see it clearly
Learn more

There are Indian head pennies and Indian head nickels, but is there an Indian head dime? Are any of these coins valuable today? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.

Is an Indian Head Dime Valuable?

Indian Head Dimes

Three things can make a coin valuable. The first is how many coins there are. If it is rare, the value goes up. The age of the coin is not as important as its scarcity; however, many old coins are few in number. The mint mark can add to the value of a coin. If it is missing, then that can be a plus.

Another factor in determining the value of a coin is its condition. The more it is circulated, the worse the wear on its surface. Uncirculated coins can be a hundred times more valuable than a circulated one. Choice condition is the best you can get in either type of coin and can sometimes result in bringing you thousands of dollars.

The last factor in determining value is demand. This is especially true if there is bidding involved, as a fairly common coin can bring a lot of money if someone wants it to complete a collection. Some people collect certain coins because of their composition, so there may not be a lot of them. They will not be valuable if many people are collecting them as they are not rare.

Definition of terms used in describing coins may be helpful to you. The obverse of a coin is the front (heads) and the back is called the reverse (tails). The die is the stamp used to make the coin. If, in the process, the coin is stamped twice, it can lead to an increase in the coin’s value. That mistake is called doubling. The mint mark is also important as it tells where the coin was minted, like “D” for Denver, “P” for Philadelphia, and “S” for San Francisco.

Indian Head Pennies

The answer to the question “Is there an Indian head dime” is “no.” No such coin was never minted. However, there were Indian head pennies made between 1859 and 1909. The coins were replaced by the Lincoln cent in 1909. Today, some can bring more than $400 and most will bring at least one dollar. From 1859 to 1864, the pennies were made of 88 percent copper and 12 percent nickel. Starting in 1865, their weight was reduced from 72 grains to 48 grains and they were mostly copper (95 percent) with the rest being zinc and tin.

For only the first year of production, the reverse (tails side) had a laurel wreath with the words “ONE CENT” inside of it. The next year, it had an oak wreath with a shield replacing the words. The obverse (heads side) depicts Lady Liberty with an Indian headdress, hence the name “Indian head penny.” In 1864, the minting process added an “L” to the coin for its designer James Barton Longacre. The “L” is located on the ribbon found on the headdress. An 1877 Indian head penny can sell for more than $400 and one dated 1909-S can go for more than $200.

Indian Head Nickels

Even though the answer to “Is there an Indian head dime” is “no,” you might want to know that there are Indian head nickels. They are also called Buffalo Nickels, but the correct term is actually Five-Cent Indian Head. The word “buffalo” is incorrect as the coin has a picture of a bison, not a buffalo. The word buffalo had long been used so the word and the phrase are here to stay.

Buffalo nickels were minted from 1913 to 1938 before they were replaced by the Jefferson nickel. Several of these nickels are particularly valuable. One is the 1937-D “three-legged” buffalo nickel, which is missing the right foreleg. One of these nickels, which is uncirculated, is worth up to $3,000. Another rare buffalo nickel has an “8” stamped over a “7” was minted in 1918 in Denver and can bring more than $500. A nickel dated 1916 that has a doubled die that can be seen in the date, is rare and is valued at around $1,200.