1903 Indian Head Pennies
1903 Indian Head cents are quite common and are usually found in mixed-date bags and rolls. 1903 pennies are also commonly available at most coin shops that deal in 19th- and 20th-century U.S. coinage. Coin collectors pursue 1903 pennies for type sets as well as to complete series collections of Indian Head pennies. 1903 cents are also commonly pursued by non-coin collectors who want an example of this classic American coin.
1903 Indian Head cents were made in vast quantities to the tune of 85,092,703 pieces, with those being business strikes. In addition to the 85+ million business strikes, 1,790 proof specimens were made for numismatic purposes. These 1902 proof coins retail for $1,275 each in choice condition.
James B. Longacre, who served as Chief Engraver at the United States Mint from 1844 until his death in 1869, designed 1903 Indian Head pennies. Interestingly, the Indian Head pennies don’t feature a Native American at all. In fact, the “Indian” on this penny is actually a Caucasian representative portrait of Miss Liberty, who in this case was modeled after Longacre’s daughter, Sarah. As a sidenote, Longacre also designed the U.S. two-cent piece, which in 1864 became the first coin to bear the motto IN GOD WE TRUST.