The Eisenhower Dollar

Our nation has produced many coins that did not rise in popularity when issued. It seems that all efforts of minting dollar coins in the 20th century were evidently, the last attempts as the public are no longer interested in using bulky and heavy coins for their everyday use. The 1971 Eisenhower Dollar, commonly called and also referred to as the “Ike Dollar,” is an example of such coins.

The Eisenhower Dollar was issued by the United States Mint way back in 1971 through 1978. This was a one-dollar coin that serves to commemorate the late General and two-term President Dwight David Eisenhower as well as the Apollo 11, the first spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the moon.

What makes the Eisenhower Dollar Coin special? The Ike Dollar Coin was the first large coin produced by the United States Mints after many years. The last large-sized coin produced was in 1935 – the year when the last series of the Peace Dollar was struck. It took more or less than 36 years before another batch of big and bulky coins were approved and produced in US Mints, and were circulated and issued to the public and collectors.

The Ike Dollar’s Historical Background

It was in March 1964 when the Treasury Department of the United States ordered to put a stop to the use of silver dollars. To everyone’s surprise, a vote was made by the Congress to mint additional silver dollars’ worth 45 Million dollars.

However, just after 316,076 coins were struck, the Mint’s machinery and manpower employment was terminated. Because of this, no coins were issued. Consequently, the Coinage Act of July 23, 1965 has included in its provision that no standard silver dollar coins will be coined within the next five years.

As the end of the Coinage Act’s five-year ban approached, the Treasury Department wanted to create a circulating dollar coin in honor of the two-term President Eisenhower, who was also a war hero. However, the idea was never considered as a serious matter even if there were some who wanted to sell the commemorative coin to coin collectors at that time.

It was only when Congressman Bob Casey of Texas inaugurated a bill that suggested the commemoration of both Eisenhower and the success of the Apollo II did the idea made a buzz in the House of Congress. It was around the time when the United States of America was able to beat Russia in successfully landing the first two men on the moon.

To say it was the perfect reason was an understatement. With Eisenhower’s authorization in creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or NASA, he did make the space mission a possibility. After a year of constant debates here and there, the bill was finally approved in its final and modified form on December 31, 1970. One can say it was what sealed the deal even if it took a while before it was approved.

As imposed by the Coinage Act of July 23, 1965, the new Ike Dollar coin will have a diameter and thickness like that of the coins previously minted. The only difference would be the design and the metal composition which would be a copper-nickel clad base. A clad coin is one that has different layers of metal on it.

Mary Brooks, the current Mint Director during that time, wanted to produce the coins as soon as possible. She appointed Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver to create the coin models as there was no time left to hold a public competition for the design. He featured Eisenhower on the obverse side (head of the coin that features that main design) since he authorized the creation of NASA way back in 1974, while the reverse (back of the coin) will include a design featuring the Apollo II mission.

The Obverse

Brandon Grossardt for the photograph; Frank Gasparro for the coin design., 1974S Eisenhower Obverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0

Gasparro designed both front and back of the coin. On the obverse of the coin which is commonly called the head of the coin, he settled on a bare-headed profile bust of the late President Eisenhower who was facing left. The legend “LIBERTY” was arranged in an arc just above Eisenhower’s head, while he placed the words “IN GOD, WE TRUST” below the late president’s chin. On the bust’s truncation lies Gasparro’s initials which are FG. The date was strategically placed at the bottom, as well as the mintmark if there is any above the date and to the right.

The Reverse

Brandon Grossardt for the photograph; Frank Gasparro for the coin design., 1974S Eisenhower Reverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 3.0

As for the reverse or the tails of the coin, Gasparro used the image Apollo II’s mission insignia. He used a bald eagle’s design carrying an olive branch with its clawed feet that were landing on a crater-pocked surface of the moon. The earth was also included in the design, having been used as a distant piece of the background from space. Centered just above the Eagle design, the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” was used while Gasparro arranged the legend “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” around the upper periphery in the form of an arc. He superimposed the value of the coin which was one dollar one the lower periphery of the moon’s surface. The earth, eagle, and motto were surrounded by an arc of stars and his initials FG can be seen on the eagle’s tail.

The Eisenhower Dollar was issued no later than November 1, 1971, but no one knows the exact reason why. After issuance of the coins, many collectors grabbed the opportunity to snap a good portion of these coins and even a few months after, eventually reaching the channels of commerce.

