37 Most Valuable Indian Head Pennies

Not all Indian head pennies are valuable, but some sure are!

What can you buy for a penny these days? Absolutely nothing. Since most sellers now take cards, almost all coins, let alone old pennies, end up in forgotten jars or at the bottoms of purses. If you"re thinking about doing away with pennies altogether, though, triple-check that you don"t have a rare one because those can go for up to 38,000 times their original value.

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With quite a taboo name, Indian Head pennies, aka Indian Head cents, are some of the most expensive pennies to date. That"s because these rare coins were only produced by the U.S. Bureau of the Mint from 1859 to 1909. James Barton Longacre, former chief engraver at the Philadelphia Mint, likely had no idea how valuable his design would be, but it certainly stands out from the Lincoln cent that followed.

So which Indian Head pennies are worth money? These are the most valuable Indian Head pennies, from least to most expensive.

37. 1895 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $172

Bottom line: A worn, 1895 Indian Head Penny won"t buy you more than a gallon of gas by today"s standards, but proof coins are worth saving. Each one is worth upwards of $172.

The reason it"s not worth more? It"s not quite as rare as some of the other coins on this list. Over 38 million were minted, so there"s a better chance of finding one of these not-too-rare pennies.

* All of the coin values listed came from USA Coin Book, unless otherwise noted.

36. 1885 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $222

Bottom line: Penny for your thoughts? This rare Indian Head penny has no mint mark or defining features. It doesn"t look like anything special, but it is.

Proof coins can be worth over $165, and those in uncirculated mint condition can be worth more than $220. Nice!

34. 1886 Indian Head Cent (Type 1) (Tie)

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Penny value: $278

Bottom line: There are two types of 1886 Indian Head pennies, and the type one variety is less valuable, but it still makes our list due to its uniqueness. It can be identified by looking at the last "A" in "AMERICA." If it lines up with the Indian head"s lock of hair, you"ve found a type one penny.

It"s worth about as much as an order at Starbucks in average condition, but in uncirculated mint condition, it"s worth around $278.

34. 1874 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $278

Bottom line: Sure, this rare penny is only worth $27 in average condition, but proof coins and uncirculated mint condition coins are worth at least $278.

33. 1875 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $286

Bottom line: This valuable penny is worth less than $40 in average condition, but if you find this Philadelphia-minted coin in uncirculated mint condition, it might be worth over $286.

A coin expert can better assess its value.

32. 1873 Indian Head Cent (Open 3)

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Penny value: $362

Bottom line: Some pennies were made with multiple variations, and the rare 1873 Indian Head penny was one of them. The number three in the date had two varieties; open and closed.

The "Open 3" penny is wider, while the "Closed 3" version is narrower. This version is less than its "Closed 3" counterpart but is still worth up to $362 in uncirculated mint condition.

30. 1878 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $408

Bottom line: Nearly 6 million of these rare Indian Head pennies were minted, so if your grandparents collected coins, it"s totally possible one of these is hidden at the bottom of a jar.

In average condition, it"s worth about $50, but uncirculated mint condition coins are worth over $400.

30. 1876 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $408

Bottom line: Exactly7,944,000 rare 1876 Indian Head pennies were made in Philadelphia, and if you happen to have one, it"s your lucky day.

If it"s in average condition, you can sell it for an extra $44 in your pocket. If it"s in uncirculated mint condition, you might be $408 richer.

29. 1868 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $416

Bottom line:There"s nothing particularly outstanding about this Indian Head penny, aside from the fact that it"s worth way more than a cent.

An average one of these babies is worth $54, but in uncirculated mint condition, it can be worth over $400.

25. 1908 S Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $443

Bottom line: The next four coins on this list are tied in the 25th spot. If you find it in uncirculated mint condition, it might be worth over $400.

25. 1872 Indian Head Cent (Bold N) (Tie)

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Penny value: $443

Bottom line: When it comes to rare and valuable pennies, subtle differences make a big difference in value. There are two variations of this coin, and the one with the "Bold N" in the words "one cent" on the back of the coin is less valuable (more on the other variation later).

