Indian Head Penny Overview
Although not as well known as the Lincoln cent, the Indian Head cent is an iconic coin that is sought after by both new and seasoned collectors. This is because of their relatively low cost and general scarcity.
First minted in 1859 to replace the larger Flying Eagle cent, the Indian Head cent experienced a 50 year production period that saw the use of two different compositions. The entire coin was designed in 1859 by US Mint engraver James B. Longacre.
On the Obverse, the coin features a rendition of Liberty facing left, wearing a traditional Indian headdress. The words “United States” are found to the left of Lady Liberty’s bust and “Of America” is found to the right. The date can be found centered directly below the bust of Liberty.
Longacre’s design for the reverse of the Indian Head penny is very simplistic, with the motto “One Cent” encircled by a wreath. A group of arrows can be found at the bottom of the wreath and small shield at the top.
Over the 50 years of production, the Indian Head penny has only gone through one major composition change. The first year of production in 1859 saw the coin minted in a bronze alloy. The next year the mint changed to a copper nickel composition that lasted until mid-1864.
The remaining Indian Head Pennies minted from mid-1864 till 1909 returned to the bronze alloy composition.
History of the 1907 Indian Head Penny
At the turn of the century, Indian Head Pennies were being minted in larger and larger quantities to help meet consumer demand.
The 1907 Indian Head penny, in particular, had one of the highest mintages in the series, with 108 million minted. Compared to the 1859 Indian Head Penny that had only 36 million pieces minted, the 1907 Indian Head Penny is relatively common.
Like other Indian Head Pennies minted between mid-1864 and 1909, 1907 weighs 3.11 grams and is 19.05mm in diameter. Denticles (Small dots found on the surface of the coin, near the rim) are present on both the obverse and reverse.
Grading the 1907 and Other Indian Head Pennies
Like all other coins, the 1907 Indian Head Penny’s value directly depends on the condition of the coin. Since the 1907 coin is a relatively common one, there are many examples that can be found in a higher grade.
Grading is based on the 70 point Sheldon Scale, where 70 is a perfect coin and 1 describes a severely damaged/worn coin. Here are some basic rules to help you determine the grade of your 1907 Indian Head Penny.
Good 4 - Extensive wear can be seen on the surfaces of the coin. The date is readable, and the bust of Liberty is worn, but is clearly separate from the surface of the coin. Most details of Liberty’s head band and face have been worn away. Although worn, the coin lacks any deformities or scratches.
Fine 12 - Wear is still evident across the entirety of the coin, but more details can be seen, mainly on Liberty. The word “Liberty” is full but faint on Liberty’s head band. Other details like Liberty’s hair and cheek are more defined.
Extra Fine 45 - Only a slight amount of wear across Liberty on the obverse and the wreath on the reverse. “Liberty” is full and the lines in the feathers of the head dress are sharp.
Uncirculated or Mint State 60 - Zero wear evident with strong red luster or slight brown toning. All details full and sharp, particularly the diamonds in Liberty’s head band.
Value of the 1907 Indian Head Penny
Because of the large number minted, the 1907 Indian Head Penny is extremely affordable due to significant numbers of coins remaining.
Most 1907 Indian Head Pennies are in Good 4 condition because of their popularity and heavy use in circulation. The average price for a 1907 Indian Head Penny in Good 4 condition is about $1.
In higher grades such as Extra Fine, the value of the 1907 Indian Head Penny increases slightly, with prices hovering around $7.
The most expensive 1907 Indian Head Pennies are those that are still in Uncirculated condition. With prices for ungraded Uncirculated examples at $28 and Uncirculated pieces graded by a third party starting at $100.
1907 Indian Head Pennies in exceptional condition and that are graded MS-63 by a third party grading company can command prices above $200. Only 50 examples of the 1907 Indian Head Penny have been graded at MS-63 or higher by third party grader PCGS.