Digit Punch Types

If you look through the Indian Cents long enough, you will begin to notice subtle differences between the type faces of the date’s digits. These differences can be called digit punch types. Two different digit punch types were used in 1865 and 1873. Documentation on why a change was made in 1865 has not been found, but mint records show that the digit punch in 1873 was changed because it looked so similar to the date 1878.

1865 Digit Punches

1865 Fancy 5

1865 Plain 5

1873 Digit Punches

Upon issue in 1873, Indian Head Cents had a small date ending in a 3 that was indistinguishable from an 8 with the naked eye. The problem was quickly noticed at the mint, and on January 18th, 1873, Chief Coiner A. Louden Snowden wrote a letter of complaint to Mint Director James Pollock.

1873 Close 3

1873 Open 3

1873 Digit Punch Types Change -  Close 3 to Open 3 - Indian Head Cent Penny

1873 Digit Punch Change –  Close 3 to Open 3 – Indian Head Cent Penny


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