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U.S. Ten Dollar Gold Coins

★★★★★ Capped Bust Eagle ★★★★★

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Draped Bust $10 Gold Coin (Type 1) Obverse Draped Bust $10 Gold Coin (Type 1) Reverse

Type 1 Capped Bust Eagle
Small Eagle (1795 1797)

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Draped Bust $10 Gold Coin (Type 2) Obverse Draped Bust $10 Gold Coin (Type 2) Reverse

Type 2 Heraldic Eagle
(1797 1804)

While the eagle was supposed to be the nation's primary gold coin, for international trade, most bankers and traders preferred the half eagle. Their argument was that the eagle was too small for large trades and too large for small trades, besides, the half eagle matched other (foreign) gold coins more closely. The eagle was also unpopular at home (each eagle represented about one weeks wages for one worker).

A right-facing Liberty wearing a soft cap is featured on the obverse. Liberty has long flowing hair down her back and curling from under her cap. The hair that is wrapped from the back around the cap may account for the "Turban Head" name often given to the coin.

The Mint, responding to criticisms of the "scrawny" eagle on the first eagles, changed the design to a heraldic eagle. Some believed the change was a response to a preference for symbols reminiscent of a European tradition. If so, the eagle and shield motif of the Great Seal of the United States fit that need.

The eagles of this era that have survived (200 years) are generally in excellent condition and probably escaped being melted down in Europe because they were keepsakes or part of someone's savings. A few proof-like circulation strikes have been identified, but no proofs are known for the three-year type.

Census and population reports show a few hundred Capped Bust Eagle, Small Eagle coins (most are 1795 issues) and a few thousand Capped Bust Eagle, Heraldic Eagle certifications. All pieces (large and small eagle) are expensive, even at low grades; anything finer than VF is extremely expensive, with prices approaching a half million dollars for the large eagle, and one million for the small eagle if in Gem and finer condition.


Type 1 and Type 2 Specs.

Designer: Robert Scot
Content: 91.7% gold 8.3% other
Diameter: 33 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 17.5 grams
Mint Mark Location: None (All were struck in Philadelphia)
Type 1 and Type 2 Mintage

Date/Mint Circulation Strikes
Type 1 Small Eagle
1795 5,583
1796 4,146
1797 3,615
Type 2 Heraldic Eagle
1797 10,940
1798 1,742
1799 37,449
1800 5,999
1801 44,344
1803 15,017
1804 3,757

Draped Bust Eagle (Small Eagle) Grading

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Draped Bust Eagle (Large Eagle) Grading

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Liberty Head Eagle 1838 - 1907

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Liberty Head $10 Gold Coin (Type 1) Obverse Liberty Head $10 Gold Coin (Type 1) Reverse

Type 1 Liberty Head Eagle
Covered Ear (1838)

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Liberty Head $10 Gold Coin (Type 2) Obverse Liberty Head $10 Gold Coin (Type 2) Reverse

Type 2 Ear Showing
No Motto (1839 - 1866)

Early in 19th century, the upheaval of the Napoleonic Wars resulted in a worldwide surge in gold prices. The U.S. Mint was statutorily bound to the weight specifications of its coins and 15 to 1 silver/gold ratio. This was required by the Act of 1792. Fluctuating market prices wreaked havoc larger gold coin. The $10 Capped Bust Eagle contained an ounce of gold, worth 15 ounces of silver in the United States, but it was worth 15½ ounces of silver in Paris. This motivated bullion dealers to buy gold coins in the United States, (mostly with South American silver), and ship them to Paris to be sold for a profit. By 1813 the ratio of silver to gold would reach 16¼:1. Soon, about 98% of all U.S. gold coins were melted down in Europe.

Gold eagle production was halted in 1804 by President Thomas Jefferson. In 1834 the Mint Act resolved the problem of gold being exported to Europe by reducing the gold content of U.S. coins, thus making it unprofitable to melt them. Mintage resumed in 1838, but even with a reduced gold content, eagle production remained low.

