1859-1969 Indian Head

After almost a dozen varieties of patterns were made in 1958, in 1959 the Indian Head was adopted as the new motif for the cent. The 1859 Revers was an olive wreath. Later in 1860 it was changed to an oak leaf wreath with a shield at the apex. These were struck on a new 49 grain bronze alloy. These cents remained in circulation till the 1940's but rarely seen by the 1950's. In the 30's many became scarce with the advent of coin albums and collectibles. Most key dates were picked out and became scarce.

Striking can vary widely. On the obverse check the details at the tips of the feathers and the diamonds on the ribbon. These details can be correctly dated only if you have familiarity with how sharp the coins were struck. In general the reverse is usually harder, check the leaf and shield details. Generally copper nickel cents of the early 1860's are usually lightly struck as are the latter issues in the bronze format from the 1890's onward.

In worn grades these coins are available in proportion to their mintages. Mint state coins survive as a matter of chance 1878 being scarcer than those 1879 or later, and some of the 1900's being readily available. Coins should be a warm red-orange with traces of natural brown. Beware of dipped or re-colored coins.

Marty Feldman