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$5 Gold, Liberty Head – 1839 – 1908

Christian Gobrecht and the $5 Gold Liberty Head 1839-1908

Christian Gobrecht was the Second Engraver of the US Mint but in 1835, the Chief Engraver, William Kneass, suffered a stroke and was incapacitated. Gobrecht assumed the Chief Engraver’s duties in the Fall of 1835 but he did not become the Chief Engraver of the US Mint until 1840.

In 1839, he was asked to redesign the $5 Gold, Classic Head, No Motto Half Eagle. Gobrecht designed a younger, thinner, more youthful Miss Liberty. Like her predecessor, she faced left, but her hair was not tousled locks. It was now neatly positioned on her head in a bun, with a braid at the end. She was still surrounded by 13 six-pointed stars with the date underneath her.

The eagle on the reverse became thinner but not scrawny. She still held arrows and an olive branch in her talons with “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around. The denomination was now spelled out as “FIVE D.” below the eagle. The eagle’s wingspan now reached from rim to rim.

(Gobrecht’s new style $5 Gold Half Eagle – Variety 1 – No Motto – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

This design remained unchanged until 1866 when a scroll with “E PLURIBUS UNUN” was added above the eagle on the reverse. The coins bearing that modification are known as “Variety 2 – With Motto.”

(Gobrecht’s Variety 2 – With  Motto – Obverse [left] – Reverse [right].)

The Variety-2 coins were minted from 1866 until 1908 when an entirely new design replaced them.

These No Motto Half Eagles were struck at five different US Mints:

  • Philadelphia (no mint mark)
  • Charlotte (C)
  • Dahlonega (D)
  • New Orleans (O)
  • San Francisco (S)

Over 9 million of these coins were struck by all of the mints combined but, of course, 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. Other scarce dates from the branch mints include:

  • 1842-C Small Date Variety
  • 1842-D Large Date Variety
  • 1861-C (The last coin struck at this mint before the mint was taken over by the Confederacy)
  • 1854-S Two are known but 268 were supposedly struck according to US Mint records.

New Orleans gold coin collectors are able to complete collections easier than those collecting Charlotte or Dahlonega coins. Proof issues from, Philadelphia exist beginning in 1859, but they were struck in very small quantities – from a low of 25 coins to a high of only 80 pieces.

Variety – 1

DateTypeMintageFine ValueUnc Value
1839Liberty Head No Motto118,143$600$10,000
1839-C & DLiberty Head No Motto17,205 & 18,939$2,800$28,000
1840 to 1841Liberty Head No Motto137,332 to 15,833$600$7,500
1840-C & DLiberty Head No Motto18,992 & 22,896$2,000$18,000
1841-DLiberty Head No Motto29,392$2,500$18,500
1841-OLiberty Head No Motto50?None existNone exist
1842 to 1846-OLiberty Head No Motto611,205 to 58,000$700$6,500
1842-C, Sm DateLiberty Head No Motto27,432$8,500$100,000
1842-C Lg DateLiberty Head No MottoIncluded$2,000$25,000
1842-D Sm DateLiberty Head No Motto59,608$2,000$15,000
1842-D Lg DateLiberty Head No MottoIncluded$3,000$60,000
1842-OLiberty Head No Motto16,400$2,500$30,000
1843-CLiberty Head No Motto44,277$1,500$15,000
1843-DLiberty Head No Motto98,452$2,000$12,000
1844-CLiberty Head No Motto23,631$2,000$25,000
1844-DLiberty Head No Motto88,982$2,000$20,000
1845-DLiberty Head No Motto90,629$2,000$12,000
1846-CLiberty Head No Motto12,995$2,000$20,000
1846-D BothLiberty Head No Motto80,294$2,000$12,000
1847 to 1861Liberty Head No Motto915,981 to 16,734$400$5,000
1847-C, D, OLiberty Head No Motto84,151 to 12,000$2,000$12,000
1848-C & DLiberty Head No Motto64,472 & 47,465$2,000$15,000
DateTypeMintageFine ValueUnc Value
1849-C & DLiberty Head No Motto64,823 & 39,036$2,000$20,000
1850-C & DLiberty Head No Motto63,591 & 43,984$1,750$15,000
1851-C & DLiberty Head No Motto62,710 & 49,176$1,750$12,000
1852-C & DLiberty Head No Motto72,574 & 91,584$1,750$10,000
1853-C & DLiberty Head No Motto66,571 & 89,678$1,750$7,500
1854-C & DLiberty Head No Motto39,283 & 56,413$1,750$10,000
1854-SLiberty Head No Motto268 (2 Known)$2,000,000$8,000,000
1855-C & DLiberty Head No Motto39,788 & 22,432$2,000$12,000
1855-OLiberty Head No Motto11,100$1,250$25,000
1856-C & DLiberty Head No Motto28,457 & 19,786$2,000$15,000
1856-OLiberty Head No Motto10,000$1,000$15,000
1857-C & DLiberty Head No Motto31,360 & 17,046$2,000$12,000
1857-OLiberty Head No Motto13,000$1,000$35,000
1858-C & DLiberty Head No Motto38,856 & 15,362$1,750$25,000
1858-SLiberty Head No Motto18,600$2,000$40,000
1859-C & DLiberty Head No Motto31,847 & 10,366$2,000$12,000
1859-SLiberty Head No Motto13,220$1,000$30,000
1860-C & DLiberty Head No Motto14,813 & 14,635$2,000$30,000
1860-SLiberty Head No Motto21,200$2,000$35,000
1861-CLiberty Head No Motto6,879$5,000$60,000
1861-DLiberty Head No Motto1,597$30,000$150,000
1861-S to 1866-SLiberty Head No Motto27,612 to 2,442$3,500$30,000
1864-SLiberty Head No Motto3,888$17,500$125,000
1865Liberty Head No Motto1,270$6,500$40,000

Variety – 2

DateTypeMintageFine ValueUnc Value
1866 to 1884-CCLiberty Head With Motto6,700 to 16,402$1,000$15,000
1868 to 1908Liberty Head with Motto5,700 to 421,874$400$2,500
1870-CCLiberty Head With Motto7,675$20,000$110,000
1871-CCLiberty Head with Motto20,770$5,000$75,000
1872-CCLiberty Head With Motto16,980$3,500$30,000
1873-CCLiberty Head with Motto7,416$7,500$175,000
1874-CCLiberty Head With Motto21,198$2,500$40,000
1875Liberty Head with Motto200$85,000$450,000
1875-CCLiberty Head with Motto11,828$3,500$100,000
1876-CCLiberty Head With Motto6,887$5,000$50,000
1876-S, 1877 & 1877-CCLiberty Head with Motto8,680 to 1,132$3,000$37,500
1878-CCLiberty Head With Motto9,054$5,000$90,000
1879-CC to 1883-CCLiberty Head with Motto82,817 to 13,886$1,500$25,000
1892-OLiberty Head With Motto10,000$2,000$20,000
1893-CCLiberty Head with Motto60,000$1,000$10,000

Expand your collection today and shop our assortment of $5 Liberty Half Eagle Coins (1839-1908).

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