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1900 Indian Head Penny Value: How Much Is It Worth Today?

1900 Indian Head Penny Value: How Much Is It Worth Today?

Indian Head pennies are unique one-cent coins minted from 1859 to 1909 when the US Mint started Lincoln wheat penny production. Most of these beautiful pieces are heavily worn out because of the long time spent in circulation.

On the other hand, the 1900 Indian Head penny value can be high for pieces in the mint state. These coins are collectible nowadays, while well-preserved specimens are rare and can be worth a fortune.

1900 Indian Head penny value Chart

Condition No Mint mark 1900 penny
Good $2.30
Very good $3.30
Fine $5.15
Very fine $6.65
Extra fine $12
AU $24
MS 60 $43
MS 63 $65
PR 63 $160

*by USA Coin Book

 

History of the 1900 Indian Head Penny

The US Mint started minting Indian Head pennies in 1859, and the production lasted until 1909, when the Wheat penny appeared. The reason for this replacement was Lincoln’s birth anniversary, which was an excellent reason to break tradition.

Unlike previous American coinage, the new Lincoln penny was the first coin with one historical person on the obverse. Even the Indian Head penny didn’t show an authentic Native American but an imaginary portrait of Lady Liberty wearing a headdress.

Mint chief engraver James Barton Longacre created this lovely coin design. The idea was to depict an Indian, but he showed Lady Liberty instead. However, that didn’t affect the chosen name, and the coin is still known as the Indian head.

Longacre believed that the headdress was typical for the primitive races in America, making it more appropriate for the coin design than the Phrygian cap.

His attitude was that this emblem was a well-defined symbol of national inheritance and a memorial of American Liberty. No one asked the Native Americans about their opinion on the subject.

The first Indian Head pennies minted from 1859 to 1864 were made of 88% copper with added nickel. However, the Philadelphia mint switched to a 95% copper-tin alloy in 1864, making the only composition change in the 50-year production.

At the same time, the mint reduced the coin weight from 0.16473 (4.67 g) to 0.10969 ounces (3.11 g).

1900 Indian Head penny

Location Year Minted
Philadelphia No Mint mark 1900 penny 66,831,502
Philadelphia 1900 penny proof 2,262
Total / 66,833,764

Most experts and collectors consider the Indian Head penny the most popular small-cent series in American coinage, right next to the Lincoln penny. Plus, they are in a group of the earliest American coinage, making them historically significant.

Despite their age, these coins are widely available on the market, particularly those in the lowest grades. Only pieces of high quality can be expensive and appealing to serious collectors, including a few key specimens and rarities.

 

Features of the 1900 Indian Head Penny

Despite the name, the 1900 Indian Head penny depicts a girl wearing an Indian headdress. There is one more intriguing thing about this coin. As you know, the US coinage recognizes dollars and cents, but this coin type is widely known as a penny.

Penny is actually the British coin, while American one cent is an official currency in the United States of America. It is the piece with the lowest value in the US since 1857, when the half-cent was abolished.

One cent equals one-hundredth of a dollar and has no connection with the British penny. However, the name is still actual without any particular reason besides a habit.

Americans like collecting these lovely copper coins produced from 1859 to 1909 when Lincoln pennies replaced them in honor of assassinated President’s birth centenary.

The 1900 Indian Head penny obverse

The 1900 Indian Head penny obverse

Image: coinvalues

Despite the name, you can see Lady Liberty on this coin obverse. Ironically, the coin got the name Indian penny honoring the people who lost their land at that moment and ended up in the reservations.

Engraver Longacre probably chose this design because of the low relief of the laurel wreath. Such an option made minting effortless and coins long-lived.

There is a rumor that the model for the obverse was Longacre’s 12 years old daughter, but he stated that the model was a statue of Crouching Venus. In any case, the obverse contains the central bust with the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA along the reeded rim and the DATE below.

You can also notice the LIBERTY inscription along the ribbon in Liberty’s hair. A small letter L, representing Longacre’s initials, is struck between the lowest feather and the hair curl.

The 1900 Indian Head penny reverse

The 1900 Indian Head penny reverse

The elegant 1900 Indian Head penny reverse design includes centrally positioned ONE CENT, representing the denomination. It is tied with a ribbon at the coin bottom, fastening three arrows to symbolize war.

You can notice a rich oak wreath placed around the composition and a shield with seven horizontal and six vertical stripes, representing the first thirteen states.

1900 Indian Head penny

Face value One cent ($0.01)
Shape Round
Compound An alloy of copper with 5% of zinc or tin
Coin thickness 1 mm (0.03937 inches)
Coin diameter 19.05 mm (1.75000 inches)
Coin weight 3.11 g (0.10970 ounces)
Edge Plain

Other features of the 1900 Indian Head penny

The 1900 Indian Head penny is a copper coin thick 0.03937 inches (1 mm). It weighs 0.10970 ounces (3.11 g) and has a diameter of 1.75000 inches (19.05 mm). Like in other old coins of low value, this piece comes with a plain edge, but you can notice small dots (denticles) on its surface along the rim.

Their presence was the first attempt to prevent fraud before the new style with the reeds along the coin edge occurred.

The idea was to create the coin in a way that made any attempt to cut its edge impossible. That way of cheating was a common practice in the past, especially with specimens made of gold and silver.

 

1900 Indian Head Penny Value Guides

In 1900, only the Philadelphia mint organized the Indian Head penny production. The mintage included two coin types, proofs and those from the regular strike.

After years with low mintage, the US Mint struck 66,833,764 pennies at the turn of two centuries. That was one of the highest produced numbers of these coins in the series.