However, the truth was revealed when it became obvious that the public no longer wants to make use of coins that are big, bulky and heavy. Casinos may have welcomed the idea of using real dollar coins to supersede and replace their tokens which has the same size and dimension, yet they too became exhausted in using such coins. More often than not, casino players will take these coins at home, treating them as souvenirs and imagined them as rare coins since these were scarcely seen in public.

When the demand went downhill for the new Eisenhower dollar, the amount minted in 1973 was only enough to fulfill the orders made by collectors. Denver and Philadelphia only had minted a total mintage rate of 2 million each. San Francisco, on the other hand, only minted what was known as the “Blue Ike”. Such coins were the uncirculated (coins that have never been used in public and has no damages on it) edition of silver-clad coins. The regular proof sets (early coin samples meant to test dies and collected by coin enthusiasts) included a coined proof of the copper-nickel version at the beginning of 1973.

During the celebration of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution, the Ike Dollar received a makeover – a competition commenced to change the reverse design of the Eisenhower Dollar. In the end, Dennis R. Williams won when he cleverly used the Liberty Bell and Moon in his design.

William’s design represented both the past and the present. The Liberty Bell symbolizes freedom and liberty while the moon was a tribute to Gasparro’s original Ike Dollar design. The new Ike Dollar with the Bicentennial design carried the dates 1776-1976 and were coined in 1975-1976.

Subsequently, the dates in the Eisenhower Dollar Coins do not bear the year 1975 even though the coins were released in 1975.

The Eisenhower Dollar Minting and Composition

The Ike Dollar or the Eisenhower Dollars were minted in short duration– from 1971-1978 only. The first Eisenhower Dollar coin was struck (produced in Mints) in San Francisco, California. The date of the first strike was on March 31, 1971, at the United States Assay Office. The San Francisco Office produced Eisenhower Proof Coins at an estimated 20 million coins for four years.

Each coin went up for sale for $10. Proof coins are valuable because of their flawless appearance. The way they are made as just as intricate as the production of fine pieces of jewelry. They are fed to the proof-coining press by hand. The blank coins are highly polished and are struck not only once, but twice.

It was the first one dollar coin that was minted and released after switching copper-nickel clad composition from silver-based coins. The same compositions were used in coining nickels, quarters and half-dollars.

Differences between a Clad or Silver Eisenhower Dollar Coin

Composition

The Eisenhower Dollar Coin can be a clad coin or silver coin.

A clad coin is one that consists of multiple metal layers. The net composition of a Clad Ike Dollar Coin has 75% Copper and 25% Nickel on the outer side of the coin, while the inner side consists of 100% Copper.

The net composition of the outer layer of a Silver Ike Dollar Coin was composed of 80% silver and 20% Copper. The core is composed of 79.1 Copper and only 20.9% Silver. The total Silver content of a Silver Ike Dollar Coin is 40%. A Silver Edition Eisenhower Dollar Coin Proof has a silver amount of 0.3162 troy ounces (oz t).

Consequently, the new Ike Dollar Coins, the Bicentennial Ike Dollars were authorized to be minted with the same composition.

Diameter, Thickness, and Edge Type

Both the Clad and Silver Ike Dollar Coin has a diameter of 38.10mm and 2.58 thickness. Both also have Reeded edges.

Year of Production, Mint Location and Type

The Philadelphia Mint produced Ike Dollar Coins in the years 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1978. Philadelphia Mint produced only Clad type Ike Dollar Coins. In 1972, the three reverse varieties were born. In 1976, the Bicentennial Ike Dollar Coins were produced in Types 1 and 2 Clad Coins.

The Denver Mint produced Ike Dollar Coins with the Mint Mark D and produced only clad coins in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1978. They produced Types 1 and 2 Bicentennial Ike Dollar Coins in 1976.

The San Francisco Mint was the only Mint out of the three US Mints to produce both Clad and Silver Ike Dollar Coins as well as Proof Coins. Clad, Silver, and Proof Coins were produced in 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977 and 1978. Bicentennial Coins in Silver were produced in 1976.

As you can see, no Ike Dollar Coin was dated in the year 1975. The reason behind this was because, during the year 1975-1976, the Bicentennial Ike Coins which were special coins were minted or produced. Thus, no Ike Dollar Coin has the date 1975 on it.

