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$5 Gold, Classic Head – No Motto 1834 – 1838

The 1834-38 $5 Gold Liberty Half Eagle Classic Head No Motto

Chief Engraver of the US Mint, William Kneass, was told by the Director of the Mint, Samuel Moore, to redesign the $5 Gold Liberty Half Eagle coin. Kneass’ Miss Liberty was younger, thinner, had more hair and had a more masculine appearance. Kneass designed Miss Liberty to face left, her hair flowing down her neck. She wore a headband that was inscribed with the word “LIBERTY” on it. She was surrounded by 13 six-pointed stars and the date was directly under her bust. On the reverse, the eagle remained the same but the scroll with “E PLURIBUS UNUM” on it was removed. The legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and the denomination “5 D.” remained as previous.

(1834 $5 Gold Liberty Half Eagle, No Motto Variety – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

In 1834, 657,460 coins were struck between the two varieties – a plain 4 in the date and a crosslet 4. No one knows the breakdown of each but the Crosslet 4 variety is significantly more expensive.

The following year, 1835, there were 371,534 coins were minted using either a script-style 8 in the date or a block-style 8. In 1836, there were 553,147 coins were struck and they also had to deal with the Script 8 and Block 8 digits in the date. By 1837, the issue of style still had not been resolved but only 207,121 coins were struck.  

During the final year of striking, 1838, the Philadelphia Mint’s production moved up to striking 286,588 coins. The newly-opened mints in both Charlotte (NC) and Dahlonega (GA) began to strike these coins with 17,179 coming from Charlotte and 20,583 coming from Dahlonega. As this was the first time that mintmarks were required, the “C” and “D” mintmarks were awkwardly placed on the obverse of the coin, just above the date.

(The 1838-C from Charlotte (NC) [left] and the 1838-D from Dahlonega (GA) [right] with OBVERSE Mintmarks above the date.)

The 1834 Crosslet 4 variety coin and both of the 1838 branch mint coins from Charlotte and Dahlonega are the most expensive and most difficult coins to find.

DateTypeMintageFine ValueUnc Value
1834 Plain 4Liberty Head, No Motto657,460$600$8,000
1834 Crosslet 4Liberty Head, No MottoIncluded$2,000$25,000
1835Liberty Head, No Motto371,534$500$6,500
1836Liberty Head, No Motto553,147$500$7,500
1837Liberty Head, No Motto207,121$500$9,000
1838Liberty Head, No Motto286,588$600$8,500
1838-CLiberty Head, No Motto17,179$6,000$125,000
1838-DLiberty Head, No Motto20,583$7,000$60,000

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