To denote the change in gold content, engraver Christian Gobrecht was instructed to prepare a new design. The design was said to be influenced by a portrait of Venus in the painting by Benjamin West "Love Conquers All".

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Liberty Head $10 Gold Coin (Type 3) Obverse Liberty Head $10 Gold Coin (Type 3) Reverse

Type 3 Ear Showing
With Motto (1866 - 1907)

A minor change to Liberty's portrait and reverse lettering size was made in 1839. This revisions most notable feature was exposed Liberty's ear.

In 1866 the addition of a banner displaying "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the reverse was added, it was the only other change and the coin remained virtually the same until 1907.

Prices at Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades are moderate. Coins certified as Gem and above are rare and sell at significant multiples of near-Gem coins of the same year. In the lower grades, some branch mint coins sell from two to four time higher than Philadelphia coins, however, this is not true of higher Mint States. Some proof like circulation strikes have been certified. All proofs are expensive (especially 1838 and 1839).


Liberty Head Eagle Specs.

Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Content: 90% gold 10% other
Diameter: 26.8 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 16.7 grams
Mint Mark Location: Below the eagle on the reverse.
Liberty Head Eagle Mintage

Date/Mint Circulation StrikesDate/MintCirculation Strikes Date/MintCirculation Strikes
Type 1 Covered Ear
Type 2 Exposed Ear No Motto
184163,131 1841-O2,500
184281,507 1842-O27,400
184375,462 1843-O175,162
18446,361 1844-O118,700
184526,153 1845-O47,500
184620,095 1846-O81,780
1847862,258 1847-O571,500
1848145,484 1848-O35,850
1849653,618 1849-O23,900
1850291,451 1850-O57,500
1851176,328 1851-O263,000
1852263,106 1852-O18,000
1853201,253 1853-O51,000
185454,250 1854-O52,500 1854-S123,826
1855121,701 1855-O18,000 1855-S9,000
185660,490 1856-O14,500 1856-S68,000
185716,606 1857-O5,500 1857-S26,000
18582,521 1858-O20,000 1858-S11,800
185916,013 1859-O2,300 1859-S7,000
186015,055 1860-O11,100 1860-S5,000
1861113,164 1861-S15,500
186210,960 1862-S12,500
18631,218 1863-S10,000
18643,530 1864-S2,500
18653,980 1865-S16,700
Date/MintCirculation Strikes Date/MintCirculation Strikes Date/MintCirculation Strikes
Type 3 Exposed Ear With Motto
18663,750 1866-S11,500
18673,090 1867-S9,000
186810,630 1868-S13,500
18691,830 1869-S6,430
18703,990 1870-S8,000 1870-CC5,908
18711,790 1871-S16,500 1871-CC8,085
18721,620 1872-S17,300 1872-CC4,600
1873800 1873-S12,000 1873-CC4,543
187453,140 1874-S10,000 1874-CC16,767
1875100 1875-CC7,715
1876657 1876-S5,000 1876-CC4,696
1877797 1877-S17,000 1877-CC3,332
187873,780 1878-S26,100 1878-CC3,244
1879384,740 1879-S224,000 1879-O1,500
18801,644,840 1880-S506,250 1880-O9,200
18813,877,220 1881-S970,000 1881-O8,350
18822,324,440 1882-S132,000 1882-O10,820
1883208,700 1883-S38,000 1883-O800
188476,860 1884-S124,250 1884-CC9,925
1885253,462 1885-S228,000
1886236,100 1886-S826,000
188753,600 1887-S817,000
1888132,921 1888-S648,700 1888-O21,335
18894,440 1889-S425,400
189057,980 1890-CC17,500
189191,820 1891-CC103,732
1892797,480 1892-S115,500 1892-O28,688
18931,840,840 1893-S141,350 1893-O17,000
18942,470,735 1894-S25,000 1894-O107,500
1895567,770 1895-S49,000 1895-O98,000
189676,270 1896-S123,750
18971,000,090 1897-S234,750 1897-O42,500
1898812,130 1898-S473,600
18991,262,219 1899-S841,000 1899-O37,047
1900293,840 1900-S81,000
19011,718,740 1901-S2,812,7501901-O72,041
190282,400 1902-S469,500
1903125,830 1903-S538,000 1903-O112,771
1904161,930 1904-O108,950
1905200,992 1905-S369,250
1906165,420 1906-S457,000 1906-O86,895
19071,203,899 1907-S210,500

