Collecting Indian Head Cents is great fun. They are a favorite among US coin collectors, almost as popular as Lincoln cents. A common variety IHC catalogs for about $1 US dollar in worn condition. Gary's 1890 specimen is a common variety and is probably worth a lot less than $1 due to its scratches and spots, and its tainted eye appeal. Be sure you understand what 'catalog' means. Use the Terminology page.
Here are rules about an IHC's catalog value. Use our Terminology page to learn how to convert these catalog values to actual values.
(1) DATED AFTER 1877 - If your IHC is dated after 1877 the catalog value is about $3 in worn to average circulated condition, a little more in better circulated condition. Post-1877 coins that are fully uncirculated fetch about $25 on the retail market, with a catalog value in the $30 to $50 range. Be sure your coin is absolutely, fully uncirculated to expect a value over $25. Most coins are circulated. A coin dealer will generally pay about one-half of retail price to buy coins from you. For coins dated 1908 and 1909, see below.
(2) DATED 1864 - IHCs dated 1864 come in three varieties, click to this CoinQuest link for an explanation and values.
(3) DATED 1859 TO 1864 - For early date IHCs between 1859 and 1864, please check our description of these particular coins minted in copper nickel at this CoinQuest link.
(4) DATED 1865 TO 1879 - If your coin is dated after 1864 and before 1879 the catalog value rises to $10 to $20 in worn condition, about $30 to $40 in average circulated condition, and into the $100s of dollars for fully uncirculated specimens. 1869, 1870, 1871, and 1872 coins are particularly valuable, about twice as valuable as the figures quoted in the previous sentence, while the 1865 coin is only worth about half the figures quoted. If you have coins in this date range, it is worthwhile to have them accurately graded by a coin dealer or knowledgeable collector. A few points of wear to no wear can change the value from $20 to $100 per coin.
(5) DATED 1877 - If you have a coveted 1877 IHC, it is very valuable, cataloging for $1000 in worn condition and several $1000 in pristine condition
(6) DATED 1908 AND 1909 WITH S MINT MARK - If you have a coin dated 1909 and it has an S mint mark on the reverse, it is valuable, cataloging for $500 in worn condition. The 1908S is good too, cataloging at $100 in worn condition. Without the S mint mark, 1908 and 1909 specimens are worth about the same as those dated after 1877 (see above).