Description and Analysis

Indian Cents

Description & Analysis

The San Francisco Mint cents of 1909 had the lowest production of any currency issue in the Indian Head series. Production ceased early in the year and was not resumed before the new Lincoln Cent dies were ready in early summer.

Collectors and speculators, aware of this issue's low mintage and last-year status, hoarded examples almost from the outset. As a result, Mint State and moderately worn coins are not nearly as rare as one would expect from such a diminutive output. The only rarities for the 1909-S Indian Head Cent are heavily worn pieces, as so few escaped detection long enough to wear down. Also somewhat scarce, though not truly rare, are fully red gems. In this case "red" is a relative term, as uncleaned Mint State pieces actually have a golden or brassy color, often with woodgrain toning streaks.

There are no varieties known for this issue, since it required so few dies. The typical piece is weakly struck at the feather tips, and this defect is one of several tests for authenticity of this often counterfeited or altered date.