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1904 Indian Head Penny Value & Errors

Americans use design themes to describe currency coins. For the penny, the Union Shield in the Lincoln penny series is the current theme. Before the Lincoln penny was the Indian head penny, our coin of interest in this post.

Despite their different themes, all pennies have one thing in common: a $0.01 face value. But in the world of coin collectors, the value of a penny appreciates if it is in mint condition or has rare mint errors. That’s also true for the 1904 Indian head penny.

1904 Indian Head Penny

We tell you what makes the 1904 Indian head penny valuable in this article. But before that, check out the fascinating details about this coin’s design.

1904 Indian Head Penny Design

The US Mint struck the 1904 Indian head penny 45 years after the introduction of the Indian head theme in 1859 and just 5 years before the Lincoln theme rolled out in 1909.

That change bid farewell to the minting of a penny with a rich design on both the obverse and the reverse sides.

The Indian Head on the Obverse

1904 Indian Head Penny Obverse

The obverse side of the 1904 Indian head penny bears the image of Lady Liberty with a left-facing pose. To date, controversy still surrounds the identity of the Lady.

Many still hold that the image features the daughter of the engraver, James Barton Longacre. The Lady has a feather bonnet on her head, which along with other details, gives her an Indian appearance. That explains the “Indian Head” theme of the coin.

The country name, “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”, appears in two curves around the image, with the first two words along the left edge and the other two along the right. The mint year, “1904”, is at the bottom, below the neck of the Lady.

Longacre inscribed the word “LIBERTY” along the band of the bonnet. He also claimed originality for his work with an “L” at the end of the Lady’s jawline. And about that, some think the “L” was for his daughter, Sarah Longacre.

The Wreath and Arrow on the Reverse

1904 Indian Head Penny Reverse

The coin denomination, “ONE CENT,” is the central feature on the reverse side of the 1904 Indian head penny.

Two oak branches joined by a ribbon at the lower edge of the coin create a wreath around the denomination. You also notice three arrows on the wreath joined under the ribbon.

Other 1904 Indian Head Penny Details

All the 1904 Indian head pennies, including the proof pennies, were struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Although the San Francisco Mint was already in operation, only the Philadelphia Mint could strike one cent coins at that time.

This explains why you only see the 1904 Indian head penny with no mint mark.

Also, the Indian head penny changed its metallic composition due to the rising prices of copper and its increased usage in making arms.

By the time they struck the 1904 Indian head penny, the cent had a copper with tin and zinc composition.

Here’s a summary of the 1904 Indian head penny metal composition, plus other specifications.

  • Mint/Mint mark: Philadelphia/no mint mark.
  • Mintage: 61,326,198.
  • Proof Pennies: 1,817.
  • Metal composition: Bronze composite (95% Copper & 5% Tin and Zinc).
  • Weight: 3.11g.
  • Diameter: 19mm.

A penny with such a detailed design and interesting characteristics can be a gem for coin collectors. But one needs to know what makes a 1904 Indian head penny valuable to understand its worth. The rest of the post takes care of those details.

How Much is a 1904 Indian Head Penny Worth

Going by the US Coin Book, a 1904 Indian head penny in average circulated condition (very good) is worth approximately $3.38.

In fine uncirculated condition, MS60-MS63, the penny will sell for $46-$75. A proof penny in a similar condition (PR63) has a higher value of $292.

Before presenting a complete 1904 Indian head penny price chart, it is important to give you a quick insight into the 1904 Indian head penny grading. This will help you understand why a 1904 penny value will be higher for a coin in one grade and lower for another in a different grade.

1904 Indian Head Penny Grading

Grading is the number one factor in determining the value of a penny. A penny’s grade describes its condition as an uncirculated coin or a circulated one with some form of wear.

In the coin market, penny grading helps coin collectors place a market value on a coin and decide for or against a purchase.

When coins are auctioned or listed on online coin markets, higher coin grades command higher prices.

A 1904 Indian head penny has an ‘MS’ grading if it is in the mint state or is uncirculated. These coins have a grading number between 60 and 70, the finest coins being those with a higher number.

1904 Indian head pennies with no post-production flaws have a grading number close to 70. Those with negligible marks, hairlines, or a slightly weak strike have a grading digit closer to 60.

The 1904 Indian head penny has been in circulation for many years. For that reason, circulated pennies in a good or average condition can command premium prices in the coin market.

Grading numbers for circulated coins go from 1-59. A circulated 1904 Indian head penny can bear one of these conditions, with a corresponding number according to the coin’s condition:

  • Good (G)
  • Very Good (VG)
  • Fine (F)
  • Very Fine (VF)
  • Extremely Fine (EF)
  • About Uncirculated (AU)

Graders will also indicate a 1904 penny color after the grade number with an abbreviation. Mint state and circulated coins have an RD (Red), BN (Brown), or RB (Red Brown) grading. Proof coins are DCAM (Deep Cameo) or CAM (Cameo).

