The US Bureau of the Mint produced beautiful cents from 1859 to 1909 based on James B. Longacre’s design. Since all coins were minted in Philadelphia in those times, the 1901 Indian head penny value depends primarily on its condition.
Most preserved pieces are in low grades after over a century spent in circulation, making rare specimens in the mint state precious. Most collectors like having these pennies in their collections because of their beauty and historical significance.
1901 Indian head penny value Chart
|Condition||No Mint mark 1901 penny|
|Mint state 60||$43|
|Mint state 63||$65|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1901 Indian Head Penny
The US Mint’s fourth Chief Engraver, James B. Longacre, created one of the most inspiring coin designs in US coinage history. The Indian Head penny minting started in 1859 in the Philadelphia mint, and it was the only mint where these cents were produced by 1909.
The San Francisco mint struck a certain number of cents with the mint mark S on the reverse only in the last year of minting. After that year, the famous Lincoln penny replaced this beautiful old coin.
Unlike cents you can see nowadays, the first pieces minted from 1793 to 1857 were larger than a half-dollar coin. In those times, it was highly profitable for the US Mint to produce cents and half-cents, but the situation changed in 1850.
In 1848, James W. Marshall found gold, and the famous California Gold Rush caused numerous problems for the US Mint by its end in 1855.
Approximately 300,000 people came to this state to look for gold, increasing the amount of this precious metal on the market. One of the results was the increasing price of copper, so it was necessary to find an alternative to ensure future income.
The result was modifying one-cent coins and their size reduction in 1857. Another step was to change their composition and start producing cents made of only 88% copper with added nickel.
The first small one-cent coins were Flying eagle cents struck from 1857 to 1858, but they were quickly replaced. After that, the first Indian Head pennies were made of this alloy by 1864 when coins started containing 95% copper again.
Interestingly, Longacre changed the coin reverse the second year by replacing a laurel wreath with an oak wreath. Another step was to add a shield at the top between the wreath tops.
1901 Indian head penny
|Philadelphia||1901 No Mint mark penny||79,609,158|
|Philadelphia||1901 penny proof||1,985|
Since the 1901 Indian head pennies were minted only eight years before the series ended, they are considered a late issue. Like the mintage of other late Indian Head pennies, this one was also pretty high for that period.
Experts believe that a reason was numerous services that cost one cent at the beginning of the 20th century. That made this small coin vital to the average American’s life.
Features of the 1901 Indian Head Penny
The US Mint produced beautiful Indian Head pennies from 1859 to 1909, when Lincoln pennies replaced them. However, all coins from this series are collectible, and many collectors enjoy looking for the best-preserved pieces.
The obverse of the 1901 Indian head penny
Despite the popular name Indian Head penny, this coin’s obverse shows an imaginary Caucasian Lady Liberty with an Indian headdress on her head. Ironically, engraver Longacre created this design at times when Native Americans had relocated to reservations after losing their lands.
The central figure with the LIBERTY struck along the headband is surrounded by the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with an added year of minting on the bottom rim.
The reverse of the 1901 Indian head penny
You can see the centrally positioned ONE CENT denomination on the 1901 Indian head penny reverse while an oak wreath is struck around it along the coin rim. The ribbon tied in a bow binds the two branches, and the arrows are at the composition’s bottom.
The central top part is reserved for a shield. This design differed from the original one changed in 1858 without a shield and featuring an oak wreath around the denomination.
1901 Indian head penny
|Face value||One cent ($0.01)|
|Coin diameter||1.75 inches (19 mm)|
|Compound||An alloy of copper (95%) with added zinc and tin|
|Coin thickness||0.03938 inches (1 mm)|
|Coin weight||0.1097 ounces (3.11 g)|
Other features of the 1901 Indian head penny
The 1901 Indian head penny’s face value is one cent. This copper coin with added zinc and tin has a plain edge and a diameter of 1.75 inches (19 mm). It comes with a weight of 0.1097 ounces (3.11 g), while its thickness is 0.03938 inches (1 mm).
1901 Indian Head Penny Value Guides
In 1901, only the Philadelphia mint produced Indian head pennies. Besides less than 2,000 proofs, all other coins of 79,611,143 minted immediately went into circulation.
Nowadays, most are worn out after years spent on the open market, so their price is low for such an old coin. Only the best-preserved and highly collectible pennies cost a fortune on the current market.
No Mint mark 1901 Indian head penny
The Philadelphia mint produced 79,609,158 Indian head pennies from regular strikes in 1901, and none has the mint mark. Since their condition is often poor after decades in circulation, you can expect to find one for $1 to $30.
Even coins in uncirculated condition are relatively inexpensive, and those with brown shade typically cost $30 to $155.
No Mint mark 1901 Indian head penny value
|Condition||1901 BN penny||1901 RB penny||1901 RD penny|
|Good||$1 to $1.50||/||/|
|Very good||$1.55 to $2||/||/|
|Fine||$2 to $2.50||/||/|
|Very fine||$3 to $4||/||/|
|Extra fine||$6 to $12||/||/|
|AU||$18 to $28||/||/|
|MS 60||$33 to $40||/||/|
|MS 61||$35 to $45||$50 to $63||$80 to $100|
|MS 62||$45 to $58||$63 to $78||$105 to $131|
|MS 63||$60 to $78||$81 to $100||$135 to $170|
|MS 64||$81 to $100||$140 to $175||$245 to $300|
|MS 65||$125 to $156||$225 to $280||$525 to $615|
|MS 66||/||$485 to $575||$1,100 to $1,450|
|MS 67||/||$1,600 to $2,000||$4,200 to $6,000|
More appreciated pennies with red-brown toning are more expensive, and you should set aside about $50 to $575 for one. However, the best-graded specimens can sometimes reach $1,600 to $2,000 at auctions.
