How Much is a 1906 Indian Head Penny Worth? (Price Chart)

Are you a coin collector or seasoned numismatist? Collectors have found a rare gem in uncirculated Indian Head cents.

The 1906 Indian Head penny is worth one cent at face value. It sells for $1 and $30-$57 in certified MS+ grade at a pawn shop. Designed by James Longacre, it contains 75% copper and 5% (tin/zinc).

Read on to learn more about the one-cent Indian Penny, its features, and its design history. Plus, we also help you understand how to grade your coin before you sell it.

 

What Is a 1906 Indian Head Penny?

What Is a 1906 Indian Head Penny

It is a single-cent penny struck by the US mint for circulation between 1859-1909. It features a profile bust of Liberty on the obverse, a shield, and a set of arrows on the reverse.

History of the 1906 Indian Head

The 1906 Indian Head is one of the last coins struck in the series before its abolishment. Before the Indian Head, the Cent piece used comprised of only copper. As a result of the California Gold Rush, the price of copper hit skyrocket levels. The US mint resolved to reduce the copper content in the Cent piece to save on the cost of copper used. The decision led to the invention of the Flying Eagle Cent (1957) and the Indian Head Cent (1906).

However, the production of the Indian Head cent faced tumultuous challenges occasioned by the civil wars. The coin, therefore, had frequent, significant variations in its design. For instance, the wreath appearing on the reverse changed from laurel to oak wreath. In the early 20th century, the 1906 Indian Head Penny production only happened at the Philadelphia mint. Other mints began producing the Indian Penny in 1908. The Lincoln Wheat Penny replaced the Indian Head Cent in 1909.

 

Brief Analysis of the 1906 Indian Head

  • Type: Indian Head Penny
  • Year: 1906
  • Face Value: 0.01 USD or 1 cent
  • Mintage: 96,020,530
  • Metal Content: 95% Copper – 5% Tin and Zinc, 0%
  • Diameter: 19 mm
  • Weight: 3.11 grams
  • Numismatic Value: $3.00 to $165.00
  • Designer: James Barton Longacre

 

Reason for Minting

The main reason behind the 1906 Indian Head Cent was the high price of copper during the civil wars. As people rushed for the gold deposits discovered in California, the inflation rate rose, pushing the price of copper up. The mint, therefore, decided to reduce the quantity of copper used for striking the US coinages.

Previously, US coinages contained 100% copper. Chief engraver James Longacre, therefore, embarked on designing a coin using a minimum copper content. However, due to great economic stability in the early 1900s, different mints produced large quantities of the Indian Head cent.

Mintage

As already mentioned, other mints did not strike the Indian Penny until 1908. As a result, the 1906 Indian Head Penny production only happened at the main mint in Philadelphia. The mint struck 96,020,530 Indian Head pennies and 1,725 proof coins.

 

Features of the 1906 Indian Head Penny

Like other US coinages, the 1906 Indian penny has subtle features on both the obverse and reverse sides. This coin has the Indian head on the obverse as the most prominent feature. In fact, it’s this profile that gives the coin its name.

Obverse

1906 Indian Head Penny Obverse

The portrait on the Penny is a profile bust of the mythical Miss Liberty popularly seen on some pennies. The chief engraver drew inspiration from the Venus Statue on display in Philadelphia. The obverse features a profile bust of the left-facing Liberty at the central portion of the Penny. She wears a headdress with an inscription “LIBERTY” written on the headband.

Another inscription, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” along the left and right margin,” reading clockwise. Below Miss Liberty’s neck is the coin’s year of issue (1906), running along the lower margin

Reverse

1906 Indian Head Penny Reverse

The reverse features a union shield near the top margin of the Penny. An oak wreath runs along the left and right margin of the coin. At the top of the wreath is a bundle of arrows, which are also tied to the wreath. The coin’s denominational value (ONE CENT) appears as a straight line of text at the center.

Previously, the Indian Head Cent featured a wreath without the shield and bundle of arrows. Additionally, the wreath was not as bushy as it appears in the 1906 version. The new reverse design came into effect in 1860.

Unlike other US coinages, the 1906 Indian Head Penny only has one major slogan; Liberty. The term ‘Liberty’ originated from the Liberty statue donated to France’s the United States of America. It was significant to commemorate the great alliance between the two countries at the height of the Great Revolution. Since then, America officially adopted the slogan as a light to the path of freedom and democracy.

Mint marks

As a norm, all coins struck at the Philadelphia mint do not bear a mint mark. As a result, the US mint struck the 1906 Indian Head without a min mark.

Dimensions and Metal Used

The 1906 Indian Head Penny is a composite piece of metal with three various metals. It contains 95% copper, and 5% (tin and zinc). The 1906 Indian head weighs 3.11 grams and has a diameter of 19 mm.

 

1906 Indian Head Penny Value

1906 Indian Head Penny Value
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Although the 1906 Indian Head is an antique penny, it has value as a numismatic penny and a valuable collectible. If well-preserved, your Indian Head can fetch at least $7. Below is how valuable the Penny is at different numismatic categories:

Denominational Value

The coin is worth 1 cent ($0.01) at face value.