A newer die and hub created this newer style, making it less rare, but it"ll still sell for $443 if you have a proof version (one with mirror-like surfaces that never hit circulation, considered as gemlike as it gets in the coin-collector world).

25. 1867 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $443

Bottom line: If you find an 1867 penny, you"re looking at $252 in extra cash! This rare penny is worth even more if you have a proof coin, which is worth approximately $443.

25. 1866 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $443

Bottom line: This expensive penny is worth $72 in just average condition. If you come across a proof coin, though, it could be worth over $400.

24. 1865 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $495

Bottom line: If you find this rare penny in your jar of change, hang onto it. A good or very good coin is worth less than $20, but proof coins can be worth nearly $500.

22. 1886 Indian Head Cent (Type 2) (Tie)

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Penny value: $545

Bottom line: As previously mentioned, the 1886 Indian Head Cent comes in two types, and the second, more valuable type has a leading "A" that"s slightly farther away from the Indian"s lock of hair.

One of these pennies is only worth $13 in average condition, but a brilliant uncirculated coin is worth over $500.

22. 1864 Indian Head Cent (No L) (Tie)

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Penny value: $545

Bottom line: The 1864 Indian Head Penny also came in two varieties. The version without the "L" is more common, so it"s not worth quite as much.

But proof coins can still be worth upward of $500.

21. 1873 Indian Head Cent (Closed 3)

Penny value: $593

Bottom line: The 1873 Indian Head Cent is worth a great deal more if it has one special feature: a "Closed 3." If the opening in the No. 3 is narrow, you may have a rare penny on your hands.

A proof coin is worth around $300, while a brilliant uncirculated penny is worth almost $600.

20. 1860 Indian Head Cent (Pointed Bust)

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Penny value: $616

Bottom line: Adorned with an oak wreath and a shield, the 1860 Indian Head Cent comes in two main varieties: one with a pointed bust and one with a rounded one. The pointed bust variety is worth $20 in good condition or up to $616 in brilliant uncirculated mint condition.

19. 1869 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $765

Bottom line: Even though the 1869 Indian Head Cent had no unique variations, it"s still valuable because of its age. In good condition, it"s worth $91. Meanwhile, a proof coin is worth over $400.

But get your hands on a brilliant uncirculated version, and you"re looking at a value of around $765.

18. 1871 Indian Head Cent (Bold N)

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Penny value: $887

Bottom line: The 1871 Indian Head Cent isn"t worth a ton if it has a shallow letter "N" in the words "one cent." If it has a bold letter N, however, you"re in luck. This rare penny is worth $77 in good condition, $362 for a proof coin and an impressive $887 for a brilliant uncirculated coin.

17. 1870 Indian Head Cent (Bold N)

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Penny value: $946

Bottom line: This valuable penny, like the version above from one year later, sets itself apart from ordinary pennies by its unique, bold letter "N." The bold N variety is an exceedingly rare Indian Head penny.

Interestingly, while the good version is worth slightly less than an 1871 version of the same quality, a brilliant uncirculated coin is worth well over $900.

13. 1870 Indian Head Cent (Shallow N) (Tie)

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Penny value: $1,003

Bottom line: This coin may not look like much at first glance, but the "Shallow N" version is an older, rare and expensive penny.

Made of 95 percent copper and 5 percent tin and zinc, USA Coin Book estimated its value at $109 in average condition and up to $1,003 in uncirculated mint condition.

13. 1864 Indian Head Cent (Oak Wreath with Shield) (Tie)

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Penny value: $1,003

Bottom line: This copper-nickel coin is one of the rarest pennies available. USA Coin Book estimated its value at $334 in uncirculated mint condition but over $1,000 for a proof coin.

13. 1863 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $1,003

Bottom line: In good condition, this rare Indian Head Penny from 1863 is worth only $13, but proof coins can be worth $1,000 or more.

13. 1862 Indian Head Cent (Tie)

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Penny value: $1,003

Bottom line: Minted in Philadelphia, this rare Indian Head Penny is made with 88 percent copper and 12 percent nickel. It"s valued at $222 in uncirculated mint condition, but proof coins can hit the $1,000 mark.

