Indian Head Cent Design Hub Types

Changes to the Indian Head Cent design occurred in 1860, 1864, 1870, 1886, and 1909. These different designs create entire avenues for collecting and research. For instance, 1864 is a very popular year not only because of the Civil War, but because the mint made design alterations and changed from copper-nickel planchets to bronze.

1860 Pointed/Rounded Bust Design Change

1864 No-L/L in Ribbon Design Change

1870 Reverse Indian Head Cent Design Changes

In 1870, the ONE CENT reverse master hub wa modified by William Barber, who succeeded James B. Longacre as Chief Engraver upon his death. There were three types of reverses:

  • Type I – This ‘Shallow N’ design was used 1864-1872, and in 1877. Rumors afloat of an 1873 Shallow N, but one has yet to be verified.
  • Type II – This transitional design has attributes of both the Shallow N and Bold N types. It is as if the engraver was interrupted mid-way through the redesign process, and an impression was pulled from his work. The bar of E in ONE will be trumpet-shaped, and the E in CENT will be T-shaped.
  • Type III – ‘Bold N’ is the nickname for this reverse type, but often it is easier to tell the difference between these reverse types by examining the shape of the Es’ middle bars. They will be either a hard T-shape or curved like the end of a trumpet.

Type I – Shallow N

Type III – Bold N

1886 Indian Head Cent Design Change

The difference here is that the letters of the obverse are in a different position relative to Liberty’s portrait. An easy way to distinguish the difference is to look at the last feather of Liberty’s headdress. Does it point below or above the C in AMERICA?