The Eisenhower Dollar Coin which was produced by the San Francisco Mint has two varieties – one is the 1971-S Uncirculated Eisenhower Dollar and the second being the 1971-s Proof Eisenhower Dollar.

The total number of 1971-S Uncirculated Eisenhower Dollars produced was approximately 6,868,530. As for the 1971-s Proof Eisenhower Dollar, approximately 4,265,234 were struck. The value of each Silver Edition Coins is widely influenced by the prevailing value of Silver. However, Silver is usually priced at $20 per ounce. One can expect that the price for each uncirculated variety of the 1971-s Proof Eisenhower Dollar could be around $9. For the 1971-s Proof Eisenhower Dollar, it can be around $11.

Like any other coins, higher grades of Ike Dollar Coins are extremely hard to find. If you ever come across one, the price would be definitely higher than the ones you can easily find at dealers.  

The Three Different Varieties of the 1972 Edition Eisenhower Dollar Coin

The United States Mint was able to create three varieties of the Eisenhower’s Reverse design. All three reverse types were coined, issued and used on different coins with just one exception. The US Mint in Philadelphia struck the 1972 Ike Dollars at different times during the year, thus creating three varieties. One of the three types, however, represented a mintage rarity lower than the two.

What makes the varieties different from one another? The reverse of the Eisenhower coins has different appearances of the Earth while it sits on the background of the coin’s tail.

The Three Types of The 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Reverse    

1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Type 1

This Ike Dollar has a reverse design that has an overall low relief, which is why it is also called the “Low Relief Reverse Type.” This means the coins has an overall appearance of relatively flat and shallow field.

Type 1 can be distinguished by the features of the Earth – the three islands fall to the right of Florida. Also, the Earth is flat between the 8 o’clock to 11 o’clock. It is also important to note that the feathers on the Eagle’s breasts are not only distinct but are also raised.

This reverse design was issued in 1971 and was commonly used to accommodate business strike coins.

1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Type 2

Type 2 was also called the ‘Proof” design because, among the three reverse designs, this is the only one with an utterly unique and completely different look. This is the reason why the Type 2 Eisenhower Dollar Reverse design was considered the most valuable of all three varieties.

One can easily identify this reverse design as the three islands were missing beneath Florida. Not only are that, the continent’s lack in detail and incuse water lines evident. This variety featuring a higher relief was used for uncirculated Ike dollars as well as 1972-S Proof. It is believed that there are only less than 100,000 Type 2 Eisenhower Dollar minted.

NGC was able to grade only 89 Ike Dollars with a Type 2 reverse design. Because of its rarity, the Ike Dollar with the Type 2 reverse design is the most sought after. Consequently, it also has the highest value of all. Suffice to say, if you want the rarest, most valuable type of Eisenhower Dollar, the 1972 Type 2 Ike Dollar is what you’re looking for.

1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Type 3

The Type 3 Eisenhower Dollar is known as the “Normal Reverse Ike Dollar.” The design has a higher overall relief than the Type 1 Ike Dollar. It can easily be distinguished as the three islands fall below and to the left of Florida, and the details are strengthened in appearance than that of Type 1.

The reason behind the change was because the US Mint used a tougher die steel during the remainder of the Philadelphia Mint’s production of the 1972 Ike Dollar Coins. In the succeeding year, Proof and Business Strike Eisenhower Dollars used this variety.

Eisenhower Dollar Coin Errors

If you are a coin collector or enthusiast, you may now have an idea that some coins are made with errors. Someone who is not interested in coin collecting may think a coin with an error will have a lower face value or may even lose its value, but that’s not always the case. Coin collectors will usually be interested in Eisenhower Dollar Coins that have errors in them as these coins usually carry a higher price than the regular face value since errors are rare and valued.

1971-S Proof Eisenhower Dollar Coin – Normal R

The error in this Ike Coin is on the letter “R” of LIBERTY. The R has a serif on the bottom vertical leg – two artistic protrusions. Serifs can be defined as the pointed extensions one can see at the end of a number or letter.

1971-S Proof Eisenhower Dollar Coin – Peg Leg R

The error in this Ike Coin is the letter “R” of LIBERTY has no serif.

