1864 with “L” Ribbon Indian Cent: PCGS Coin of the Week

1864 L Indian Cent obverse

The 1864 with “L”  Ribbon Indian Cent is the Professional Grading Service’s (PCGS) Coin of the Week.

The Indian Cent is easily the most popular 19th-century U.S. coin when it comes to the number of collectors who assemble a complete run of the series of the period by date and mintmark. In production from 1859 through 1909, the Indian Cent spanned a half-century and spawned a number of rarities and varieties that still intrigue collectors of the 21st century. The Indian Cent was designed by James Longacre, whose name is one of the most prolific of all 19th-century U.S. Mint sculptor-engravers, with several outstanding credits to his name, including the designs of the U.S. two-cent piece, three-cent pieces, and Indian Princess $3 gold coinage, among others.

1864-L-Indian-Cent, reverse

When the Indian Cent debuted, it entered circulation with no outward notation as to who designed it, an honor paid in more recent years to coin designers by way of initials or other identifying symbols on the coin. This changed for Longacre in 1864, when a little “L,” serving as the initial of his last name, was placed mid-year on the lower ribbon hanging behind the neck of Miss Liberty on the obverse.

About the 1864 with “L” Indian Cent

The 1864 with “L” Indian Cent is the scarcer of the two varieties that year, the other absent Longacre’s initial. Most circulated examples trade for anywhere from $50 to $200 in well-worn grades and become increasingly scarcer in the higher grades. Uncirculated specimens with red color are especially rare. Yet, PCGS encapsulated one of the relatively few known gem examples as MS66RD. It was eventually sold by Heritage Auctions for $28,800 in April 2021.

Determining a Coin’s Price

A coin certified by a leading grading service combined with a reliable price guide is the cornerstone of consumer protection for a coin buyer. A consumer armed with a trustworthy price guide and the certified coin’s description and grade can be reasonably certain of getting good value. Match the certified coin’s exact description to the price guide, and you have the ballpark value of the coin.


Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions, HA.com. To subscribe to COINage magazine click here. 




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