Ron Guth: Indian Head Cents replaced the Flying Eagle Cent in 1859. The obverse depiction of a putative American Indian is actually a head of Liberty with an Indian chief’s headdress. In 1860, the wreath was altered and a small shield was added to the top of the reverse. From 1859-1864, the cents were made of a mixture of copper-nickel. The planchets were thick and the color was much lighter than the dark copper of Large Cents. In 1864, partly in response to the privately issued Civil War tokens, the weight of the Indian cent was reduced and the metal composition reverted to bronze, a nearly pure copper alloy. Key dates in this series include 1877, 1908-S, and 1909-S.
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