Type 1 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin (Low Relief)

The Eisenhower Dollar Coin with the Type Reverse has missing islands on the Earth. These were used from January to August 1972.

Type 2 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin (High Relief)

Dubbed as the rarest among the three reverse designs of the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin, this was made because of an error. In the Philadelphia Mint, a proof reverse die was wrongly used in August. It was used only once and was made by a single die. Aside from the fact that the three islands near Florida are missing, it looks as if incuse lines are used to symbolize water, and the top and bottom of the design of North and South America appeared to fade.

Type 3 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin (Modified High Relief)

A new reverse die was used to create the third type of Ike Dollars from September 1972 and up until the year ends. The feathers of the Eagle are no longer defined and seems to have smoothened out. The three islands that were missing in Type 2 Ike Dollars are now visible on the left and beneath of Florida.

Type 1 1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar Coin

The Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar Coins were produced with dual dates in 1975. The US Mint produced this Ike Coins with dates 1776-1976. At first, the US Mint used a reverse die on the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR with thick letters. The horizontal bar of the letter “T” in STATES have square endings.

Type 2 1976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar Coin

In the Type 21976 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar Coin, a different reverse die was used. The US Mint made use of a new die that made the letters in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and ONE DOLLAR are thin. Instead of a square ending in the horizontal bad of T in “STATES,” each end are now slanted.

The PCGS CoinFacts’ Eisenhower Dollar Coin Categories

PCGS CoinFacts was created in 1999 by Ron Guth, an author, and numismatic expert. PCGS categorizes the Eisenhower Dollar Coin based on the design and metal content of the coin.

The Type 1, Clad Ike Dollar

These are copper-nickel clad coins with the same metal composition as those with lower denominations like nickels, quarters and half-dollars.

Regular Strike:

1971 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  47,799,000

1971-D Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  68,587,424

1972 Type 1 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  75,890,000

1972 Type 2 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  75,890,000

1972 Type 3 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  75,890,000

1972-D Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  92,548,511

1973 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are  2,000,056

1973-D Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 2,000,000

1974 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 27,366,000

1974-D Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 45,517,000

1977 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 12,596,000

1977-D Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 32,983,006

1978 Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 25,702,000

1978-D Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 33,012,890

Proofs

1973-S Clad Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 2,760,339

1974-S Clad Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 2,612,568

1977-S Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 3,251,152

1978-S Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 3,127,781

The Type 2, Silver Ike Dollar

These are Eisenhower Dollar Coins that were uncirculated, are Proof versions and are composed of up to 40% silver. The Proof Coins were sold individual inside a brown cardboard slipcase and are in GSA slabs. Uncirculated Type 2, Silver Ike Dollars, on the other hand, were stored in individual blue envelopes and are packed in a glossy platform packs.

Regular Strikes

1971-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 6,868,530

1972-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 2,193,056

1973-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 869,400

1974-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 1,900,156

Proofs

1971-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 4,265,234

1971-S Type 1 Reverse Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 4,265,234

1972-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 1,811,631

1973-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 1,013,646

1974-S Silver Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 1,306,579

Special Strikes

1971-S Prototype Strike – DDO-023 Eisenhower Dollar

1971-S Prototype Strike – DMR-039 Eisenhower Dollar

The Type 3, Clad Bicentennial Reverse (1976)

These Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars were minted in 1975 and 1976 were made using Copper-Nickel “clad “ alloy.

Regular Strikes

1976 Type 1 Clad Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 4,019,000

1976 Type 2 Clad Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 113,318,000

1976-D Type 1 Clad Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 21,048,710

1976-D Type 2 Clad Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 82,179,564

Proofs

1976-S Clad Type 1 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 2,845,450

1976-S Clad Type 2 Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 4,149,730

The Type 4, Silver Bicentennial Reverse (1976)

These Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollars were minted in 1975 and 1976 were made using 40% silver “clad “ alloy.

Regular Strikes

1976-S Silver Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 11,000,000

Proofs

1976-S Silver Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced are 4,000,000

1976 No S Type 2 – Silver Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar – Total number of coins produced is 1

The Eisenhower or Ike Dollar Price Values

Although the Ike Dollars are no longer in mint, there are still people who use them for trade. .The three varieties of the Eisenhower dollar have different values, and obviously, one of the three are favored by coin collectors and enthusiasts. Some would go to their local banks bringing rolls of these Ike Dollars with them in exchange for current paper money.

