1864 Indian Cent, Bronze - 1864 Indian 1C Bronze, PCGS MS63 RB CAC. This Select Uncirculated, Civil War dated, red and brown 1864 Bronze Indian Cent is mainly red and has significant, original mint luster. The coin is toning slightly, but retains its natural color and look, which attest to its originality. Except for a couple of small dark spots on the reverse, the surfaces are clean for the grade. It is confirmed by the CAC sticker, which indicates that the coin is of premium quality and fully merits the grade assigned. The coin is well struck with full details on the ends of the feathers, the diamonds in the ribbon, and the leaf and shield elements.
James B. Longacre designed the Indian Cent. The obverse shows Liberty facing left in profile wearing a LIBERTY inscribed headdress. Her hair is combed back and over her ear and flows down beneath the truncation. A band with four diamonds is attached to the back of the headdress and comes over her hair past the truncation. She is surrounded with the inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA with the date below. The reverse shows the denomination written as ONE CENT surrounded by an oak wreath with a Union shield at the top and a ribbon holding the parts of the wreath and three arrows together below. Dentils are around the periphery of both sides of the coin, and the edge is plain.
Longacre was born in Pennsylvania in 1794. When he finished his apprenticeship in Philadelphia as a bookseller and a banknote engraver, he worked on his own as an engraver of book illustrations and bank notes. His works included one on the signers of the Declaration of Independence and another on stage personalities. In 1830, Longacre began a series of biographies of famous men in the military and the political arena. In 1834 the result of this series became the National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans that was published in four volumes. Longacre and those who worked with him became famous because of this work.
In 1844 Longacre came to work at the Mint. He was opposed by Franklin Peale, the Chief Coiner. Peale was probably responsible for some blundered dies that Longacre was criticized for making. Peal was involved in a private, illegal medal manufacturing business using Mint facilities. He was concerned that this new political appointee would interfere with his business, and he resisted Longacre’s appointment as Chief Engraver. Finally in 1854, Peale was fired by President Franklin Pearce. Longacre flourished in his position and was responsible for creating many new designs including the Indian Head cent, the two-cent piece, the Shield nickel, the Liberty Head gold dollar, the Indian Princess gold dollar, the three-dollar gold piece, and the Liberty Head double eagle.
There are two varieties of the 1864 bronze cent. The earlier version, of which the present coin is an example, has a rounded tip to the bust and no engraver’s initial. Later ones have a sharper point to the bust and Longacre’s initial L on the ribbon. This initial continued in use until the design was replaced with the Lincoln cent in 1909.
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