The Indian cent series has long been a top collector favorite, with its production spanning from 1858 through 1909. Designed by James Longacre, the Indian cent series is notable for its many rare dates, including the key date of 1877, semi-keys that include the 1908-S and 1909-S, and a bevy of varieties. Among these notable scarcities is the 1864 “L” on Ribbon, representing a mid-year change in 1864 that saw the inclusion of Longacre’s initial “L” on the ribbon hanging down from Miss Liberty’s feathered headdress and draping down her neck.
While 170 proof Indian cents were made in 1864, only around 35 were of the 1864 “With L” variety. All of these 1864 With L proof Indian cents are considered rare, but the finest of them all is elusive in every sense of the word. There exists a single specimen graded by Professional Coin Grading Service as PR65RDCAM — that is, Proof-65, Red with Cameo contrast. And it was sold in a 2016 Heritage Auctions event for an outstanding $152,750.
This coin reigns as one of the most valuable in this classic 19th-century series. It’s also a testament to the enduring love that collectors have for this obsolete series, one that few collectors ever encounter in circulation anymore yet those of all ages know, respect, and pursue.