1900 Indian Head penny (with No Mint mark)

The Philadelphia mint had a high mintage of 66,831,502 Indian Head pennies in 1900. They are typically inexpensive, despite their age, because most are in poor condition. You can expect to purchase one of these coins in the lowest grades for $1 to $30.

Even those in the mint state are affordable for most collectors. In most cases, you should pay $40 to $155 for the best existing specimens. Only coins with the desirable red toning are ultimately valuable, and collectors buy them for $1,300 to $6,250.

1900 Indian Head penny value

Condition 1900 BN penny 1900 RB penny 1900 RD penny
Good $1 to $1.45 / /
Very good $1.55 to $1.85 / /
Fine $1.75 to $2.55 / /
Very fine $2 to $5 / /
Extra fine $5 to $12 / /
AU $18 to $27.55 / /
MS 60 $33 to $40 / /
MS 61 $35 to $45 $50 to $63 $80 to $100
MS 62 $45 to $58 $63 to $77 $105 to $132
MS 63 $60 to $78 $80 to $100 $135 to $190
MS 64 $80 to $100 $140 to $175 $267 to $325
MS 65 $125 to $155 $225 to $282 $565 to $660
MS 66 / $430 to $525 $1,300 to $1,700
MS 67 / / $4,200 to $6,255

*by Greysheet

Even though the estimated price is high, the most pricey Indian Head penny struck in 1900 was even more expensive. One red specimen in an MS 67+ grade reached $28,200 in 2021 at one of the Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

1900 Indian Head penny proof

1900 Indian Head penny proof

Image: pcgs

The Philadelphia minted 2,262 proofs in 1900, and you can find them in three colors nowadays. These toning variations directly affect each piece’s value, so you should set aside a high sum for one:

  • $110 to $1,980 for brown-toned 1900 Indian Head penny proofs
  • $135 to $2,400 for red-brown toned 1900 Indian Head penny proofs
  • $200 to $4,800 red-toned 1900 Indian Head penny proofs 

1900 Indian Head penny proof value

Condition 1900 BN penny 1900 RB penny 1900 RD penny
PR 60 $110 to $133 $135 to $160 $200 to $240
PR 61 $125 to $150 $170 to $205 $225 to $275
PR 62 $145 to $175 $200 to $240 $255 to $300
PR 63 $170 to $205 $230 to $275 $285 to $335
PR 64 $230 to $275 $335 to $400 $465 to $552
PR 65 $335 to $400 $450 to $540 $925 to $1,110
PR 66 $700 to $880 $1,025 to $1,230 $1,400 to $1,680
PR 67 $1,650 to $1,980 $2,000 to $2,400 $4,000 to $4,800

*by Greysheet

As you can see, the red pieces are the most expensive, and collectors prefer seeing them in their collections. The most valuable coin with this rare color is the 1900 PR 68 RD penny, which sold for $7,800.

However, it is not the most expensive Indian Head penny proof bought at an auction. The auction record of $28,800 holds the 1900 PR 67 Indian Head penny with cameo contrast that was bought at Stack’s Bowers in 2019.

 

1900 Indian Head Penny Errors

Believe it or not, it is almost impossible to find the 1900 Indian Head penny with an error. However, some collectors referred to the existence of pieces with slight imperfections, like the misplaced date and double-die reverse.

 

FAQ about the 1900 Indian Head Penny

What makes an Indian Head penny produced in 1900 rare?

Since most of these pennies are heavily damaged or worn out after 120 years from minting, these in excellent condition are rare. The particularly scarce category is sharply struck coins with stylish red toning, and they are always valuable and highly appreciated among collectors.

Which 1900 Indian Head pennies are worth a lot of money?

  • 1900 PR 67 CAM Indian Head penny sold at Stack’s Bowers in 2019 for $28,800
  • 1900 MS 67+ RD Indian Head penny sold at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2021 for $28,200
  • 1900 MS 67 RPD RD Indian Head penny sold on eBay in 2019 for $10,000
  • 1900 PR 68 RD Indian Head penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2017 for $7,800
  • 1900 PR 66+ RB Indian Head penny sold at Stack’s Bowers in 2021 for $3,840
  • 1900 MS 66 BN Indian Head penny sold on eBay in 2021 for $2,180
  • 1900 PR 66+ BN Indian Head penny sold on eBay in 2018 for $1,800
  • 1900 MS 67 RB Indian Head penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2006 for $1,610
  • 1900 MS 65 RPD RB Indian Head penny sold on eBay in 2021 for $550
  • 1900 MS 64 RPD RB Indian Head penny sold on eBay in 2020 for $475
  • 1900 VF 35 RPD BN Indian Head penny sold at Great Collections in 2013 for $361
  • 1900 MS 63 RPD BN Indian Head penny sold at Heritage Auctions in 2012 for $127

How much is the 1900 Indian Head penny (No Mint mark) worth?

Most 1900 Indian Head pennies are worn-out and inexpensive, and you can buy one for $1 to $30. However, you need to set aside about $40 to $155 on average for those in the mint state.

If you are one of the dedicated collectors who prefer the best-rating coins, you can find one of the red-toned specimens for $1,300 to $6,250.

What are the most collectible Indian Head pennies?

Numerous Indian Head pennies in excellent condition are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars. However, some of them are highly expensive, like:

  • The $161,000 worth 1864 proof L on ribbon Indian Head penny
  • The $149,500 worth 1877 Indian Head penny
  • The $144,000 worth 1902 Indian Head penny
  • The $126,500 worth 1872 Indian Head penny
  • The $108,000 worth 1899 Indian Head penny
  • The $108,000 worth 1897 proof Indian Head penny
  • The $97,750 worth 1909 S Indian Head penny

David kirchner

Monday 2nd of January 2023

I have a 1903 1904 1907 Indian head