Indian Head Cent 1859 G-VG

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  • Product ID: 3307
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  • Description:

    The Flying Eagle copper-nickel cent always caused problems for the US Mint. The eagle head and tail were directly opposite the wreath on the reverse causing problems with the dies. After much hand-wringing and unsatisfactory die alterations, the Mint decided to change the coin altogether. Although the coin would still laid on a copper-nickel planchet, the reverse’s wreath no longer affected the obverse’s die. Thus out of pesky design flaws and minting issues, in 1859, the Mint introduced one of its most popular and enduring coins: the Indian Head Cent!

    Despite its name, the Indian Head cent does not don a Native American on its obverse. Rather it is “Liberty” wearing a traditional Native American headdress with the word “Liberty” written across it. The reverse design of the coin is a laurel wreath enveloping “One Cent”. This was also a record setting year for the US Mint because, in addition to creating a new penny, this coin had the largest mintage of any US coin up to that point! Due to his high mintage, these coins can be easily collected in low grades, however, due to the Civil War Coinage crisis and the wholesale melting of copper-nickel coins in the 1870’s, higher grades can be tougher to find.

    As with many first year issues, there are some popular varieties in the 1859 Indian Head cent issue. The Snow-1 variety is a full bodied repunched date which typically shows very boldly and clearly. These mint error coins can bring over $10,000 in auctions. There are other less obvious (and less sensational) repunched date varieties that bring less of a premium. One other variety of note: the Judd 228. This variety has the reverse of the following year 1860 which is a different wreath (an oak wreath) and a federal shield at 12:00.

  • Details:
    • Denomination: Cent
    • Year: 1859
    • Diameter: 19 mm
    • Mint Mark: N/A
    • Thickness: 1.5 mm
    • Grade: Ungraded

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