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You may wonder if an 1891 Indian head penny is valuable. It can be, depending on its date, condition, and the demand of the market.

Valuable Coins

1891 Indian Head Penny

Before you find out about the 1891 Indian head penny and its value, you need some information on coins in general. When referring to coins, there are a few words you may not know. A coin is made when an engraved stamp, called a die, strikes the coin and makes an impression on it. If the die strikes more than once, then it is called a double die, or doubling. This can make those coins go up in value. The front of the coin, or the heads, is the obverse and the back, or the tails, is the reverse.

There are currently four US Mints and each coin will have a mintmark according to which mint made it. “P” is for the mint in Philadelphia, which is the original US Mint. Sometimes this mint did not put a mintmark. The others are “D” for Denver, “S” for San Francisco, and “W” for West Point. West Point makes collection coins. Some of the older mintmarks are “C” for Charlotte, “CC” for Carson City, “D” for Dahlonega, and “O” for New Orleans. A missing mintmark can cause a coin to rise in value. The wrong mintmark can be used to spot a forgery.

Three things can add value to a coin. First is the scarcity of it. It could have been one of a minting where few coins were made, or a double die can make it rare. Of course, older coins would naturally be scarcer so many of them are valuable. An important factor in a coin’s value is condition. Perfect, un-circulated coins fetch a high price. Lastly, demand is a lot of a coin’s monetary value. If someone really wants a coin for a collection, then the bidding may go higher than expected.

About the 1891 Indian Head Penny

The Indian head penny was minted between 1859 and 1909. It was replaced by the Lincoln penny after that. Today, an Indian head penny is worth between a dollar and 400 dollars. In particular, the 1891 Indian head penny is worth about $1.00.

Until 1864, the pennies were composed of 88 percent copper and 12 percent nickel. After that, their weight was reduced and they were made of 95 percent copper, 5 percent tin, and zinc.

The obverse side of the Indian head penny has an image of Lady Liberty wearing an Indian headdress. The reverse had a wreath made of laurel and the inscription “ONE CENT” inside of the wreath. After the first year of minting, the reverse was changed. The phrase “ONE CENT” was replaced with a shield and the wreath was made of oak branches. Starting in 1864, an “L” was added to the ribbon of the headdress. This is the last initial of the designer, James Barton Longacre.

Indian Head Nickels

ndian head nickels, also called Buffalo nickels, were produced between 1913 and 1938. The designer was James Earle Fraser and the obverse, or front of the nickel, had an image of an Indian looking to his left. The word LIBERTY appears on the upper right side along the edge of the coin, and the date is at the bottom. The reverse has a picture of a bison, which is mistakenly called a buffalo. At the top are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and at the bottom are the words FIVE CENTS.

Some of these nickels are valuable with one being the 1937-D. On it, the bison’s right front leg is missing. A flaw in the die was being fixed and the leg was accidentally erased. It is called the three-legged buffalo nickel and is worth up to $3000 of it is un-circulated. There is a double die nickel dated 1916 that is worth about $1200. In Denver, some coins were made with the “7” being stamped over by an “8” in the date and these can fetch a price of $500.