If you plan on collecting Eisenhower Dollars, there are things you should keep in mind, like the following:

  • The key dates when the coin was minted and issued
  • The rarity of the coin
  • The variety or reverse type of the Eisenhower Dollar Coin
  • The surviving population of the coin
  • The type of strike used to produce the coin
  • The melt value of the coin
  • The demand
  • The dealer’s stock

The Eisenhower Dollar Coin was minted from 1971-1978. The key date in coins can refer to the date or the mint mark and date combination of a series of a coin.

Mint Marks can be letters or symbols that identify which Mint the coin was made at. The Mint Marks in the Eisenhower Dollar Coins are seen at the obverse side of the coin – just above the key date and just below the truncation of President Eisenhower. Three US Mints produced the Ike Dollar Coin – Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Denver.

Mint Mark for the Ike Dollar Coin produced by Denver has the symbol (D), while those issued by San Francisco Mint has the symbol (S). As for Philadelphia Mint, there is no Mint Mark. To check for the Mint Mark of the Eisenhower Dollar Coin, look for the tiny symbol located above the number “7” in the date of the obverse or face of the coin.

One can buy Eisenhower Dollars starting at $1 for the most common varieties while the rarest one, the 1972 Type 2 Ike Dollar, are sold by dealers for $10,250.

For a price guide of the Ike Dollars, you may check the list on PCGS on this link.

How are Eisenhower Dollar Coins graded?

Like most coins, Ike Dollar Coins are graded based on their condition. They are usually graded using the grading standard for Eisenhower Dollar Coin:

MS65 Choice Uncirculated. This means the coin only has contact marks scattered on the surface of the coin which is not at all distracting. Overall, the coin has a good eye appeal and has a strong glow

MS64 Uncirculated. The coin has a few contact marks scattered on the surface of the coin. It still has a good eye appeal and an attractive glow.

MS63 Uncirculated. The coin has an impaired glow due to some distracting contact marks found on the surface of the coin and other focal points, making it less “attractive.”

Uncirculated. The coin is in great condition – no traces of wear and tear can be found, but may have some noticeable blemish but still has its full mint glow.

AU50 About Uncirculated. One can see there is still a mint glow or luster present. However, there are noticeable contact marks.

EF40 Extremely Fine. Slight yet slightly worn hairlines in President Eisenhower’s ear and brow can be seen, and the Eagle’s wing feathers are faint but still visible.

VF20 Very Fine. Eisenhower’s brow is worn, hair strands over his ear are still well defined and the Eagle’s feather still shows.

Five of the most valuable Ike Dollar Coin were graded MS63 Uncirculated and MS65 Choice Uncirculated. These are the following:

  • 1976-S silver Proof Bicentennial Eisenhower Dollar
  • Low-Relief Eisenhower Dollar
  • 1972 Modified High-Relief Eisenhower Dollar
  • 1973-S Silver Proof Eisenhower Dollar
  • 1972 High-Relief Eisenhower Dollar

Surprisingly, the most expensive Ike Dollar Coins are worth thousands of dollars each. These were not the Silver Edition ones, but are actually the Business Strike, Clad Eisenhower Dollar Coins the graded above MS65 Choice Uncirculated.

Collecting Eisenhower Dollar Coins

If you want to start collecting your very own Ike Dollar Coins, it is best to know and understand all there is to know when it comes to this coin. Did you know that these Ike Dollar Coins are the last large-sized coins ever struck, minted and produced?

For you to acquire a complete set of the Eisenhower Dollar, you will need to collect all 34 Eisenhower Dollar Coins. Unfortunately, the Ike Dollars are no longer struck, mined and produced. However, there are collectors and coin dealers who are willing to buy and sell coins, including the Ike Dollar Coins.

If you’re looking for the perfect place to find and buy Ike Dollar Coins, these are usually circulated in the casinos. These are located on the West Coast of the United States. Also, don’t underestimate the internet. There are lots of websites where you can purchase different coins, including Ike Dollar Coins.