With the above coin grading details in mind, we can now give you a 1904 Indian head penny price chart.

1904 Indian Head Penny Value Chart:

Condition Value
Good (G-4) $2.33
Very Good (VG-8) $3.38
Fine (F-12) $5.84
Very Fine (VF-20) $6.80
Extremely Fine (EF-40) $11
About Uncirculated (AU-50) $23
Mint State (MS-60) $46
MS 63 $75
Proof (PR-63) $292

As mentioned earlier, an uncirculated 1904 Indian head penny can appreciate in value and sell for thousands of dollars if it has a higher grade.

Highest-valued 1904 Indian Head Penny

In fact, the highest-valued 1904 Indian head penny has an MS67RD grading and sold for $33,600 at the Heritage Auctions in 2019.

Many other 1904 Indian head penny coins have sold for thousands of dollars. Below is a list of 1904 Indian head pennies valued at over $10,000, including the highest-selling piece just mentioned.

Condition Price Year Service/Firm
MS67RD $33,600 2019 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $25,300 2006 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $19,550 2006 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $18,400 2008 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $17,250 2005 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $16,100 2009 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $13,800 2008 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $11,456 2015 Legend Rare Coins Auctions
MS67RD $11,400 2021 Heritage Auctions
MS67RD $10,150 2017 David Lawrence RC

1904 Indian head proof pennies with higher grading have also sold at premium prices in the coin market.

1904 Indian Head Proof Penny

The highest-priced 1904 Indian head proof penny with a PR67RD grading sold for $29,900 at the Heritage Auctions in 2009.

The list of 1904 Indian head proof pennies that have sold for more than $1,000 is long. However, only one other penny has a value of over 10,000 dollars.

This 1904 Indian head proof penny with a PR67RD grading sold for $17,250 at the Heritage Auctions in 2008.

Apart from a higher grading, 1904 Indian head pennies with rare mint errors also sell for premium prices. Find out more about those in the next section.

1904 Indian Head Penny Errors

The 1904 Indian head penny error list is relatively brief. The first error is less common, but you’ll find the details interesting.

1. 1904 Indian Head Penny Re-Punched Date FS-301 Error

1904 Indian Head Penny Repunched Date Error

 

The Indian head penny RPD FS-Error is a rare coin error that occurred when a mint worker accidentally re-punched a die twice or thrice.

The re-punching is accentuated on the southern end of the coin, causing the date numbers to appear extended or, as commonly described, a re-punched date (RPD).

You can clearly see the re-punching effect on a 1904 Indian head penny with a RPD FS-301 error. In some coins, for example, the ‘4’ in the year digits, ‘1904’ has a protracted apex.

The RPD FS-301 error still finds considerable interest from coin collectors and can increase a 1904 Indian head penny value by hundreds.

For example, an MS64BN penny with the RPD FS-301 S-10 error sold for $501 on eBay in 2018. Going by the PCGS price history, the highest bid for a penny of that grade without the error is $130.

A similar coin, the 1904 Indian Head penny MS64RB RPD FS-301 S-10 is listed on eBay for $688 at the time of writing this post.

2. 1904 Indian Head Penny Off-Center Strike Error

1904 Indian Head Penny Off Center Strike Error

An off-center strike is a misalignment error that occurs when the planchet is not centered. As a result, the penny design appears only on one side and is missing on the other part.

Off-center errors on a penny are described according to how far they are from the center. The off-center strike error makes a 1904 Indian head penny rare and can increase its value by hundreds of dollars.

A 1904 Indian head penny with a 10% off-center strike error sold for $264 at the Heritage Auction in 2020. The penny had an MS63BN grading. Without the error, a 1904 Indian head penny with that grading has a $90 highest bid on the PCGS price history.

FAQs

1. What Makes a 1904 Indian Head Penny Valuable?

A 1904 Indian head penny is valuable if it is in the mint state (MS) and has a high coin grade, MS67, for the recorded sales so far.

These coins can sell for thousands of dollars, with the highest-sold penny valued at $33,600. A 1904 Indian head penny is also valuable if it has an RPD error. Such a penny will sell for hundreds of dollars.

2. Are 1904 Indian Head Pennies Pure Copper?

The 1904 Indian head penny is a bronze composite coin, meaning it is 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin. Pennies were pure copper before 1857. The mint also struck a few pure copper coins in 1943.

Conclusion

The 1904 Indian head penny will sell for approximately $3 if circulated and still in average condition. If the coin is in mint condition and has a high grading, you can make tens of thousands if you sell it in the coin market.

A rare 1904 mint error, RPD FS-301 S-10, will also appreciate the value of your coin.

And although the 1904 Indian head pennies are few in circulation, you could be lucky and find one among your loose change with these features. Good luck!

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