Interesting Facts About the Indian Head Penny:
-- The designer James B. Longacre proposed the Indian Head penny as a quintessentially American coin. His model was his daughter Sarah rather than a real Native American.
-- The Indian Princess engraving represents Liberty. At the time, virtually every other U.S. coin denomination displayed Liberty.
-- Introduced in 1859 before the Civil War, the Indian Head penny was issued throughout the Frontier Era, including the height of the Indian Wars.
-- Because of their new copper-nickel content, the first Indian Head pennies were known as "nickels" (or "white cents"). When more hard nickel was needed for armaments during the Civil War, the penny's content changed to bronze in 1864. (The first nickel 5 cent pieces emerged in 1866.)
-- There was such a shortage of early Indian Head pennies that merchants privately minted many penny "tokens" to make change.
-- Minted from 1859-1909