Did you know there was an Indian head penny? It’s true – before Lincoln was ever on the copper cent, there was an entirely different design called the Indian head penny. The design is extremely popular among numismatists and a valuable coin to collect.
In this blog post, we will be looking at the 1889 Indian head penny. We will explore the history and features of this beautiful and historic coin, as well as discuss its value based on various factors such as condition or grade, variety, errors, etc. We’ll also look at a few frequently asked questions that coin collectors ask about the Indian head penny.
So if you’re looking for information about this unique and beautiful coin – read on for more information. Let’s get started!
1889 Indian Head Penny Details
- Category: Indian head penny
- Mints: Philadelphia
- Total mintage: 48,866,025
- Obverse designer: James B. Longacre
- Reverse designer: James B. Longacre
- Edge: Plain
- Diameter: 19 millimeters (0.750 inches)
- Thickness: 1 millimeter (0.03938 inches)
- Composition: 95% copper, 5% tin and zinc
- Weight: 3.11 grams
The Indian head penny is a beautiful coin that was minted from 1859 until 1909. It was designed by James B. Longacre, who worked for the US Mint.
The 1889 Indian Head Penny has a diameter of 19 millimeters, which is 0.750 in inches, and with a thickness of 1 millimeter, which is 0.03938 in inches. Its weight is 3.11 grams, which is slightly heavier than some other coins of a similar size.
This is due to its composition of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc, which is a bronze composite. The collection of metal makes it more durable and gives it an impressive heft – making it harder to counterfeit or damage and makes it slightly heavier than other coins of the same size.
It is also worth noting that this composition was identical to the British half-penny of that era.
It features a profile of Lady Liberty wearing a feathered headdress on the obverse side, while the reverse side features a large wheat-eared “wreath of corn” encircling the denomination “One Cent.” The 1889 Indian head penny was minted in Philadelphia and has a total mintage of 48,866,025 coins.
The 1889 Indian head penny is special for many reasons, so if you have a chance to get your hands on it, then jump on the chance!
1889 Indian Head Penny Value
|1889 No Mint Mark Indian Head Penny
1889 Indian Head Penny Values and Variety
Now that you know the details about the 1889 Indian head penny, let’s look at the value of this coin.
1889 “No Mint Mark” Indian Head Penny
- Type: Indian head penny
- Edge: Plain
- Mint mark: None
- Place of minting: Philadelphia
- Year of minting: 1889
- Face value: $0.01
- $ price: $3.38 to $292
- Quantity produced: 48,866,025
- Designer: James B. Longacre
The 1889 Indian head penny without a mint mark is the most common of all Indian head pennies. It was only minted at the Philadelphia Mint and nowhere else, and it is worth multiple price points depending on what grade it is given by the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS).
In “Good” condition, a 1889 Indian Head penny may be worth around $3.38. If it is given the grade of “Fine,” it may be worth around $5.84. If it is graded as “Extremely Fine,” its value would be around $21.
And if it is uncirculated, then its value jumps. It can be worth around $68 or up to about $94, if the grade is extremely pristine. However, one in mint condition did sell at an auction in recent years for a whopping $13,000, so you just never know what will happen!
There was also a special proof coin made, which is much rarer than its standard “No Mint Mark” counterpart. A Proof coin is a mirror-like coin for collectors, generally worth several hundred dollars, with some rare examples selling for thousands. These coins often sell for much higher prices with the “Uncirculated” examples being worth about $292 – however, one did sell in recent years for $9,000 at auction!
History of the 1889 Indian Head Penny
No doubt about it, the Indian Head Penny is an iconic coin in United States history. It was designed by James B. Longacre, who began his career working for the US Mint as a chief engraver in the early 1840s.
He is also responsible for designing the two-cent and three-cent coins, as well as some medals and tokens.
Before the Indian head penny was created, copper cent coins were larger, like a quarter or half dollar piece. But when the Indian head penny was first minted in 1859, a year after Longacre’s death. It was minted until 1909, making it the longest-running copper cent coin in US history.
The Indian head penny was a symbol of progress and patriotism: as we mentioned before, it featured Lady Liberty on the obverse (front) side and a wheat-eared “wreath of corn” encircling the words “One Cent” on the reverse (back) side.
The 1889 Indian head penny is one of the rarest coins due to its limited mintage, making it a great coin for collectors.
1889 Indian Head Penny Grading
When it comes to Indian head pennies, the condition or grade of a coin is important in determining its value. Coins that are well-preserved will be worth more than coins that have been heavily circulated and show signs of wear.
Grading scales range from “Good” to “Fine” to “Extremely Fine” to “Uncirculated”. A “Good” penny would have a lot of wear and tear, while a “Fine” penny would have sharper features but still some pretty good wear.
