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Indian head cent 1865 with Longacre´s L initial


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looks like one of Longacre´s signed obverse dies had a chance to combine with a 1865 reverse die:




United States of America, Philadelphia mint, engraver James Barton Longacre, 1865 AD., "Indian Head Cent", type minted 1864-1909,

1 Cent (19 mm / 3,13 g), bronze (95% Copper, 5% Tin and Zinc), mintage 35.429.286 , coin alignment ↑↓ , plain edge,

Obv.: UNITED STATES - OF AMERICA / 1865 , Liberty wearing a feathered headdress, which looks similar to an American Indian war bonnet, text LIBERTY appears on the band of the headdress, designer´s initial L on ribbon in Liberty´s hair to the right of her neck; small drilling attempt on top.

Rev.: ONE / CENT , within a wreath of oak and olive tied at the base with a ribbon with a Federal shield above.

KM 90a, unlisted var. for that year (tiny letter "L" on the obverse lower ribbon) .


Designer James Barton Longacre finally received credit for the design of the Indian Head Cent (five years after its introduction!) when the tiny letter "L" was placed on the lower ribbon on the front of the coin. With an estimated mintage of 5,000,000 pieces, the 1864-L is widely recognized as one of the most important varieties in the series. The 1864-L has a distinct, pointed bust so that even low-grade coins with the "L" worn off can be easily identified. For 1865 this tiny letter "L" on the obverse lower ribbon is not listed in KM.



Or is this only missing in Krause?




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The "L" was incorporated into the obverse dies sometime in 1864 and remained on all Indian Head Cents produced from that time forward. I haven't checked but I guess it's possible that there would be post 1864 cents without the "L" as dies were often reused for years. There are in fact proof 1864-L cents that may have been struck in around 1871 to meet collector demand for 1864-L proofs. (See Q.D.Bowers, "A Buyer's and Enthusiast's Guide to Flying Eagle and Indian Head Cents", page 303 Die Pair 2 (restrikes).)

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So my Krause 1801-1900 (4th edition) is incomplete listing only the 1864 L variant?



I think they list the 1864-L variety because for 1864 you have:

1864 Copper Nickel

1864 Brass

1864-L Brass


where as from 1865 and forward they all have the L.

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