be necessary. However, if the coin looks relatively unscathed by time and wear, then periodic dusting off would suffice.
In any case, seeking professional advice from experienced collectors is highly recommended before proceeding with any kind of maintenance routine.
Is It Possible To Find Uncirculated 1890 Indian Head Pennies?
As a numismatist, it is possible to find uncirculated coins from any period. Uncirculated coins are those that have never been circulated and thus retain their original luster.
The 1890 Indian head penny is no different in this regard; one can still obtain an uncirculated example of the coin today. However, due to the age of these coins, they may be rarer than other examples of more recent production.
There are several resources available online for collectors who wish to purchase an uncirculated example of this iconic American coin.
Are There Any Special Tools Needed To Collect 1890 Indian Head Pennies?
Collecting coins as a numismatist requires more than just an eye for detail, it also requires the right tools.
While there are no special tools needed to collect most coins, 1890 Indian Head Pennies may require some extra equipment. As these pennies were minted before magnetic strips were commonly used in currency, collectors will need a tool such as a magnetized loupe or loop to check for authenticity and grade their finds.
Additionally, investors should purchase coin holders and albums to keep their coins safe from damage due to wear and tear over time.
Are There Any Rare Varieties Of The 1890 Indian Head Penny?
Coin collecting has been a popular hobby for centuries, and the 1890 Indian Head Penny is one of the more sought-after varieties.
With over 11 million minted in that year alone, it may come as a surprise to learn that there are some rare variations of this coin.
Of those 11 million coins, only around 400 examples have been found with minor die gouging on the obverse side – making them extremely valuable collector’s items.
Are There Any Other Coins Similar To The 1890 Indian Head Penny?
The Indian Head penny is a classic and iconic series of coins. It was minted from 1859 to 1909, featuring the profile of a Native American man wearing a traditional headdress on one side.
Beyond this particular coin, there are many other coins that feature similar designs or motifs. These include the Flying Eagle cent (1856-1858), Buffalo nickel (1913-1938), Jefferson nickel (1938-present) and Lincoln wheat cent (1909–1958).
All these coins share certain design elements with the 1890 Indian Head penny, making them popular choices for collectors looking for similar pieces.
The 1890 Indian Head Penny is a delightful numismatic piece for any seasoned collector. It is an exquisite reminder of the history and culture that this coin represents.
As with all coins, proper cleaning and maintenance are essential in preserving its beauty and value over time. Fortunately, there are only a few special tools necessary to collect these pieces, making it relatively easy to do so.
Furthermore, while uncirculated examples can be difficult to find, there are some rare varieties out there which can increase both the enjoyment and financial benefit one may receive from such an investment.
Last but not least, if you’re looking for something similar yet unique, consider other coins from this era like the Barber Dime or Liberty Nickel. With proper care and attention, I’m certain your collection will bring you immense pleasure for years to come!