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What You Need To Know About Gold $1 Liberty Head Coins

Shows Type 1, 2, and 3 Gold dollar coins against a faded orange background
Shows Type 1, 2, and 3 Liberty Head Gold dollar coins side-by-side.

Liberty Head Dollars are extremely popular and widely sought-after American coins. The first dollar coin used in the United States was minted in Gold in 1849. The Liberty Head Gold dollars were very small, only 13 millimeters wide, and are some of the smallest coins made for circulation in the U.S. 

This Gold coin was minted from 1849 to 1854, and in those six years different rarities formed from mostly the Charlotte (C) and Dahlonega (D), making those coins with slight variations with less than 10,000 minted of each issue scarcer and more valuable. The Philadelphia and New Orleans (O) mints also struck these Liberty Head Dollars, but they produced far more coins, making these mintages not as valuable as their Charlotte and Dahlonega counterparts. 

Overall, the Liberty Head Dollars are hard to find today, with only a few hundred surviving coins available from the scarcer issues.  

Below is a chart that represents the pricing data for U.S. $1.00 Liberty Head Gold Dollars by type. These prices are shown for typical examples of the coins since rarer dates and mintmarks cost more.  

Type Date Range Very Fine Extremely Fine Almost Uncirculated Uncirculated Choice Uncirculated Gem Uncirculated 
I 1849-1854 $275 $300 $375 $500 $800 $2,500 
II 1854-1856 $400 $550 $700 $1.400 $4.500 $20,000 
III 1856-1889 $275 $325 $400 $625 $850 $1,250 

Three different types of Liberty Head Dollars are distinguished by various factors. We explore the three types and what makes them unique below. 

$1.00 Gold Coins – Liberty & Indian Heads  

There are 3 different types of $1.00 Gold coins:  

  • Type 1 – 1849 to 1854 – Liberty Head  
  • Type 2 – 1854 to 1856 – Indian Head or Indian Princess Head  
  • Type 3 – 1856 to 1889 – Indian Head or Indian Princess Head 

You can see that all three styles have overlapping dates of mintage. Types 1 and 2 have coins dated 1854, while Types 2 and 3 both have coins dated 1856. The designs were changed from Type 1 to Type 2 because these coins were too small for commerce.  

 We look at the design to tell the Types apart with overlapping dates. 

Type 1 coins are all Liberty Head. They are the smallest of the 3 as they are only 13mm in size. The design looks like this:  

Type 2 coins are Indian Head (sometimes called Indian Princess Head). They are larger at 15mm. The design looks like this:  

The depiction of Miss Liberty displays she is wearing a headdress of feathers, which is why it is called the “Indian Head” or “Indian Princess Head.” The reverse design is also different and more ornate.  

Type 3 coins are also called “Indian Head,” but the size of head is LARGER than on the Type 2 coins. These coins are the same size, so the difference is in the style and size of the head. The design appears like this:  

Comparing a Type 2 next to a Type 3 – the portrait is larger; the headdress is different and not as slanted: 

Type 2

Type 3

The design changed because the Type 2 coins had a more ornate design in the headdress. Many Type 2 coins were not well-struck because of the design. Type 2 coins are the scarcest type.   

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