Do you have a 1905 Indian head penny and are excited to know how much it is worth today?
Indian head pennies are popular among collectors, but those struck between 1901 and 1909 are particularly collectible. Obviously, the 1905 penny is one of these, so you can be assured that your coin is likely worth a neat sum.
Like the other coins in the series, the 1905 Indian head penny is quite attractive, especially in gem uncirculated condition. These mint state pennies can sometimes be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!
In this article, you will discover the 1905 Indian head penny value. You will learn about the coin’s historical significance, physical attributes, known errors, and of course, its real value.
Let’s get started!
1905 Indian Head Penny Value Chart
|1905 No-mint mark Indian Head Penny Value||$2||$4||$15||$375|
|1905 Proof Indian Head Penny Value||–||–||–||$1900|
History of The 1905 Indian Head Penny
The Indian head penny is also known as the Indian head cent. The United States Mint produced this one-cent coin from 1859 to 1909, with 80 million being produced at the mint in Philadelphia.
The history of the 1905 Indian head penny dates back to the 1850s, which witnessed massive fluctuations in copper bullion prices. The U.S. Mint made copper coins then, but the high metal prices forced a reconsideration.
The mint considered reducing the cent’s size or mixing copper with another metal to use less copper. This decision resulted in the Flying Eagle Cent, thicker and heavier but the same size as the previous copper Lincoln cent.
The new Flying Eagle cent comprised 88% copper and 12% nickel. But the coin was only struck for three years between 1856 and 1857 when the Mint asked the chief engraver James Longacre to design another coin that would be easier to strike on the copper-nickel alloy planchets.
Longacre came up with several designs, and eventually, Mint Director James Snowden opted for the one with the Indian head on the obverse and laurel wreaths on the reverse. It is said that Snowden chose this design because it was the simplest and would be easy to strike on the copper-nickel planchets.
The Mint approved the design in November 1858, and production of the new Indian head coin began in January 1859. This new coin proved very popular and the Mint produced up to 80 million by 1905. The Indian head pennies struck between 1900 and 1905 are highly collectible and can be worth a lot in mint, uncirculated condition.
Features Of The 1905 Indian Head Penny
In this section, we will look at the physical characteristics of the 1905 Indian head penny. Knowing what to look for can help determine whether your coin is worth more than face value.
The Obverse Of The 1905 Indian Head Penny
The obverse of the Indian head penny features a lovely, left-facing portrait of the Lady Liberty adorned in a Native Indian headdress. Legend has it that the portrait depicts the daughter of Chief Engraver James Longacre, but this has never been proven true.
A ribbon around the Lady’s head features the word LIBERTY. The words UNITED STATES appear around the left edge of the coin while OF AMERICA are inscribed around the right edge.
The date 1905 appears around the bottom of the coin below the Lady’s truncated neck.
The Reverse Of The 1905 Indian Head Penny
The reverse of the 1905 Indian head penny features a shield at the top edge of the coin.
An oak wreath appears around the coin’s edges on the left and right sides, connected with a ribbon at the bottom. You will notice three arrows at the bottom held inside the ribbon.
The coin’s denomination, ONE CENT, appears in the center.
Other Features Of The 1905 Indian Head Penny
The Indian Head penny consists of 95% copper and 5% Tin and Zinc.
The coin weighs 3.11 grams and measures 19mm in diameter. It has a reeded edge, with the reeds appearing around the edge of the obverse and reverse sides.
As it was struck in Philadelphia, this coin does not have a mintmark.
1905 Indian Head Penny Value Guides
If you are curious about the value of your 1905 Indian head penny, this section is for you. There are two varieties of the Indian head penny produced in 1905. These are:
- 1905 No-Mintmark Indian Head Penny
- 1905 Proof Indian Head Penny
A total of 80 million Indian head pennies were produced in 1905, so these coins are not rare. But people hoarded many of their Indian head pennies as soon as the Mint released them into circulation. As such, getting 1905 Indian head pennies in mint, uncirculated condition or ones looking as new as when they left the mint is pretty hard but these coins can be extremely valuable.
Let’s take a deep dive into each of the two Indian head pennies and find out what they are worth.
1905 No-Mintmark Indian Head Penny Value
The U.S. Mint facility struck and released into circulation 80,717,011 Indian head pennies. Since these coins were struck at the Philadelphia mint, they do not have a mintmark.
Most of the 80 million pennies were released into circulation that year, so these coins are common. After decades of use, you can expect 1905 Indian head pennies in circulation to be worn, chipped, and sometimes damaged.
Depending on its condition, the 1905 no-mintmark Indian head penny value ranges between $2 and $35 in circulated condition. As you can see, if you have an Indian head penny from 1905, it is probably worth more than face value, making it a great addition to your collection.
