Mr. B Coins's Blog

08 Feb 2021

Type Set 1902 Indian Head

Coins-United States | Mr. B Coins

This is my second attempt at a blog.

I’m Mr. B. I collect cents and half cents, and I’m starting a type collection.

Just to complete the picture I’m old, I’m very good looking, I’m humble and I live in Chicago.

I’m going to talk about Indian Head Cents in general and the 1902 Indian in particular.


The Indian Head Cent was minted from 1859 to 1909.

There are several different story lines about how the Indian Head came about. Suffice it to say that the large cent and the Flying Eagle cent fell out of favor with the mint for various reasons and a decision was made to mint a new one cent coin.


The designer of this new coin was James B. Longacre, Chief Engraver of the Philadelphia Mint. He decided the obverse would be Liberty with a Native American Headdress. Again, there are several anecdotal accounts of from where the image of Liberty was derived.

Variety and Composition

Over the fifty year span over which the coin was minted there were three varieties. The first variety was the Indian Head on the obverse with a Laurel Leaf on the reverse (1859), next the reverse was changed to an Oak Wreath with Shield (1860-1864) and, finally, the composition of the coin changed (1864-1909). The first two varieties were composed of .880 copper and .120 nickel. The third variety was composed of .950 copper and .050 tin and zinc.

World Events

There were too many outside events as well as internal decisions going on before, during and after the fifty year span in which the coin was minted to mention. Some of them, without going into detail, were metal shortages, coin shortages, coin surpluses, the Coinage Act of 1864, the economy, cents being recalled and melted, and so on. All of these had an affect on the production of the coin.

Key Dates

There are two Key dates in this series, 1877 (852,500 minted) and 1909S (309,000 minted). There are several semi-key dates, including 1908S (1,115,000 minted) which was the first coin minted for general circulation at the San Francisco Mint, and the 1864 L.

Now to the 1902 Indian Head cent. This is the latest addition to my type collection. I hope I’m using that term correctly. I’m trying to collect the best looking coin from a series I can reasonably afford. In 1902 there were 87,374,704 Indian Head cents minted. I picked up this coin at a very reasonable price.

Finally, I know there had to be a politician involved . Someone decided to end production of the Indian cent in 1909 at the San Francisco mint and in the same year begin production of the Lincoln cent at San Francisco, guaranteeing low mintages for both coins. What happened to ending one series one year and beginning another series the next year?

I’m trying not to plagiarize. I want to credit The Official Red Book, Wikipedia, an article by Mike Thorne, Ph.D. and an article by Mark Benvenuto. Believe me, I have no original thoughts.



Level 5

Nicely written, sweet coin. Later!


Level 4

Good looking Indian head cent.


Level 6

Funny blog! Beautiful coin. Thanks for sharing. ; )


Level 6

Nice blog Mr. Handsome. Humor is fun to read.

It's Mokie

Level 6

A very interesting coin, one of the most interesting things is the fact that it only received its first mintmark in 1908. Thanks for an interesting read.


Level 7

Great coin I like the Indian head cent. Finding them in that condition is hard usually the liberty is gone. It serves of first. Thanks for sharing that coin and the information on it.

Long Beard

Level 5

Well research and written blog on an interesting subject. Impressive 1902!


Level 5

Very enjoyable blog. That 1902 Indian cent is really a nice looking coin. I only have a few circulated Indian cents. Might go for a key date or semi. These blogs always get the coin itch going.


Level 5

that is a nice IHC! And nice blog!

I. R. Bama

Level 5

Hmmm, I thought I saw a few original thoughts in there.... Very nice coin, and thanks for the blog1

walking liberty

Level 4

Cool that is one shiny penny


Level 5

Haha, good looking, old, AND humble?? lol thanks for the blog! I love IHCs too! Catch ya later!

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