The Indian Head $10 Gold Coin

The Indian Head $10 Gold Coin was another result of Roosevelt’s want for change in the US coinage as well as his collaboration with Bela Lyon Pratt, the one who made coin’s model. Unlike any other coin series, the Indian Head has a design that is dramatically different from the Indian Head $2.50 and the Indian Head $5 Gold Coin. Like most gold coins, the Indian Head $10 remains popular among coin collectors and dealers alike.

The History of the Indian Head $10 Gold Coin

President Roosevelt’s interest in the art of numismatic peaked when he was urged by some friends to create a new inaugural medal. Since Roosevelt was already unhappy with the current medal made by Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan, US Mint Engravers, he agreed and commissioned a famous sculptor named Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

However, due to Saint-Gaudens’ hectic schedule, he was only able to create a sketch of his design on a paper napkin while he was on the way to Washington riding on a train. Saint-Gaudens told President Roosevelt that he will leave the actual work on a trusted associate, a 34-year-old German-born Adolph A. Weinman.

The inauguration medal made by Saint-Gaudens and Weinman received widespread praises from both the public and collectors alike. Although the current Chief Engraver of that time, Charles E. Barber was not completely willing on the design, Roosevelt reigned over the decision. Even though Saint-Gaudens’ health was rapidly deteriorating, Roosevelt rallied him back to health just so to finish the designs.

Saint-Gauden wasted no time and began his work. He made different designs for the obverse as well as the reverse. The obverse design has a Miss Liberty with a full figure, and the other one only bearing Miss Liberty’s bust profile. As for the reverse, one has the Eagle on a standing position, while the other one features the Eagle on a flying position.

Saint-Gauden personally preferred the one obverse design with the profile bust and the standing eagle, but Roosevelt has other plans. Finally, after constant communication with President Roosevelt, it was decided in the end that a combination would be used on the $10 Indian Head.

Unlike the Indian Head $2.50 and $5 Gold Coins, the new $10 God Coin feature Miss Liberty with a war bonnet on instead of her Laurel crown. The headdress bears the word LIBERTY. Thirteen stars are seen above Miss Liberty’s profile bust in a form of an arc, while the date is inscribed below her.

For the reverse, an Eagle is seen standing on a bundle of arrows. The motto E PLURIBUS UNUM is inscribed on the right side of the eagle. The legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is in a form of an arc right above the eagle. The denomination TEN DOLLARS can be seen under the eagle.

In 1907, the first Indian Head $10 Gold Coins were struck. The first ones minted are 500 “wired edge” pieces” that bears no raised rim, unlike most US dollar coins – with each coin having 46 raised stars found on the edges symbolizing the 46 states in the US plus one satin proof coin with a plain edge. All coins bear triangular-shaped inscriptions for the motto and legend. However, since the wire-edged coin was impractical and not to mention not easy to stack, the next issue needed to be of a different edge.

The next pieces minted were 31,550 coins protected by sharply raised rims called “Rolled Edge.” These too were subjected to public criticism due to the striking quality that proved to be unsatisfactory. Because of this, the US Mint decided to melt of these pieces except for 42 of these “rolled edged” coin. Even if the said coin was never released for public commerce, these are considered as business strike coins intended for circulation.

With the pressure hanging on the US Mint’s shoulders, Barber made slight modifications on the coin to get the new $10 coin into the circulation. He opted to exclude the triangular periods, and the Indian Head $10 Gold Coin finally made it into the circulation.

Finally, in the fall of 1907, the first regular strike coins were 239,406 rolled edge pieces from the Philadelphia Mint up until 1908. The design no longer bears the motto IN GOD WE TRUST as Roosevelt felt God’s name shouldn’t be included in the coinage as no one knows how these coins will be used. However, on the latter part of 1908, the Congress argued that the Act of March 3, 1865, clearly stated that all coins are mandated to have the motto, and was soon placed on the left side of the eagle.

Three US Mints produced the Indian Head $10 Gold Coin – Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco. The mintmark for Denver is D, S for San Francisco while coins struck in the Philadelphia Mint bears no mint mark. 1933 was the last year or issuance of the Indian Head $10 series as President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6260 aimed to stop all gold coin and notes circulation. Most of the 1933 Indian Head $10 coins were melted along with hundreds of thousands of historic gold coins. These were turned into featureless gold ingots.