Because most of these coins were released into circulation and quite a number were subsequently hoarded, finding a 1905 Indian head cent in mint, uncirculated condition is quite rare. If you are lucky to come across one, it can fetch you up to $375 or more for grades higher than mint state (M.S.) $66.
The most expensive 1905 Indian head penny is a full red-gem graded MS67. It was auctioned in 2013 for $19,975.
1905 Indian Head Penny Proof Value
In addition to the regular pennies, the Mint struck 2,152 proof coins for collectors. Proofs are struck multiple times using the best quality dies, resulting in highly attractive coins with a shiny luster and brilliant strike.
1905 Indian head proofs in red gem state are the most valuable, but brown ones are equally valuable. As only a few of these coins were struck and are already in the hands of collectors, they are extremely rare.
Depending on the condition and color of the coin, a 1905 Indian head proof penny is worth between $150 and $1900.
The most expensive brown gem Indian head penny from 1905 is graded PR67 and sold at $3335 in 2005. The most valuable red gem 1905 Indian head cent is also graded PR67 and auctioned at $11,750 in 2014.
1905 Indian Head Penny Errors
Indian head pennies from 1905 are generally worth more than face value, even in circulated condition. Your coin could be worth hundreds or thousands if it is in gem uncirculated condition.
1905 Indian head penny errors are also potentially worth a lot if you know what to look for. Given that 80 million of these were struck, several readily available error coins exist. But, of course, not all errors are worth collecting.
Let’s look at the most common 1905 Indian head penny errors.
1905 Strike Through Indian Head Penny Error
Strike-through errors are some of the most common. When striking a coin, the die and planchet should be clean and free of debris resulting in a perfect strike when the die and planchet come together.
Sometimes, debris, dust, or other residues may be caught between the die and planchet, resulting in the design missing partially or fully.
The value of a strike-through Indian head penny error from 1905 will depend on how dramatic the error is. Errors in which the strike-through is retained, i.e., where the debris or residue is imprinted and stuck on the coin, are worth significantly more.
Generally, expect to earn $20 to $30 for your 1905 strike-through Indian head penny error.
1905 Off-Center Indian Head Penny Error
Off-center errors occur when the planchet and die are not squarely aligned. The misalignment results in the coin design being struck away from the center, so the final coin is missing part of the design.
The value of a 1905 Indian head penny with an off-center error will depend on how much of the design is missing and whether the date is present. Coins with at least 30% to 50% missing and with the full date showing are worth much more than coins without the date or with part of it missing.
Your Indian head penny with an off-center error can fetch you $460 or more depending on how dramatic the error is, and of course, the presence of the date adds to the coin’s value.
1905 Clipped Planchet Indian Head Penny Error
Clipped planchet errors happen when the strips of blank metal from which circular planchets are cut are fed incorrectly into the press cuts. This misalignment results in circular planchets that aren’t cut accurately.
The punch can override the coin’s edge during the striking process, making a clip or chip. The result is a coin with a small piece missing or seemingly broken.
Depending on the angle at which the cutting machine cuts the blank planchet, there are different types of clipped planchet errors. The value of the various clipped planchet errors does not differ drastically.
A 1905 Indian head penny with a clipped planchet error is generally worth between $89 and $100, depending on how peculiar the clip looks.
Here are answers to some common questions collectors have about the 1905 Indian head penny.
How rare is a 1905 penny?
The United States mint produced and released into circulation just over 80 million Indian head pennies in 1905. This large number makes the penny from 1905 abundant and still in circulation. However, there are some rare 1905 Indian head pennies, and these are the proofs and the regular coins in red gem uncirculated mint condition. These coins are rare because the mint produced only a few proofs, and collectors hoarded a large sum of these coins, now worth hundreds of dollars.
Which Indian head penny is worth the most?
Indian head pennies are generally worth more than face value. Those dated between 1901 and 1909, when the series ended, are quite collectible and highly sought after. The 1877 Indian head penny is an exception, though—this is the most valuable Indian head penny of all time. The coin’s low mintage of 852,500 and the fact that all these coins were made using a single die make the year 1877 interesting for collectors. Nevertheless, Indian head pennies, including the one from 1905, are worth having in your collection.
Where is the mintmark on the 1905 Indian head penny?
Indian head pennies from 1905 were minted at the Philadelphia facility. Like most coin series struck in Philly, this one neither has a mintmark on the reverse nor the obverse. Fortunately, the lack of a mintmark does not affect the value of the 1905 Indian head penny. Your coin is worth more than face value, even in circulated condition.