As expected, the most pricey are sharply struck pieces with desirable luster and red toning. They typically cost $80 to $600, but collectors are willing to pay $1,000 to $6,000 for the highest-rated ones. Unexpectedly, one of these beautiful coins reached an astonishing $33,600 at Heritage Auctions in 2021.
1901 Indian head proof penny
Besides coins from the regular strike, the Philadelphia mint struck 1,985 Indian head penny proofs in 1901. Such a low mintage makes these one-cent coins pretty expensive, and you can expect even the least desirable brown specimens to be worth $110 to $2,000.
However, you can get a better price for pieces with red-brown toning since they cost $135 to $1,200, depending on the preservation level. Those in a PR 67 grade can sometimes reach $2,000 to $2,400 at auctions.
1901 Indian head penny proof value
|Condition||1901 BN penny||1901 RB penny||1901 RD penny|
|PR 60||$110 to $133||$135 to $163||$205 to $240|
|PR 61||$124 to $150||$175 to $205||$225 to $270|
|PR 62||$144 to $175||$200 to $240||$250 to $300|
|PR 63||$170 to $205||$235 to $275||$285 to $335|
|PR 64||$235 to $275||$335 to $400||$460 to $550|
|PR 65||$340 to $400||$455 to $540||$1,100 to $1,320|
|PR 66||$700 to $880||$1,025 to $1,230||/|
|PR 67||$1,650 to $1,980||$2,000 to $2,400||/|
It is practically impossible to find red-toned pennies minted this year in grades above MS 65. Therefore, the price range for existing coins is $200 to $1,320. One of the rare high-graded 1901 Indian head pennies with red shade won the auction record after one collector paid $17,250 for it in 2006.
It was not the most expensive 1901 Indian head penny ever offered at the market. The auction record winner was the coin with cameo contrast that was paid a fantastic $49,938 in 2020.
1901 Indian Head Penny Errors
The 1901 Indian head penny series is known for excellent quality and rare errors. Therefore, you can expect that existing coins with insignificant imperfections are not particularly valuable.
One of the most recognizable errors among Indian Head pennies is Longacre doubling. You can notice that such coins have doublings on the date and letters, creating so-called lips or shoulders on both design elements’ sides.
This imperfection is not a true doubled die but occurs because of the master die hubbing. Even though no one is sure what the exact cause of this error is, many collectors appreciate these coins, increasing their value.
Some 1901 Indian head pennies come with off-center errors, but these imperfections are rarely over 10%. However, it is almost impossible to find such a coin in the mint state, and existing pieces can be worth up to $500.
Penny with croking
These rare pennies from 1901 have a CRK-001 error type visible under Lady Liberty’s chin.
It is a result of an internal die failure, and you can recognize feather chips and jeweled foreheads like those appearing among pennies minted in other years. Some collectors consider this die crack exotic and collectible, so you can quickly find a buyer for one.
FAQ about the 1901 Indian Head Penny
What makes a 1901 Indian head penny rare?
Despite their age, most Indian Head pennies are common and affordable on the current coin market. However, you can consider coins in the highest grade with attractive red toning scarce. Besides, some errors can be rare and collectible.
Which 1901 Indian head penny is expensive?
- The 1901 PR 67+ CAM Indian head penny reached the auction record of $49,938 at Legend Rare Coin Auctions in 2020
- The 1901 MS 67+ RD Indian head penny reached the auction record of $33,600 at Heritage Auctions in 2021
- The 1901 PR 68 RD Indian head penny reached the auction record of $17,250 at Heritage Auctions in 2006
- The 1901 PR 67* RB Indian head penny reached the auction record of $9,988 at Heritage Auctions in 2012
- The 1901 PR 66 BN Indian head penny reached the auction record of $3,220 at Heritage Auctions in 2006
- The 1901 MS 67 RB Indian head penny reached the auction record of $2,185 at Heritage Auctions in 2004
- The 1901 AU 58+ BN Indian head penny reached the auction record of $1,404 at Great Collections in 2013
- The 1901 AU 50 RPD FS-301 S-19 BN Indian head penny reached the auction record of $150 on eBay 2016
How much is the No Mint mark 1901 Indian head penny worth?
The 1901 Indian head pennies typically cost $1 to $30, but those with desirable toning can reach $30 to $6,000, depending on the condition. However, you can always expect some surprises. For instance, one of the most beautiful coins was sold for $33,600 at an auction in 2021.
What is the most costly Indian head penny?
Since one collector paid $161,000 for the 1864 PR 65 L On Ribbon Indian head penny, its price is the highest in the series. However, the most expensive pennies from the regular strikes are:
- 1877 MS 66 penny sold for $149,500
- 1902 MS 68 RD penny sold for $144,000
- 1872 MS 66 penny sold for $126,500
- 1899 MS 68 RD penny sold for $108,000
- 1897 PR 67+ DCAM penny sold for $108,000
- 1909 S MS 67 penny sold for $97,750
- 1877 PR 67 penny sold for $97,750