US Coins

Lincoln cent rolls yield Indian Heads

Found in Rolls column from Dec. 14, 2015, issue of Coin World:

The coins described here were discovered while searching through $20 worth of cent rolls that I got in September.

If you are wondering why I decided to include them in my column for December, there were several reasons. The first is that I didn’t finish looking through all 40 rolls until the beginning of November. 

The second was that I was finding a relatively large number of Indian Head cents within those wrappers and I wanted to have a completed picture of how many older coins I would find. Also, I wanted to know what dates I would ultimately find on the total number of Indian Head cents as they were emerging from the rolls.

Finally, my most compelling reason was that I simply wanted to save the best until last by including these coins in my final column written for 2015. 

The single coin shown here is one of what turned out to be a total of 13 pre-Lincoln cents that I was happily able to add to my collection. Dates discovered were 1893, 1896, 1897 (two), 1898 (two), 1899, 1900, 1901 (two), 1905 (two), and 1906. 

One of the 1897 Indian Head cents would grade About Good 3 while the rest of the early cents discovered would be graded Good 4. Indian Head cents graded higher than Good 4 need to have some letters of LIBERTY showing on the Indian’s headband and none of these coins had any evidence of such lettering.

Something that I found to be a little unusual is that some of the individual coins exhibited a difference in the toning when comparing the obverse to the reverse. A few of the coins had a greenish to bluish tint on the obverse while the reverse was toned a rich reddish brown. 

If I had to guess, I would think that these Indian Head cents might have spent a portion of their past pressed reverse-down into a coin folder of some type. The similarity in toning from one coin to another might indicate that they were, at one time, part of someone’s collection. 

Also found within the same batch of rolls were three lonely Lincoln, Wheat cents. The dates found on those Lincolns were 1944, 1951-D, and 1953-S.

These Lincoln cents were so badly decomposed or damaged that I simply dumped them back into the “done” pile and rerolled them before I brought them back to the bank to be cashed in.

Please share your favorite finds with me by emailing

Community Comments