The Indian Head Penny is one of the most sought after US coins ever produced. Being that 1859 was the first year during which the Indian Head was circulated, it is especially important for collectors who are striving to assemble a complete collection of Indian Pennies.
Being that these particular coins are more than 150 years old, many of the ones you will find on the open market today show visible signs of wear and tear. After all, these coins were used as currency for quite some time. With that being said, however, there are plenty of 1859 Indian Heads that have never been circulated; these coins are not only extremely rare, but extremely valuable as well.
Making the 1859 even more attractive to collectors is the fact that the coin’s reverse design was changed after just one year. That means that the 1859 edition looks wholly different than any of the following years’ releases.
The process of grading a coin, though complex, really comes down to an expert judging how well the coin in question has stood up to the test of time. With any coin, the less wear and damage that is present, the more valuable the coin will be. By carefully looking at the coin’s faces and picking out imperfections, you can accurately determine what grade your coin is.
Use the specifications below to determine how your Indian Head coin might be graded.
Uncirculated: An uncirculated 1859 Indian Head is one that shows absolutely no signs of wear. Despite being more than 100 years old, the penny will look as though it emerged from the mint’s press only days ago. The exact coloration and toning of the coin may reveal its age, but no physical wear has damaged the coin’s imagery and texture. By utilizing a magnifying glass and examining cheekbones and feathers, you can determine whether all the detail is present, or if some has faded away with time.
Extremely Fine: Just one step down from an Uncirculated grade, an Extremely Fine 1859 Indian Head has only minor wear and tear on its face. The details of the Indian’s face and feathers may be worn down a bit and small regions of the coin may be smooth from the changing of hands over the years. Still, this coin is attractive and in mostly pristine condition.
Fine: A fine coin still has all of its imagery present and able to be easily discerned, but there are very visible signs of wear. The images and wording on each side of the coin are worn down a bit and the coin itself takes on more of a dull appearance.
Good: Heavy wear has made the coin’s images a bit difficult to make out. Without careful examination, it would be difficult to even determine what coin it is. Though these coins are not in such great shape, they are still incredibly popular simply due to the fact that they are so rare and increasingly difficult to get your hands on.
As stated above, the 1859 edition of the Indian Head penny is extremely difficult to find. Because of this, the price of this coin regularly exceeds $100. If and when a coin that is in superb condition is up for sale, the price of said coin can easily reach and exceed $200. Auctions throughout 2014 saw the coin’s price range anywhere from $20 to more than $200.
1859 Indian Head Penny
|1859||$15||$25||$110||$200+||Source: Red Book|