John A. Kasson, an American envoy to Austria-Hungary, wanted a coin that would compete directly with the Swiss 20 Franc, Italian 20 Franc, French 20 Franc and Spanish 20 Pesetas, as the US $5.00 Gold Half Eagle was larger than all of its competitors. The “Stella” is a pattern $4.00 US gold coin, made of an ally called goloid, which was comprised of Silver, Gold, and Copper.
A standing full-body Miss Liberty directly faced the viewer. In her right hand, she held the torch of Liberty and in her left hand an olive branch. She is wearing a flowing gown, standing with one leg up on a rock. In the distance, the city of Washington DC can be seen as evidenced by the US Capitol Building.
The Coinage Act of March 3, 1849, authorized the denomination and the striking of a Double Eagle, $20.00 gold coin. James B. Longacre used the Christian Gobrecht Liberty Head Gold Coin design as his model. His Double Eagle design had a bust of Liberty facing left, her hair is pulled back in a bun at the back of her head, and the coronet she wears has “LIBERTY” inscribed.
The current $10 Gold Eagle was the Liberty Head design created in the 1840s by James Longacre. The design had remained unchanged for over 40 years. Saint-Gaudens instead created something more original and iconically more American.
As the price of gold continued to rise and hoarding was rampant, the size and weight of the $10 Gold eagle were reduced. Second Chief Engraver Christian Gobrecht, who did most of the designing while the Chief Engraver, William Kneass, was suffering a stroke, designed the new eagle that would be struck in 1838.
$10 Gold Capped Bust Right – Small Eagle – 1795 – 1797
The Coinage Act of 1792 created several denominations of United States coins, as well as Gold denominations, including the $2.50 Quarter Eagle, the $5.00 Half Eagle, and the $10 Gold Eagle. The first $10 Gold Capped Bust Right and other Gold coins were not struck until 1795 due to security and bonding concerns.
Robert Scot, Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint, created all three of the designs for the first $10 Gold Eagles and updated his reverse design after criticism of the Scrawny Eagle. He modeled the new eagle after the design of the Great Seal of the United States, but the obverse design was unchanged.
In 1807, Johan Matthias Reich was appointed Second Engraver at the United States Mint in Philadelphia. The Chief Engraver, Robert Scot, had designed all of the US coins currently in circulation, but he was now 62 and not in the best of health. With his eyesight failing, he reluctantly let Reich “modify his design.”