Indian Head Cent Composition and Specifications

  • The Indian Head Cent was struck in two metal compositions. From 1859 to mid 1864, the cent was struck in a metal composition consisting of 88% copper and 12% nickel, weighing 4.67 grams, or 72 grains. This metal proved to be too hard to strike, and in 1864 the composition was changed to a bronze alloy. This consisted of 95% copper and 5% zinc and tin. The bronze cents weigh 3.11 grams, or 48 grains.
  • Both compositions have a diameter of 19 millimeters, and all have a plain edge. The final two years were also produced at the San Francisco Mint, and the “S” mintmark is found on the reverse, under the wreath.

Copper Indian Head Cent

Dates: 1859-1864
Mint Mark: none
Composition: 88% copper, 12% nickel
Weight: 4.67 grams
Diameter: 19 mm
Edge: plain
Designer: James B. Longacre

 

Bronze Indian Head Cent

Dates: 1864-1909
Mint Mark: none (Philadelphia), S (San Francisco)
Composition: 95% copper, 5% tin and zinc
Weight: 3.11 grams
Diameter: 19 mm
Edge: plain
Designer: James B. Longacre

 

taken from: http://indianheadcent.org/