The Indian Head Penny series had a run of 50 years in production from 1859 to 1909. 1895 is one of the most popular in the series and has a fascinating history. Whether you have one of these coins or are hoping to buy one, you’ll want to know what it’s worth!
Originally designed by James B. Longacre, it has become not only rare to find but a gem to behold. Here we’ll look at the value of these coins along with looking at their history and any errors you may find. Read on to find out more!
1895 Indian Head Penny Details
- Type: Indian Head Penny
- Quantity Produced: 38,341,474
- Designer: James B. Longacre
- Edge: Reeded
- Shape: Round
- Coin Diameter: 19 mm
- Coin Thickness: 1.55 mm
- Coin Weight: 3.11 grams
- Year of Minting: 1895
- Mint Mark: None
- Place of Minting: Philadelphia
- Face Value: $0.01
- $ price: $1.50 to $40,000
With just over 38 million coins being struck, Indian Head Penny’s in good condition can be hard to find. If you do find one, you’ll be intrigued by the unique design which is meant to reflect the history of America.
The obverse side of the coin depicts Lady Liberty wearing a feathered headdress, which is designed to represent the indigenous people of the United States.
The words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” appears at the top of the coin, with the date “1895” appearing at the bottom. The words “One Cent” are in the center of the reverse side of the coin, surrounded by a wreath of laurel leaves and arrows.
Throughout its run, the dimensions of the Indian Heady Penny stayed the same. It weighs 3.11 grams with a diameter of 19mm and a thickness of 1.55mm. The only big change in its history was its composition.
For the 1895 penny, it was 95% copper with the rest being a 5% tin/zinc alloy. Before then, 12% nickel was used, with the rest being copper. Copper gives the currency its distinctive reddish-brown color, while tin and zinc give it strength and longevity.
You will notice that there is no mint mark on any of these coins. That’s because at the time, no coins produced in Philadelphia were mint marked, and that’s where every single 1895 Indian Head Penny was produced.
1895 Indian Head Penny Value Chart
|1895 Indian Head Penny
|1895 Proof Indian Head Penny
1895 Indian Head Penny Value and Variety Guides
Due to its scarcity and beauty, the 1895 Indian Head Penny is a popular coin among collectors. The 1895 Indian Head Penny is quite rare and valuable because it was minted at a time when coins were produced in smaller quantities. Its value is determined by a number of factors, including its condition, color, and other distinguishing features.
The condition of an 1895 Indian Head Penny is one of the most important factors in determining its value. Coins in better condition will typically sell for more than those that are damaged or worn.
Collectors seek coins with minimal wear and tear, as well as sharp, well-defined details on both the obverse and reverse sides. Uncirculated coins are especially valuable because they have never been used in commerce and have been kept in pristine condition.
With it only being minted in one location, there aren’t any varieties in terms of their mint mark, but there are varieties in terms of their color due to slight changes in the materials used using the minting process.
- Brown – These are the most common and least sought-after coins. Even in a mint state, they will only be worth around $30 to $40, but those in the best possible condition may be able to get closer to $200.
- Red/Brown – These Indian Head Pennies are a little rarer but still not worth much more than their brown counterparts. One in mint condition should fetch around $50, but for near-perfect conditions, you may get $1,000 for it.
- Red – If you have a pristine red Indian Red Penny, then you’re in luck! Back in 2006, an MS67 grade of this coin sold for $40,250. That was rarely high, but plenty of other MS67 coins have sold in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.
- Proof – The other variety is the original proof coins, which were never meant for circulation. In the 61 to 65 grading range, these coins can fetch $200 to $400. However, a 67-graded proof can be worth over $4,000, with the highest-selling proof coin going for $10,350
1895 Indian Head Penny History
The history of the Indian cent series is a fascinating one. It was known as being the second small cent that was released, following the release of the Flying Eagle Motif earlier in 1856. The Indian cent series was first released in 1859.
The “Indian” figure that features commonly on the coin is meant to show an American Indian woman, but the image is actually that of a Caucasian woman. On the coin, she is seen wearing a headdress with feathers, but it ended up being a poor representation of American Indians.
Being minted until 1909 meant that the Indian Head Penny had a long production run of 50 years. At that time, not many changes were made to that time but there were a few exceptions.
For example, the 1859 cent was the only one not to feature a guard, which was added back and kept from the 1860 coin onwards. For that 1960 coin, the wreath was also modified.
The last significant change to the Indian Head Penny series came in 1964. Before then, the composition of the coins was 88% copper with nickel making up the rest of it. After 1964, that changed to 95% copper with the rest being made up of nickel or zinc.
Following the composition change, there are no further amendments to the coins, except for when mint marks were added to later coins which weren’t minted in Philadelphia. One of the most popular coins in the series is the 1877 version, mainly as just 852,500 coins were minted.
This is incredibly low, especially considering over 38 million 1895 cents were made. However, this wasn’t the lowest run of the series. That honor goes to the final year of the Indian Head Penny when just 309,000 ‘S’ marked coins were made.
