US Indian Head Cent (Copper Nickel)  1859 to 1864
US Indian Head Cent (Copper Nickel) 1859 to 1864

Old Indian Head Cents (IHCs for avid collectors) are great fun. They are old enough to be challenging, plentiful enough to be possible, and the design is strong, appealing, and artistic.

IHCs minted between 1859 and 1864 were produced in copper nickel. In 1864 they transitioned to pure bronze composition. For our appraisal of the 1864 transition year, see this CoinQuest link, and for the post-64 bronze coins click to this link.

Here are approximate catalog values for the 1859 to 1864 copper nickel specimens:

worn: $10
average circulated: $25
well preserved: $50
fully uncirculated: $120

The 1861 coin is more rare than the other dates, so its value is about twice those quoted above. Don't forget that these are catalog values that must be converted to actual values. Learn about this conversion at our Terminology page.

The first year of issue, 1859, is special in that the reverse side of the coin has a laurel wreath instead of an oak wreath. Look at the difference between the two pictures. Values for an 1859 coin are about 1.5 times the values shown above.

Coin: 4743 , Genre: United States
Requested by: Jake, Mon, 05-Jul-2010 20:25:38 GMT
Answered by: Paul, Sat, 31-Aug-2013 17:20:16 GMT
Last review by CoinQuest: Sun, 30-Aug-2015 01:23:07 GMT
Requester description: 1861 Indian head penny
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Tue, 24-Apr-2018 04:49:15 GMT, unknown: 6765198