Gold Values

The $10 Eagle denomination was established in the very first Coinage act, and the Eagle and its fractional variants were mainstays of the U.S. financial system for many years. 1933 marked the end of circulating U.S. Gold coinage and the death of the Eagle until the same name was used for a bullion coin in the 1980s.  

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.

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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.
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.”
Robert Scot’s response to complaints about the Scrawny Eagle reverse of his Half Eagle coins was the larger, dramatic Heraldic Eagle. Curiously, unknown numbers of Half Eagles dated 1795, 1796/5, 1797 with 16 Star obverse, and 1797 with 15 Star obverse all mysteriously began to appear in commerce.
In 1813, the only US gold coins that were being struck were the $5.00 Gold Half Eagles. The Half Eagle became the workhorse coin for the US Mint. John Reich’s design for the $5.00 Capped Left Head became popular immediately.
Over 9 million $5 Gold Liberty Heads were struck by all the U.S. Mints combined, but Charlotte and Dahlonega examples are among the most expensive and desirable. The rarest Philadelphia coins are those struck during the Civil War years when hoarding across the country was inevitable and widespread.
Roosevelt suggested to US Mint Director Frank Leach that on small coins if the designs were lower than the background, they would give a high relief effect to the viewer. Such coin and medal designs were already being experimented with by Boston Sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt. Read more about Pratt’s design.
The Liberty Head quarter eagle ran from 1840 to 1907. The Liberty head design was also known as the “Coronet Head”, and it was created by Christian Gobrecht. The design with minor modifications was used for the quarter eagle, half eagle and eagle during their run.
Learn more about Indian Head $2.50 Dollar Coin values & history on Find the value of your 1908-1929 Indian Head $2.50 Dollar Coin today!
Learn more about $5 Liberty Head Gold Coin values & history on Find the value of your 1839-1908 $5 Liberty Head Gold Coin today!
Learn more about 5 Dollar Indian Head Gold Coins values & history on Find the value of your 1908-1929 5 Dollar Indian Head Gold Coins today!
The Liberty Head eagle ran from 1838 to 1907. The Liberty head design was also known as the “Coronet Head”, and it was created by Christian Gobrecht.
There are a few known prototypes of 1907 as they were dialing the die in. These include the “wire rim” (so named because of the lip at the edge which was not meant to be part of the strike), then the rounded rim which came later. There were some minor design details like periods between words that changed as well.
The Quarter Eagle, Half Eagle and Eagle were foundational coins for American commerce. The value of these coins was linked to the Precious Metal used for the main coin of the denomination, with the Eagle being the base coin for Gold, the Dollar being the base coin for Silver and the Cent being the base coin for Copper.
The double eagle was one of the biggest mintages of coins at the time. Almost all of the Gold used for coinage was turned into double eagles. California and the western territories and states had a major shortage of Precious Metal coins.

More Guides for You

What is Bullion?

Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium all come in various forms and sizes to create a variety of options for investors and collectors.  

What is an Eagle?

Since the U.S. Mint’s American Eagle program began in 1986, Gold and Silver Eagles have remained a popular choice among both investors and collectors