Liberty Eagle Grading

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Indian Head $10 Eagle 1908-1933

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Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 1) Obverse Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 1) Reverse

Type 1 Wire Edge
No Motto with Periods

Some believed the obverse to be Henrietta (Hettie) Anderson, others say the Indian was modeled after a figure of Nike (Victory). For the reverse, Saint-Gaudens adapted a standing eagle which had been used before on the inaugural medal created for Theodore Roosevelt in 1905.

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Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 2) Obverse Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 2) Reverse

Type 2 Rolled Edge
No Motto with Periods

The wire and rolled rim motif differs from most circulation issue in that there are raised periods before and after the reverse inscriptions. Some of these coins are called "Proof", but since all are struck from the same pair of dies, they are all Mint State, or they are all Proofs.

The coinage of the 1907 with wire rim on the obverse and periods after the legend on the reverse is unknown. Estimates vary slightly, but 500 to 550 would seem to be the best guess, but at least 70 of these were melted in 1914-1915. The exact figures will never be known (assuming some uncovered or long-hidden records are not found). Current estimates of the population is 325 - 375, all with semi-lustrous (some where between matte and mint frost) surfaces.

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Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 3) Obverse Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 3) Reverse

Type 3 Rounded Edge
No Motto w/o Periods

The exact mintage of the "rolled edge" Eagle is unknown, it has been estimated from 20,000 to 34,100. However, most were melted at the mint, and an estimated population of 50 coins is believed to have survived

After testing, it was found that these Indian Head coins (Wire Rim - Mintage 500) would not stack, a problem for commerce, and the modified rounded rim (Rolled Rim - Mintage 42) would still not stack satisfactorily.

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Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 4) Obverse Indian Head Gold $10 Coin (Type 4) Reverse

Type 4 Rounded Edge
With Motto w/o Periods

Since the wire rims would not stack well, it was left to Charles Barber to make additional changes (he had changed the raised rim to the rounded rim) so that the coin could be produced efficiently and in large enough quantities for commerce. Barber's artistic efforts were criticized, but the technical changes were successful in terms of coin production.

That phrase IN GOD WE TRUST appeared on the previous Liberty Head eagles, and was in fact mandated by the Act of March 3, 1865, but it was left off by Saint-Gaudens. Some say that the omission was approved by Teddy Roosevelt, who apparently believed that placing religious references on circulating coinage was blasphemy: the same coin that appeared in this week's offering plate may be used to gamble with next week. Congress disagreed with Roosevelt, encouraged by strong public opinion, the motto was added to reverse later in 1908.


Indian Head Eagle Spec.

Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Content: 90% gold 10% other
Diameter: 26.8 millimeters
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 16.7 grams
Mint Mark Location: Left of the arrowheads on the reverse.

Indian Head Eagle Mintage

Type 1, 2 and 3
Year/MintCirculation Strikes Year/MintCirculation Strikes Year/MintCirculation Strikes
190833,500 1908-D210,000
1908341,370 1908-D836,500 1908-S59,850
1909184,789 1909-D121,540 1909-S292,350
1910318,500 1910-D2,356,640 1910-S811,000
1911505,500 1911-D30,100 1911-S51,000
1912405,000 1912-S 300,000
1913442,000 1913-S 66,000
1914151,000 1914-D343,500 1914-S208,000
1915351,000 1915-S59,000

Indian Head Eagle Grading

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First Spouse Eagles

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First Spouse Start