In 1873, a ceremony was held for Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration for his second term as president. For the ceremony, 150 canaries were brought in and intended to please guests with their singing, though the weather was not the best and all of the canaries froze to death. This 1873 Indian head cent recalls this inauguration accident.
Nickel is a very difficult metal to work with in the coinage process. It was also fairly expensive, with the result that the copper-nickel Indian Cents of 1859-1864 cost more to produce than they were worth in face value. Clearly an alternative alloy was needed for this denomination. The Civil War may have provided the final impetus for removing nickel from the Cent since the copper-nickel pieces were among the many coins hoarded in the Eastern states and exported.
The Mint Act of April 22, 1864 called for production of Cents in bronze, an alloy of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc. The design remained the same as that introduced in 1860 (Longacre's Indian motif with Oak Wreath and Shield reverse).
The bronze Indian Cent was produced through 1909. It is the most frequently encountered type in the Indian Cent series, and includes many popular rarities: the first-year 1864 with the designer's initial L on the obverse; the 1873 Doubled LIBERTY Mint error; the low-mintage 1877; the 1869/9 repunched date; the 1888/7 overdate; the intriguing 1894 Doubled Date; and the final-year 1909-S. Additionally, many of the early bronze issues from the late 1860s and early 1870s are conditionally challenging and very challenging to locate in the finer Mint State grades, particularly with fully intact mint luster.