Indian Head Cent 1870-1879
- Weight: 4.67 grams (1859-1864); 3.11 grams (1864-1909)
- Diameter: 19 mm
- Edge: Plain
- Composition: 88% copper, 12% nickel (1859-1864); 95% copper, 5% tin and zinc (1864-1909)
- Designer: James B. Longacre
- Mint Mark Location: Reverse, below bow (1908-1909); (No mint marks used 1859-1907)
In 1859 the cent was redesigned. The so-called Indian Head is actually a head of Liberty with feather headdress; the reverse of the cent was a laurel wreath. In 1860, the reverse was changed to an oak wreath with a shield at the top (as pictured).
The "Indian Head" design was first put on the cent in November 1858 (pattern), and with Treasury Department approval was adopted for regular issue the following January 1st without any action of Congress.
The 1909-S Indian Head cent is the rarest of the series with a mintage of only 309,000. The 1877 cent (mintage 852,500) is considered the "key" of the series and commands the highest price. Authentication of both dates is recommended.