The US Mint introduced the Indian Head penny made of 88% copper in 1859, but the composition was changed to 95% copper in 1864. Chief engraver and portraitist James Barton Longacre designed this coin minted in the Philadelphia mint from 1859 to 1909.
This penny was the second small American cent after the Flying Eagle penny, striking only three years because of design flaws. The idea was to honor Native Americans, but the designer actually depicted Lady Liberty with an Indian headdress on her head. The 1898 Indian Head penny value can be significant because pieces in the uncirculated condition are often rare.
1898 Indian Head penny value Chart
|Condition||1939 No Mint mark penny|
*by USA Coin Book
History of the 1898 Indian Head Cent
The first American pennies were Large cents minted in 1793. Americans used only silver and gold coins in those times, and didn’t trust copper coinage value. Therefore, it was impossible to use these coins for government payments, including paying taxes.
To make things even worse, copper prices raised too much by 1857. Therefore, the US Mint decided to solve the problem of expensive coin mintage by canceling half-cent production and reducing the penny diameter and weight.
In 1856, Americans got the Flying Eagle pennies, the new small one-cent coins, but that design was complicated to mint. Therefore, new Indian Head pennies appeared in circulation in 1859, sending previous cents in history after only three years of minting.
1898 Indian Head penny
|Philadelphia||1898 No Mint mark penny||49,821,284|
|Philadelphia||1898 proof penny||1,795|
Designer James B. Longacre created the entire coin look. Despite the idea to design a penny with a Native American on the obverse, he actually depicted Lady Liberty. Only one mint produced these pennies, except in 1909.
Initially, the Indian Head penny contained 88% copper, but it was changed in 1864 when new pieces were made of 95% this metal. The new penny lasted until 1909. That year, the US Mint started striking Lincoln penny, honoring his 100th birthday.
Nowadays, Indian Head pennies are highly collectible coins, and collectors typically create a series by date. Unfortunately, a few rare key dates and errors are pricey and often unavailable on the open market, so only admirers with huge budgets can afford them.
Features of the 1898 Indian Head Cent
Old American coins, including the 1898 Indian Head penny, were a bit different than modern pieces you can see in circulation nowadays. They came without the inscriptions required now and had an elegant simplicity that is rare among modern coins.
The obverse of the 1898 Indian Head penny
The idea was to show the Indian on the obverse, but the designer depicted Lady Liberty wearing a necklace instead. She was placed in the center, surrounded by words UNITED STATES on the left and OF AMERICA struck on the right coin side.
A headdress with a ribbon adorns her head, and you can read the word LIBERTY along it. At the bottom is the DATE, 1898, placed along a serrated border. The designer’s initial L was added between the curl and the lowest feather.
The reverse of the 1898 Indian Head penny
The stylish but simple reverse design shows ONE CENT written in capital letters placed in the center, which represents the denomination. You can see a wreath made of two oak branches framing it. They are tied with a ribbon that also wraps three arrows.
Unlike the first variation, this coin includes a shield on the top, between oak leaves. It contains 13 strips representing the first States. Six are positioned vertically, while seven are horizontally.
1898 Indian Head penny
|Face value||$0.01 (one cent)|
|Coin thickness||0.0394 inches (1 millimeter)|
|Coin diameter||1.750 inches (19.05 millimeters)|
|Coin weight||0.10968 ounces (3.11 grams)|
|Compound||A 95% copper alloy with zinc or tin|
Other features of the 1898 Indian Head penny
The copper 1898 Indian Head penny is a one-cent American coin with a plain rim, a thickness of 0.0394 inches (1 millimeter), and a diameter of 1.750 inches (19.05 millimeters). It weighs 0.10968 ounces (3.11 grams).
1898 Indian Head Cent Value Guides
The Philadelphia mint had a high mintage of Indian cents for those times, precisely 49,823,079 coins. Besides 1,795 proofs, all others are from regular strikes.
1898 No Mint mark Indian Head penny Value
All Indian cents produced in Philadelphia in 1898 were without the mark penny. Even though 49,821,284 pieces were minted that year, only rare ones survived in their original state.
1898 Indian Head penny value
|Condition||1898 BN penny||1898 RB penny||1898 RD penny|
|Good||$1 to $1.44||/||/|
|Very good||$1.50 to $1.86||/||/|
|Fine||$1.70 to $2.40||/||/|
|Very fine||$2.50 to $3.90||/||/|
|Extra fine||$5.50 to $11.50||/||/|
|AU||$17 to $27.50||/||/|
|MS 60||$32 to $40||/||/|
|MS 61||$41 to $50||/||$80 to $100|
|MS 62||$51 to $62.50||/||$105 to $131.25|
|MS 63||$67 to $82.50||$88 to $110||$130 to $162.50|
|MS 64||$85 to $105||$154 to $192.50||$240 to $300|
|MS 65||$137.50 to $171.87||$247.50 to $309.37||$550 to $750|
|MS 66||$275 to $343.75||$450 to $562.50||$1,350 to $1,680|
|MS 67||/||/||$5,750 to $7,000|
Nowadays, you can recognize three quality types with different appearances determining each specimen’s price. For instance, brown coins in lower grades are worth only $1 to $30, while those in the mint state cost up to $350.
Red-brown pennies are more expensive, and those in uncirculated condition are worth about $90 to $550. As expected, the red-toned pieces are the most pricey, and rare specimens in an MS 67 grade can reach $5,750 to $7,000 at auctions.
The red 1898 MS 67 Indian penny is the most expensive in the set. One collector bought it for a fantastic $26,450 at an auction in October 2011. The brown coin in an AU 58 grade reached $1,495 at Heritage Auctions in 2007, becoming the most pricey with this toning type.
