Description and Analysis

Indian Cents

Description & Analysis

With the new bronze cent a proven success, Mint Engraver James B. Longacre sought recognition for his popular design by placing his initial 'L' on the small ribbon adjacent to the lowest feather. Curiously, this letter is turned 90 degress clockwise from upright.

The 1864 bronze cents with letter L comprise a minority of this coinage, but they are not truly rare. Examples are nevertheless highly sought by collectors, though the L is hard to see on worn coins. Such pieces may still be identified easily by the fact that the L variety also has a pointed bust tip on the Liberty portrait, similar in style to the 1859 cents.

Mint state examples of the 1864 L cents are fairly scarce, and fully red gems are quite rare.

This issue is especially rich in die-punching varieties, and why this low mintage resulted in more significant varieties than the common No L issue is a mystery. The coin illustrated was struck from very worn dies, and its obverse die has suffered a bisecting crack.