An “Extremely Fine” penny on the other hand would have only light wear with all details visible. “Uncirculated” coins (coins never seen in business circulation) can command the highest of prices due to their excellent condition.
Grading an 1889 Indian head penny takes great skill and knowledge of the coin’s characteristics. If you are not sure what grade your coin is, it may be a good idea to take it to an expert or use online resources that can help you determine its grade.
1889 Indian Head Penny Error Coins
Like any coin on the United States market, there is the potential of running across errors on these Indian head pennies from 1889.
Error coins are those that have a defect or mistake during the production process at the mint. These coins are very collectible and can be worth much more than non-error coins of the same type. For example, some coins can be sold for several hundreds of dollars depending on their condition and rarity.
Here are a few that have surfaced recently:
1889 “No Mint Mark” Indian Head Penny – Double Die Reverse
The 1889 “No Mint Mark” Indian Head Penny has a double die reverse, which shows two images of the reverse side of the coin instead of one. This is due to mistakes made during the minting process, and these coins can be highly sought after by collectors.
This type of penny is very rare and can sell for high prices. One that was almost in “Uncirculated” condition sold for $190 at an auction.
1889 “No Mint Mark” Indian Head Penny – 1C Misaligned Die Clash
Another example is an 1889 Indian Head penny that has a misaligned die clash, which means the dies used to strike the coin were not lined up correctly. This type of error can be sold for several hundred dollars or more depending on its condition and rarity. For example, one sold for over $400 a few years back!
1889 “No Mint Mark” Indian Head Penny – Repunched Date
Next, there is a repunched date version of the 1889 Indian Head penny. This type of error occurs when the date has been struck more than once on the coin. You can see microscopic errors like these if you use a coin microscope and can recognize the tiny date marks left over and slightly misaligned from the latter punched date.
This kind of penny may be harder to find and can sell for quite a bit if it’s a higher grade.
1889 Indian Head Penny Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know more about the 1889 Indian Head Penny, here are some frequently asked questions to help guide your collection:
What is the Value of an 1889 Indian Head Penny?
The value of an 1889 Indian head penny depends on its condition or grade, as well as rarity. Coins that are in good condition can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars (or even thousands!) depending on their grade and rarity. And of course, error coins can be worth even more than non-error coins.
Are 1889 Indian Head Pennies Good Investments?
Yes, 1889 Indian head pennies can be good investments depending on their condition and grade. These coins are popular with collectors and can be worth quite a bit, so if you find one in good condition it may be worth looking into investing in it. However, you will always want to check with an expert on grading coins if you come across one, in case it is not great quality, or an authentication service, in case it is counterfeit.
Where Can I Buy and Sell 1889 Indian Head Pennies?
You can purchase or sell 1889 Indian head pennies from online coin dealers and marketplaces (like eBay or Etsy), as well as at live auction houses and coin shows. You should take the time to research and compare prices from different dealers and auctions to get the best deal. You can also check with local coin shops in your area to see if they carry these coins, but your luck in running across one locally is a lot slimmer than online.
Where Can I Get My 1889 Indian Head Penny Appraised?
If you come across a 1889 Indian head penny that you want to have appraised, you will want to contact an expert in the field. You can find coin experts through local coin clubs, auction houses, and online forums who specialize in appraising Indian head pennies. They can help you authenticate your coin and give you an estimated value for it.
You may also want to consider submitting your 1889 Indian head penny to a professional grading service. This will require you to pay a fee, but it can give you an accurate grade and condition certification that will help you determine its value.
Should I Clean My 1889 Indian Head Penny?
Many people wonder if you should clean your old coins before getting them appraised or selling them. After all, they are quite dirty sometimes, being over 100 years old!
But the answer is no, you should never clean your 1889 Indian head penny as it can decrease its value drastically. Many coins that have been cleaned look fine at first glance but are worth much less than those that are not cleaned. If there is heavy dirt or other residue on the coin, you can search online to find specific instructions on if you should clean it with a soft cloth, dish soap, and water to gently remove it – or if you are better off leaving it the way it is.
But never use any abrasive materials on your 1889 Indian head penny! And always double check with a coin expert before doing anything to your coin.
In conclusion, the 1889 Indian head penny is an iconic coin in the United States. Whether you’re just starting out as a coin collector or looking for a special piece to add to your collection, the 1889 Indian head penny is definitely worth considering, especially if you find one in pristine condition.
This rare and beautiful coin has a rich history and its value depends on various factors, and as with any coin, it is important to do your research and know what you’re looking for before investing in a 1889 Indian head penny. If you are lucky enough to find one, you should definitely get it authenticated and graded by professionals to determine its value.
And of course, remember to never clean your 1889 Indian head penny if you want to preserve its value and have it sell for top dollar. Good luck!
Ever seen an Indian head penny in person? Let us know about your experience with it in the comments below.