1887 Indian Head cents are quite common and are usually found in mixed-date rolls of Indian Head cents. They’re also easily located at most coin shops that sell U.S. 19th- and 20th-century coinage. 1887 pennies are primarily bought by three types of coin collectors: those who are building type sets, collectors who are assembling a series collection of Indian Head pennies, and those who may not collect pennies, per se, but still want an inexpensive example of this classic American coin.
1887 Indian Head cents were made in a huge quantity. 45,223,523 business strikes were produced, and these sell for $2.50 in a grade of Good-4. Proof specimens are much scarcer, as only 2,960 were made. These retail for $6,200.
Chief Engraver of the United States Mint James B. Longacre was the designer of the Indian Head penny. In addition to Indian Head pennies, which were first produced in 1859, Longacre also designed the United States two-cent piece, which in 1864 became the nation’s first coin to bear the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.
An interesting design note about the 1887 Indian Head penny is that the figure on the obverse isn’t a Native American at all. Rather, it’s a depiction of Miss Liberty modeled by Longacre’s daughter, Sarah.