Extremely Fine (10: 3,3,4). OK, the reason we don't say "1864 With L bronze", is because they all are! But hold on a minute! This is a copper-nickel 1864-L! The background of this is simple - the Mint changed from copper-nickel to bronze in May 1864. This was in accordance with the Mint Act of April, 22, 1864. Although The Mint Director at the time, James Pollock requested that there be no change in design at that time, Mint Engraver, James Longacre did a slight redesign of the obverse Indian head anyway. This sharper design included his initial - a tiny letter "L" on the ribbon below the base of the last feather. All Indian cents thereafter would have the L, but in 1864 there exist With L and No L obverse designs. Collectors are very familiar with the three variations - copper-nickel (no L); bronze (No L); bronze (With L). For collectors the "With L" copper-nickel does not exist. EXCEPT - Here it is!
The 1864-L CN was previously known in both proof and non-proof formats. The proofs are listed as patterns (J-358) and share dies with the rare 1864-L bronze proofs. Three are known. The non-proofs are from different dies. Four are known. This XF45 and a XF40 example are problem-free. A third is in a J-358-attributed holder by NGC as AU Improperly cleaned. The fourth is heavilly corroded and was sold by EERC over 10 years ago for over $5,000.
The placement of this coin by grading services is not settled yet. Is it a pattern? I don't think so, as they don't match the proof dies and were released into circulation. Is it an off-metal error? Possibly. It is similar to the 1982-D Small Date bronze Lincoln cent (one known) in that it is struck in the same year in both metals and designs, but only not in the present combination. It is a regular issue? Ha! If it were it would be the rarest regular issue cent! We can only hope.
If you want a nearly-unique addition to your Indian cent collection, this would be it!