 

Comparison Table Showing the 1906 Indian Head Penny Value

Condition 1906 Proof (PR-63)
Uncirculated $31 $144
Very Fine $7  –
Fine $2.48  –
Good $1.48  –

 

How Much Is the Metal in 1906 Indian Head Penny Worth?

The 1906 Indian Head is worth at least its weight in copper. It contains 95% copper, hence a preference of collectors who look for fine copper. Based on the current spot price for copper, the coin is worth $0.0288 in its melt value. According to coin trackers, the melt value is a bare minimum and may change as the spot price of copper changes.

How Much Is the 1906 Indian Head Penny at the Pawnshop?

At a pawn shop, coin collectors determine the value of the Indian Penny based on eye appeal and quality. Your Penny may be worth $1 in G4 (Good) condition, $4.68 in Fine condition, $6 in Very fine condition, and up to $10 in Extremely Fine condition. An uncirculated coin with an MS-60 or MS-63 grade can sell for $30-$57. If you have a proof penny (PR-63), pawnbrokers will award you a whopping $144 or more.

 

Factors that Determine the 1906 Indian Head Penny Value

Factors that Determine the 1906 Indian Head Penny Value

The 1906 Indian Head is one of the coins with a higher mintage in the Indian Head series. The mints struck 96,000,000+ pennies, making them readily available in circulated conditions. Despite this, coin collectors are still looking for high-grade coins to complete their Indian Head series. So, what makes a high-grade Indian Head penny?

1. Condition

Despite an influx of millions of Indian Head cents, some 1906 pennies are still in brand-new condition. The mints released them for circulation, but coin collectors and numismatists preserved them for trade. If you have an uncirculated (mint state) coin, you have a precious collectible that collectors are willing to buy at higher premiums.

A closer look at the feathers on the headdress, headband, hair, and eligibility of the word Liberty should help you understand its condition. The sharper the images, the more valuable your Indian Head penny will likely be. Look at the four main stages of grading an Indian (1906) Penny:

Uncirculated

This coin has no sign of wear to its surfaces, has an original mint luster with only a few abrasions. Take a closer look at the hairband, neck, and feather ends. You should see original design features fresh from the mint.

Extremely Fine

In this condition, the word Liberty on the hairband appears sharp, although there may be slight wear on the end of the hairband. The coin has a distinct overall appearance, with slight wear on the hair curls near the neck and lower portion of the hairband. Despite slight wear on the features, the Penny retains an excellent appeal with minimal distractions.

Fine

In the ‘fine’ grade, the coin shows moderate wear that is easily recognizable. For instance, the word ‘Liberty’ is still visible but faded. The feathers appear smooth at the ends and worn out at the center. Hair curls blend into the hairband, while the headdress ribbon has no distinct features.

Good

It is the lowest end of the grading scale where the word ‘Liberty’ is not visible, and very little detail remains. Additionally, the headdress, feathers, chick, and neck, are all smooth. The date and letters appear worn, but still separated from the outer rim. A coin in this state may only be worth its melt value.

2. Mintage

In 1906, Indian Head pennies had an exceedingly high mintage from the US mint. Thus, they have a high value only in uncirculated conditions.

However, proof pennies can fetch high value because they form a major rarity. The US mints only struck 1,725 proof pennies.

3. Special Mint Error

Special mint error is common in most coinages, and the 1906 Indian Head is no exception. Error coins appear distinct and different from others of the same quality and design. Coin collectors are always willing to pay very high for mint error because it is a special rarity. Watch out for the following mint error coins in 1906 Indian Head:

  • 1906 Re-punched Date
  • 1906 Misplaced Date
  • 1906 Fivaz-Stanton

 

FAQs

1906 Indian Head Penny FAQs

1. Where is the mint mark on the 1906 Indian Head?

The first edition of the Indian Head penny had no mint mark because it originated from the main mint. However, subsequent editions from San Francisco have a mint mark on the reverse, below the wreath.

2. How can I tell if My Indian Head (1906) penny is uncirculated?

An uncirculated 1906 Indian Head has a shiny mint luster on its high points. Tilt your coin sideways under a good source of light. If it has broken portions of mint luster on high points, it is circulated.

3. Is 1906 a key date of the Indian Head penny?

1906 is not a key date because it has one of the highest mintage in the series. 1906 Indian pennies are abundant in circulated conditions.

 

Winding Up: Is the 1906 Indian Head Penny Value Worth it?

The US mint issued the 1906 Indian Head during the last half-decade of the Indian Head series. It features the profile of Liberty on the obverse and a shield and arrows on the reverse. The coin is 95% copper, hence worth $30+ in certified mint state.

Moreover, a special mint error and a key date can guarantee you premium values from the pawnbrokers. If you want to sell your Indian head penny, we can help you find the right market. For questions on the grading of the Indian Head, do not hesitate to contact us.

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