1895 Indian Head Penny Grading
Coins work on a grading system of 1 to 70, with 70 being perfect with no imperfections at 5x magnification. It’s almost impossible to get a coin from 1895 in this condition, and realistically, 70 is the highest condition you’ll find.
Before the number, you’ll see either ‘MS’ or ‘PR.’ The ‘MS’ refers to ‘Mint State’ and is used for coins that are graded 60 or above. ‘PR’ is for proof coins. For the Indian Penny, any coin not in mint condition is likely to only be worth a couple of dollars.
The coin’s original mint shine needs to be unbroken with no wear to earn the “uncirculated” grade. In the “very fine” condition, all elements of the design are well-defined. This drops to a “fine” grade when all the details are defined but not quite as sharply. You’ll still be able to clearly make out all the features.
List of 1895 Indian Head Penny Errors
As with many coins, some faults and inconsistencies happened during the minting process, making some pieces even more desirable to collectors. Here are some of the notable errors and variations that can be found in the 1895 Indian Head Penny.
1. Double Die Obverse
The “Double Die” variety of the 1895 Indian Head Penny is one of the most well-known. This variant has a double impression of the design on the obverse side of the coin, creating a ghost-like image that collectors prize.
This is one of the most recognized and sought-after faults in the Indian Head Penny series. The Double Die Obverse variant displays a duplication of the design on the obverse side of the coin, creating a ghost-like picture that collectors greatly prize.
2. Die Clash
A Die Clash fault happens when the obverse and reverse die to collide during the minting process, resulting in an unintended design on the coin. This inaccuracy can result in intriguing and one-of-a-kind designs on the coin, which collectors highly value.
A doubled mint mark mistake occurs when the mint mark is impressed onto the coin twice, giving it a somewhat distorted or “blurry” look. This defect is not extremely uncommon, but depending on the degree of the error, it can increase the coin’s value.
3. Repunched Dat
The repunched date variety is another variation of the 1895 Indian Head Penny. This variety has a date that has been punched multiple times, giving it a slightly distorted or blurry appearance. While not as rare as the double-die variety, collectors prize the repunched date variety.
4. Off-Center Strike
An off-center strike error happens when the coin is not struck perfectly in the middle, resulting in an uncentered design on the coin. The severity of this inaccuracy varies, and the more off-center the strike, the more valuable the coin.
5. Filled Die
When debris or foreign matter becomes stuck in the die during the minting process, it results in a weakened or incomplete strike. This defect is not extremely uncommon, but depending on the degree of the error, it can increase the coin’s value.
A cud error occurs when a portion of the die breaks off, resulting in a raised region on the surface of the coin. This mistake can happen on any part of the coin and can be severe. The greater the prominence of the elevated region, the more precious the coin.
7. Planchet Flaw Mistake
A planchet flaw mistake arises when the blank metal disc used to create the coin has a flaw or imperfection. As a result, the design may be partial or deformed. The severity of this mistake varies, and the more visible the imperfection, the more valuable the coin.
8. Reverse Die Crack
A reverse die crack mistake occurs when the reverse dies cracks or breaks, resulting in a deformed design on the coin’s surface. The severity of this mistake varies, and the more obvious the crack, the more valuable the coin.
Overall, the 1895 Indian Head Penny is an intriguing coin with numerous flaws and variations. These flaws can add value and curiosity to your collection, whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting out. As usual, buy coins from a trustworthy dealer and do your homework to ensure that you are getting a fair price for your coin.
1. What makes the Indian head penny valuable?
Due to its rarity, historical relevance, condition, variants, and collector demand, the Indian Head Penny is a valuable coin. Its one-of-a-kind design and historical significance make it a highly sought-after coin among collectors, and its value is expected to rise in the future.
2. What are Indian head pennies made of?
Indian head pennies from 1859 to 1864 were made from 88% copper and 12% nickel. However, coins from 1864 to 1909 (including the 1895 Indian head penny) were made from 95% copper and a 5% mix of tin and zinc.
3. Which Indian Head Pennies are the rarest and most valuable?
The 1877 coin is seen as the most valuable. Only 852,500 of these coins were minted, making it the rarest Indian Head Penny. The value of any coin is highly dependent on its condition.
Even if you have one of the rarest Indian head pennies, if it is in poor condition, it may not be worth much. Additionally, the value of a coin can fluctuate over time due to changes in the market and collector demand.
4. What should I look for in an Indian Head Penny?
Aside from the condition of an Indian Head Penny being a determinant of its value, you should also look out for the date and mint mark, type, rarity, errors, and authenticity. By considering the factors above, you can ensure that you are getting a quality coin that is worth the price you pay for it.
5. How much is an 1895 Indian head penny worth?
The value of an 1895 Indian Head Penny in decent condition is about $2. For MS60 coins, they can be worth $50, with that raising to around $1,000 for MS65 coins. For those in MS67 condition, you can expect to get around $8,000, but one coin did sell for over $40,000.