Have you ever come across an 1889 Indian Head Penny? It's one of the most valuable coins in circulation today, and its value is constantly increasing. Whether you're a collector or an investor looking for a sound investment, you could potentially make a fortune with an 1889 Indian Head Penny.

The collector's demand for the 1889 Indian Head Penny is unimaginable, pushing its value higher. These old pennies from the 1880s came in during the US civil war.

Many people were hoarding copper and nickel during this time, forcing the government to make the Indian head pennies with a copper alloy. Additionally, these coins were to boost the nation's economy. Therefore, the 1889 Indian Head pennies were massively produced.

Despite mass production, most of these coins failed to withstand the test of time. This decreased their supply, and with their demand rising, those in pristine condition became popular collectibles. Keep reading to learn more about these coins and their worth.

1889 Indian Head Penny Value

The 1889 Indian Head Penny is a precious coin. When in an average to fair physical condition, these coins attract prices of between $1.5 to $4. These coins have a few nicks and some fading due to being in circulation for years but have retained their relative structural integrity. Those in fine condition usually go for a higher price of about $7 to $30.

1889 Indian pennies that retained their original uncirculated condition are very rare. That's why their value is so high. A standard uncirculated 1889 Indian Penny has a value of at least $60. If you have a higher grade or a proof 1889 Indian penny, its value is usually around $200.

The high value of the 18889 Indian Head coins is attributed to their rarity level. Since these coins were mainly made with copper, most experienced significant physical degradation rendering them less valuable to coin collectors. Therefore, the few that survived and remained in good condition are very valuable and can sell for up to 1000 times their melt value of $0.022.

Here is a summary of the value of the 1889 Indian Head Penny.

1889 Indian Head Penny Value

  • Image from USA Coin Book

Features Of the 1889 Indian Head Penny

Indian Head Penny Value

Weight, Size, And Color

The 1889 liberty head penny is made up of 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin. This makes it one of the more malleable and degradable coin metals. These coins are usually brown and weigh around 3.11 grams.

The obverse side

The obverse side of the 1889 Indian Head Penny combines two motifs that define America's foundational beliefs. It features a portrait of Liberty wearing a feathered tiara which represents the customary headgear of the indigenous people of America. There is the inscription LIBERTY inscribe on Liberty's hat on the head. You'll also see the words United States of America at the top and the year 1889 at the bottom.

Reverse side

On the reverse side, you'll see the word ONE CENT at the center. It also features an oak wreath and shield. This coin's features make it a desirable coin.

Factors That Influence the 1889 Indian Head Penny's Value

1889 Indian Head Penny

1889 Indian Head Penny Rarity

The 1889 Indian Pennies are relatively scarce to find. Minted over a hundred years ago, most of the 1889 Indian Head Pennies have been lost, defaced, broken, or rusted. Therefore, these coins are considerably rare and worth a fortune. You should also keep in mind that the grade of an 1889 India penny can determine its rarity.

These coins become rarer as you climb up the grade levels. Therefore, if you have an uncirculated grade, expect to sell them at a high price. Even circulated coins in good condition are rare and can go for a reasonable price.

The majority of these coins have experienced a considerable reduction in their grade level. Most of those that have survived all these years were those preserved impeccably after mint or within a few years of being struck. Additionally, only 3336 proof pennies were struck in 1889, and only a few survived all these years; therefore, they are worth a lot.

However, 18889 Indian Head coins of lower grade have a lesser value. Nonetheless, the rarity of 1889 Indian Pennies makes them heavily sought after by collectors.

1889 Indian Head Penny Mintage

All of the 1889 Indian Head Pennies were minted at the Philadelphia mint, which was the first mint in the USA. The Philadelphia mint made coins without mint marks, including the 1889 Indian Head Penny. It struck a total of 48,869,361 regular coins and a meager 3336 proof coins. These coins' uniqueness attracts many collectors, increasing the penny's value in the market.

1889 Indian Head Penny Error Coins

Unique errors on an 1889 Indian Head Penny can make it considerably valuable. It's pretty difficult to come across 1889 Indian Head Pennies with errors, something which makes them worth a fortune.

Collectors consider these unique errors a fortune increasing their demand and value. When evaluating your coin, you should check out for errors like a missing word, unusual coloration, missing or doubled letters, a distinctive color, or any other discrepancies.

A notable 1889 Indian Head Penny with an error is the 1889 1C Misaligned Die Clash which in 2021 was worth $432. If you need help with what to look for, let an expert evaluate your coin and help you identify errors that can make it valuable.

Grading the 1889 Indian Head Penny

The condition of an 1889 Indian Head Penny means a lot to collectors. Given that they are old, it's common for most of these coins to be in poor condition. However, there are those that are in pristine condition. 1889 Indian Head Pennies are graded depending on the coin's appearance and remaining details. Here are the different grades of the 1889 Indian Head Penny.

  • Uncirculated
  • Extremely Fine
  • Fine
  • Good

Coins in uncirculated condition never exchanged hands and are the most desirable hence carry a higher price tag. However, those in good condition are in rough shape and have a very low value.

Don’t Clean Your 1889 Indian Head Penny

Since it’s an old coin, you may be tempted to clean your coin. Cleaning a collector’s coin is a bad idea and may significantly degrade its value, especially for the 1889 Indian Head Penny. These coins are mostly made of copper composition, which is a highly corrosive and easily degradable metal. Instead of cleaning it yourself, you should take it to a coin-cleaning professional, to clean it.


On average, an 1889 Indian Head Penny in good condition is worth around $1.5 to $30. However, if the coin is in excellent condition, it can be worth much more, up to several hundred dollars. The value of your coin depends on its rarity, condition, and uniqueness. Most of these coins are in high demand, and their value could keep increasing.

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