US Indian Head Cent (Penny)  1864
US Indian Head Cent (Penny) 1864

Hello Ray --

Your 1864 Indian Head Cent (IHC) is kinda special. To answer your question about 'What's It Worth?' we must first determine which of the three different 1864 IHCs you have. Sure enough, there were three different cents minted that year, and each carries a different value today.

(Note: for coins not dated 1864, please refer to this CoinQuest link [PRESS HERE].)

1864 is the date the US mint stopped producing IHCs made out of copper-nickel and started producing IHCs made out of bronze. They stuck with bronze cents all the way to 1982, when production changed to copper-plated zinc. But that's another story.

In the picture you can see the design is the same, but the color is different. The copper-nickel IHCs are thicker and heavier than the bronze coins.

Also in 1864 a few IHCs were produced with a tiny letter L on one of the Indian's hair ribbons. The L is turned sideways and it is very small. You will probably need a magnifier to see it. If your coin is worn, it might be gone. Mr. Longacre designed the coin and his initial appears on some specimens.

As to value, the copper-nickel and no-L bronze specimens are both worth around $10 in worn condition, with the former being worth a bit more and the latter a bit less.
The L bronze coin, however, catalogs around $50 even when well worn.

Remember that catalog value is an inflated value, so please check our Terminology page for an explanation.

In better states of preservation the 1864L coin pulls even further ahead of the others. Here is what the catalogs says for the three coins in average circulated condition:

1864 Copper Nickel $50
1864 L Bronze $180
1864 No L Bronze $40

With your description of 'little or no wear' you have a valuable coin in all cases. The specifics of the numismatic grading systems are beyond the scope of CoinQuest to explain, but most coins with 'little or no wear' fall into our broad category of 'well preserved, with values looking like this:

1864 Copper Nickel $75
1864 L Bronze $240
1864 No L Bronze $60

If you have an IHC in almost uncirculated condition, figure a catalog value between the one above and the one below, depending on the eye appeal of the coin.

If you go all the way to fully uncirculated condition, what numismatists call MS63, you get:

1864 Copper Nickel $350
1864 L Bronze $600
1864 No L Bronze $150


If you want a more accurate appraisal and can send us a scan or photo, please use the Contact Us link to start an e-mail exchange with CoinQuest.

Coin: 1401 , Genre: United States
Requested by: ray, Sat, 26-Sep-2009 13:16:12 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Fri, 11-Oct-2013 01:21:11 GMT
Last review by CoinQuest: Sat, 02-May-2015 20:23:49 GMT
Requester description: 1864 front has an indian head back has a sheild with the words one cent with arrows under it
Tags: indian head cent penny peny cents pennys pennies sheild shield one arrows arrow arms coats shiled crests chevrons shild escucheon insignia arm coat crested crest chevron creast shields escutcheon ones arrowheads headdress hat ihc united america helmeted hood caps headband hooded helmet bonnet cap helmit helmets amero americas american ameria ameri amirica amerique americana amer americans usa feather ribbon leaves leaf wreath greenery leafs boughs liafy bush leave leaved bough leafe leafed leafy leavs foliage wreathed rief reif reef wreathe wreat garland wreth wreah wreaths


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