Since the 1850s, Native Americans have been proudly displayed on U.S. currency as an homage to their cultural importance and contributions to the country. While many of these early Native American Indian coins are rare and expensive, many other coins from the Buffalo Nickel to the Sacagawea Dollar are still part of impressive coin collections and current circulation. If you’re looking to add some Native American coins to your current haul, here are some Indian coins to get your hands on.
Native American Coins in Circulation
Starting in 2000, the U.S. Mint began production of the Sacagawea Dollar coin as an item purely for coin collectors. These coins featured a bust of Sacagawea on the obverse and a soaring eagle on the reverse. Only 5,500 of these coins were struck, and uncirculated versions can fetch a value of around $8.50.
In 2009, the mint began to produce the coins for regular circulation. When minting began in 2009, the mint decided to continue placing Sacagawea on the obverse, but the reverse featured various Native American settings and designs to celebrate Indian culture. Clad in manganese brass, these coins have a golden shimmer that separates them from the copper and nickel exteriors of other coins.
Types of Sacagawea Coins in Circulation
Currently, 1.2 billion of these coins are in circulation, making them easy to obtain and expand current coin collections. The reverse side of these coins include:
- 2009: Agricultural setting.
- 2010: The Great Tree of Peace.
- 2011: Wampanoag Treaty.
- 2012: Trade Routes in the 17th Century.
- 2013: Treaty with the Delaware.
- 2014: Lewis and Clark Expedition/Native American Hospitality.
- 2015: Native American contribution to building skyscrapers in New York.
- 2016: Native American contributions in WWI and WWII.
- 2017: Sequoyah, founder of Cherokee syllabary.
- 2018: Jim Thorpe.
- 2019: American Indians in the space program.
- 2020: Elizabeth Peratrovich.
Indian Head/Buffalo Nickel
One of the most valuable Native American coins is the Indian Head/Buffalo Nickel, minted between 1913 and 1937. Amateur coin collectors may confuse this for the 2005 Thomas Jefferson (obverse), buffalo (reverse) nickel, which is heavily circulated and still worth 5 cents. However, nickels with an Indian head on the obverse and a buffalo on the reverse can hold significant value depending on their circulation, condition, and year.
The Indian Head/Buffalo Nickel can range in value from $21 (1937 edition) to $110,000 (1916 “16 over 16” edition) for uncirculated types, and $1 (1935 to 1937 editions) to $6,000 (1916 “16 over 16” edition) for circulated coins. Over 1.2 billion of these Indian Head/Buffalo Nickels were minted, but experts can’t come to a consensus on how many still exist.
Indian Head Penny
Another popular Native American coin for collectors is the Indian Head penny. Minted from 1858 to 1909, this penny features an Indian head on the obverse and the phrase “one cent” surrounded by laurels on the reverse. Hundreds of millions of these pennies were produced and most range in value from $9 to $40.
With Native American coins making a comeback in collectors’ circles, there’s no better time than now to enhance your coin collection with an Indian penny, nickel, or dollar. Only a keen eye can tell the true value of a coin, so do your due diligence, and we can help.
As an Orange County coin dealer of new and old rare coins, we provide a numismatic experience that will guide you every step of the way. You might just end up with a Native American coin that’s the prize of your collection. Contact us for an appointment.