1898 proof Indian Head penny Value
Unlike a high mintage of regular coins, the Philadelphia mint produced a limited number of 1,795 proof pennies in 1898. They were intended for collectors and can be expensive nowadays.
1898 poof Indian Head penny value
|Condition||1898 BN penny||1898 RB penny||1898 RD penny|
|PR 60||$115 to $132||$135 to $162||$200 to $240|
|PR 61||$120 to $150||$170 to $204||$225 to $270|
|PR 62||$140 to $174||$200 to $250||$250 to $300|
|PR 63||$175 to $204||$230 to $276||$280 to $335|
|PR 64||$235 to $276||$335 to $402||$460 to $550|
|PR 65||$340 to $402||$450 to $540||$1,000 to $1,200|
|PR 66||$700 to $900||$1,000 to $1,250||/|
|PR 67||$1,700 to $2,000||$2,000 to $2,500||/|
The most affordable are brown pieces, and you can buy one for $110 to $880. On the other hand, the best-preserved ones with a PR 67 rating can be worth $1,700 to $2,000. Red-brown specimens are more valuable, and you should set aside $135 to $2,500 for one, depending on the grade.
As you can guess, the most costly are red coins that come in a price range of $200 to $550. The most quality red pennies are those in a PR 65 grade, and you can buy one for $1,000 to $1,200.
A few proof coins struck this year can be really expensive. For instance, one collector paid $36,000 for the cameo 1898 PR 67 Indian penny at Stack’s Bowers in August 2019.
On the other hand, the beautiful red piece reached a lower price but was still costly. This penny in a PR 67 grade went to $15,600 at the same auction but a year before.
1898 Indian Head Cent Errors
You can find numerous Indian Head pennies with errors, but they are insignificant among coins minted in 1898. You can find some minor imperfections, and most are visible only under the magnifying glass.
These pennies have the date with a few numerals struck twice or more times into a working die. When the die moves between two punches, the result is this error type. You can buy such a coin for about $120.
This error occurs when cents have an unintentional bump caused by the imperfection on the die surface. Most of these specimens are worth approximately $10.
Double die reverse
Officially, there was only one Indian cent produced between 1893 and 1899, containing a doubling on the reverse. It was the 1898 Indian penny, and its owner could consider himself lucky.
This error is common for pennies struck in 1898. You can see the date placed in the wrong place on the coin obverse. Interestingly, such a date can occur anywhere, making collecting exciting.
Their prices vary from $100 to $200, depending on the digits’ position. For example, one red piece with this error type was paid $1,998 in January 2015.
FAQ about the 1898 Indian Head Cent
What makes an 1898 Indian Head penny rare?
Since coins struck this year have no significant errors, the rarest specimens are those in the highest grades with red toning. As expected, they can be pretty costly, with a price range of $5,750 to $7,000.
Which 1898 Indian Head penny is worth a lot of money?
- 1898 PR 67 CAM Indian Head cent came to $36,000 in August 2019 at Stack’s Bowers
- 1898 MS 67 RD Indian Head cent came to $26,450 in October 2011 at Heritage Auctions
- 1898 PR 67 RD Indian Head cent came to $15,600 in June 2018 at Stack’s Bowers
- 1898 PR 66 RB+ DCAM Indian Head cent came to $8,400 in December 2021 at Heritage Auctions
- 1898 PR 65 BN Indian Head cent came to $4,600 in April 006 at Heritage Auctions
- 1898 PR 67 RB Indian Head cent came to $4,025 in August 2007 at Heritage Auctions
- 1898 MS 66 RD MPD Indian Head cent came to $1,998 in January 2015 at Heritage Auctions
- 1898 AU 58 BN Indian Head cent came to $1,495 in November 2007 at Heritage Auctions
- 1898 MS 66 RB Indian Head cent came to $900 in March 2021 at David Lawrence RC
- 1898 AU 53 BN MPD Indian Head cent came to $798 in June 2013 at Great Collections
- 1898 MS 65 RB MPD Indian Head cent came to $525 in October 2021 on eBay
- 1898 MS 64 RB MPD Indian Head cent came to $250 in August 2018 on eBay
- 1898 XF 45 BN MPD Indian Head cent came to $198 in November 2014 at Great Collections
- 1898 MS 62 RD MPD Indian Head cent came to $129 in July 2013 at Great Collections
How much is the 1898 No Mint mark Indian penny worth?
The 1898 Indian penny value depends on each coin’s condition and toning you can notice on its surface. Brown cents in circulated condition typically cost $1 to $30, while beautiful pieces without visible signs of wear can reach $350.
The most expensive are red-toned pennies, and collectors are prepared to pay $5,750 to $7,000 for perfectly preserved ones.
What are the most pricey Indian pennies?
No Shield, Type 1
- 1859 Indian penny – $34,500
- 1859 proof Indian penny – $29,900.00
Copper-nickel Type 2
- 1861 Indian penny – $63,250
- 1861 proof CAM Indian penny – $55,812.50
- 1860 Indian penny – $52,800
- 1862 Indian penny – $50,400
Bronze Type 3
- 1864 proof L on ribbon Indian penny – $161,000
- 1877 Indian penny – $149,500
- 1902 RD Indian penny – $144,000
- 1872 Indian penny – $126,500
- 1899 RD Indian penny – $108,000
- 1897 proof DCAM Indian penny DCAM – $108,000
- 1877 proof Indian penny – $97,750
- 1886 proof Indian penny Variety 2 – $57,500