12. 1871 Indian Head Cent (Shallow N)

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Penny value: $1,056

Bottom line: It"s funny how minor details can drastically influence the value of a coin. This particular bronze composite Indian Head Penny came in two varieties, one with a "Bold N" and one with a "Shallow N."

The Shallow N version was less three-dimensional and rarer, valued at $199 in average condition and over $1,000 in uncirculated mint condition.

11. 1860 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $1,106

Bottom line: This copper-nickel coin is only worth $17 in average condition, but if you have a proof coin, it can be worth over $1,100.

10. 1869 Indian Head Cent (9 Over 9)

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Penny value: $1,196

Bottom line: Now it"s getting exciting. A simple defect in this rare Indian Head penny from 1869 makes it worth almost $1,200.

If the "9" in 1869 is doubled, a good quality penny is worth $137. But you"ll need deep pockets if you hope to buy one in brilliant uncirculated mint condition.

9. 1894 Indian Head Cent (Double Date)

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Penny value: $1,237

Bottom line: The 1894 Indian Head Cent comes in a few varieties, but one small error raises the price tag considerably. If the "94" in 1894 appears doubled, with a subtle shadow appearing to the right of each digit, you"ve discovered a rare coin.

A very fine coin is worth around $144, but uncirculated coins can range from $616 all the way to over $1,200.

8. 1909 S Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $1,286

Bottom line: Some of the most valuable pennies are rare because of occasional defects, but the 1909 S Indian Head Cent is rare because few copies were minted in the first place.

It has a small mint mark under the coin"s wreath, and just a good quality copy runs $593. Uncirculated coins start at around $1,000 and go up to almost $1,300.

7. 1872 Indian Head Cent (Shallow N)

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Penny value: $1,354

Bottom line: The 1872 Indian Head Cent is the most rare if it has a shallow letter "N." If the letter N appears virtually flat, almost flush with the background, it"s likely a "Shallow N" edition.

This rare penny is worth around $400 in fine condition, and a brilliant uncirculated penny is worth a whopping $1,354.

6. 1861 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $1,671

Bottom line: This Indian Head Penny is worth $38 in average condition, but proof coins can be worth over $1,600.

5. 1859 Indian Head Cent (Laurel Wreath Reverse Without Shield)

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Penny value: $1,789

Bottom line: Travel back in time to 1859 to hoard away some of these insanely rare pennies.

The 1859 Indian Head penny is worth a measly $16 in good condition, but a proof coin is worth over $1,700. If you had just 15 of them lying around, you could exchange a handful of pennies for a new car.

4. 1877 Indian Head Cent

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Penny value: $5,002

Bottom line:Not many of these pennies were made to begin with, and they"re in high demand for this very reason. Since the bronze composite 1877 Indian Head Penny is so hard to come by, it"s in the top five of the most valuable Indian Head pennies.

A good quality penny is worth $1,003, while a proof coin is worth nearly $3,000. If you somehow have a brilliant uncirculated mint condition copy, expect to earn $5,000.

3. 1864 Indian Head Cent (With L)

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Penny value: $9,864

Bottom line: The 1864 Indian Head Penny has a small "L" on the ribbon next to the bottom feather. It"s hard to spot, but if it"s there, your 1864 penny is worth $104 in very good condition, $642 in brilliant uncirculated mint condition and over $9,000 in proof condition.

2. 1873 Indian Head Cent (Double Liberty)

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Penny value: $14,753

Bottom line: Some coins have just a digit or two doubled, but not the 1873 Indian Head Cent. One of the rarest pennies of them all, this coin has the entire word "liberty" doubled. That small minting error could make you rich.

A fine quality penny is worth over $900, while an uncirculated version is worth upwards of $8,000. The gold standard, a brilliant uncirculated version, is worth almost $15,000.

1. 1888 Indian Head Cent (Last 8 Over 7)

Penny value: $38,120

Bottom line: This bronze composite penny was minted in Philadelphia in 1888. One tiny feature makes it the most valuable Indian Head penny to date. The penny was initially printed with 1887 as the date before being stamped with the updated year of 1888.

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The tail of the "7" is still slightly visible under the 8, making this one of the rarest and most valuable coins. USA Coin Book estimated its worth to be $1,671 in average condition and up to $38,120 in uncirculated mint condition.