Detailed Specifications of the Indian Head $10 Gold Coin

US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1908-G$10-Indian Head (motto), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The first Indian Head $10 Gold Coin minted has 46 raised star edge, but was later on replaced with a rolled edge. It weighs approximately 16.70 grams and has a diameter of 26.80 mm. These were designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens and are made up of 90% Gold and 10% Copper.

The obverse features Miss Liberty in a war bonnet with the word LIBERTY written on it. Thirteen stars in a form of an arc can be seen on top of Miss Liberty’s profile bust while the date is inscribed below.

For the reverse, a standing Eagle is perched on a bundle of arrows and an olive branch, with the inscription E PLURIBUS UNUM on the Eagle’s right side. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA can be seen in a form of an arc on top of the Eagle while the denomination ONE DOLLAR is inscribed below.

The Four Types of the Indian Head $10 Gold Coin according to PCGS CoinFacts

  1. Type 1 Wire Edge Indian Head $10 Gold Coin

1907 Wire Edge Indian Head $10 Gold –  500 pieces mintedin Philadelphia

  1. Type 2 Rolled Edge Indian Head $10 Gold

Regular Strike

1907 Rolled Edge Indian Head $10 Gold – 42 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Proof

1907 Rolled Edge Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 1 piece minted in Philadelphia

 

  1. Type 3 No Motto Indian Head $10 Gold

    US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1907-G$10-Indian Head (no motto), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

Regular Strike

1907 No Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 42 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1908 No Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 33,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1908-D No Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 210,000 pieces minted in Denver

  1. Type 4 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold

    US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1908-G$10-Indian Head (motto), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

Regular Strike

1908 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 341,370 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1908-D With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 836,500 pieces minted in Denver

1908-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 59,850 pieces minted in San Francisco

1909 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 184,089 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1909-D With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 121,540 pieces minted in Denver

1909-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 292,350 pieces minted in San Francisco

1910 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 318,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1910-D With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 2,356,640 pieces minted in Denver

1910-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 811,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1911 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 505,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1911-D With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 30,100 pieces minted in Denver

1911-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 51,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1912 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 405,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1912-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 300,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1913 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 442,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1913-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 66,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1914 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 151,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1914-D With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 343,500 pieces minted in Denver

1914-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 208,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1915 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 38,400.00 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1915-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 59,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1916-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 138,500 pieces minted in San Francisco

1920-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 126,500 pieces minted in San Francisco

1920-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 1,014,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1930-S With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 96,000 pieces minted in San Francisco

1932 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 4,463,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1932 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 4,463,000 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1933 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold – 312,500 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Proofs

1908 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Matte Proof) – 116 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1908 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Satin Proof) – 116 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1908 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Roman Proof) – 116 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1909 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 116 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1909 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Matte Proof) – 74 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1910 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 204 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1911 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) 95 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1912 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 83 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1913 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 71 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1914 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 50 pieces minted in Philadelphia

1915 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Proof) – 75 pieces minted in Philadelphia

Collecting Indian Head $10 Gold Coins

All proofs are rare when it comes to collecting Indian Head $10 Gold Coins. As one of the most sought-after and popular gold US coin collection, it is important to note that the Proof series for this coin has two types and colorations. There are some Matte Proofs that has grainy luster like the 1908 and 1909, and 1911-1915 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Matte Proof) while the Satin or Roman Proofs have surfaces that are amazingly smooth like 1908 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Satin Proof) 1908 With Motto Indian Head $10 Gold (Roman Proof).

When grading Indian Head $10 Gold Coins, it is important to check on the wear on the Indian’s eye and cheek as well as the top portion of the wings of the Eagle. Some of the rarest dates to watch out for are the 1920-S, 1930-S and 1933 coins Proof coins, the 1920s Indian Head $10 Proofs the rarest as almost all three were melted. Other rare dates and mintmark sought after coin collectors are the 1909-D, 1911-D, 1913-S and the 1915-S regular strike coins.

One can purchase Indian Head $10 Gold Coins starting at $680.00-$1,500,000

For the Price Range set by PCGS-graded Indian Head $10 Gold Coins, you can use this link.

References:

PCGS, PCGS CoinFacts, NGC Coin, SBC Gold, JM Bullion