The Indian Head Penny is one of America’s most beloved coins. First made in 1859, it depicts Liberty dressed as a Native American in a feathered headdress. It was one of the first U.S. coins to feature a Native American design. The design is a symbol of America’s westward expansion and the “Wild West,” as well as a moving tribute to Native Americans in U.S. history. The coin was designed by U.S. Mint chief engraver James B. Longacre, one of the most renowned coin designers in U.S. history. Initially, it was thought that the model for Liberty was Longacre’s daughter, Sarah, wearing a headdress. However, it was later revealed that the model was a statue in a Philadelphia museum. The reverse depicts an oak wreath and the Union shield – symbols of military strength and national unity, respectively. The coin was first issued just before the start of the Civil War, so these sentiments were popular in the north. This collection includes one coin minted in each full decade of the 19th century: 1860’s, 1870’s, 1880’s, and 1890’s.
The 1860’s was the decade of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency, and expansion into Western lands. The 1870’s saw the invention of the lightbulb and the advent of the telephone. In the 1880’s, the Statue of Liberty was opened and the “Wild West” became tamed. The 1890’s witnessed the advent of the automobile and the kinetoscope (moving pictures). The coins disappeared from circulation well over a century ago, and finding even a single coin is virtually impossible today. Owning all four coins is a rare accomplishment, and they represent a magnificent era in American history. The collection is presented in a custom display case.