The easiest Eisenhower Dollar Coins coin collectors were able to find are the 1971 and 1972 Ike Dollar Coins. However, what you really want to find if you are serious about coin collecting is the 1972 Eisenhower Dollar Coin Type 2. Any Eisenhower Dollar Type 2 Coin is rare. It is said that out of the 76,000,000 coins produced, only less than 100,000 Type 2 Eisenhower Dollar Reverse designed coins were produced. Even if you were able to get a hold of a 1972 Type 2 Ike Dollar, you can get a higher premium for it because the highest graded example is MS66. Do you know what that means? It means getting one is like owning a 1938 3-legged buffalo nickel. Or maybe a 1955 Lincoln cent.

Remember, those coins are it Ike Dollar Coins or any other type of coins, the circulated coins will have the lowest amount of face value. As for Uncirculated Ike Dollar Coins, you can purchase them around $10 each. If you happen to stumble upon Silver Ike Dollar Coins, the face value of the coin will depend on the current price of Silver.

If you’re only a beginner when it comes to coin collecting, do not worry much about the variety of dies used to make the Ike Dollar Coin, the Proof Coins and if it is a Special Edition Issues. Try to focus on collecting and sorting your circulated and uncirculated coins based on the mint marks and dates.

Are you an intermediate coin collector? By now you have assembled both circulated and uncirculated coins with their dates and mint marks. It’s time to include Eisenhower’s Dollar Proof Coins as well as the special collector’s issue. It is best to collect the Business Strike Ike Dollar Coins that are in uncirculated conditions.

As for the expert coin collectors, make sure include the more popular die varieties, special collector issues, business strike issues and Proof coins when collecting all 34 Eisenhower Dollar Coins. An advanced coin collector will strive to get their hands on the best quality coins while taking in to consideration all important matters when it comes to coin collecting.

In Conclusion, the Eisenhower’s Dollar Coins are very much worth collecting. There are many ways on how one can customize your Ike Dollar collection that will not only fit your budget but can also match your goals. If you have a tight budget but still wants to collect Eisenhower Dollar coins, they are lots of options to choose from, as well as coin dealers to explore. It is best to start small and make your way up. Building success doesn’t happen overnight, so patience is one the keys to becoming a successful coin collector.

Got the means to start big? Then go for the Ike Dollars in best conditions and enjoy the freedom of choosing between major, minor or both varieties.

References:

PCGS CoinFacts, PCGS, NGCCoin, Eisenhower Dollar Guide, Silver Dollar Co.The Spruce

Featured Image: Miosw, Coin One Dollar USA, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC0 1.0

The Flowing Hair Dollar

History of the Flowing Hair Dollar

In 1792, the first ever Mint in the United States was established thanks to the Coinage Act of 1792. This very act made by the Congress on April 2, 1792 created our standard unit of money, the US Dollar. It aims to create a coinage system consisting of dimes, cents, dollars, half-denominations, and eagles. The coins struck that same year were only seen as patterns. By 1793, cents and half cents were minted – all made of copper and by 1794, the first silver dollar and half dollar coins were issued.

The Coinage Act was created in 1792 but it was only in the year 1794 that the US Mint was authorized to create first silver dollar coin which was the 1794 Flowing Hair. It has the same design as the half dollar, but since the Mint considers the dollar to be more reputable, the silver dollar was struck first. There were coined in the Philadelphia Mint.

The US Mint has already started the production of the Silver Dollar months before they were authorized to do so. Robert Scot, the US Mint Engraver who prepared the models for the Flowing Hair dollar already had the designs ready. The Congress wanted the silver dollar coin to have a symbolic portrait of Miss Liberty to which Scot obliged.

United States Mint, Smithsonian Institution, Flowing hair dollar, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Obverse was taken from a 1792 25-cents pattern created by Joseph Wright. It features Miss Liberty’s profile bust facing right, with her hair flowing freely behind her. It symbolizes freedom and to which the coin was named Flowing Hair Dollar. The word LIBERTY is inscribed above her profile bust and the date below her. 15 stars are on either side of her symbolizing the number of states the US had at that time.

United States Mint, Smithsonian Institution, Flowing hair dollar reverse, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

For the reverse, an Eagle is seen perched on a rock has its wings spread while being surrounded by laurel leaves. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds the Eagle and the laurel leaves. It is made of 90% Silver and 10% Copper. It weighs approximately 27g and is 40mm in diameter. It has a lettered edge with the words HUNDRED CENTS ONE DOLLAR OR UNIT. This design only lasted for two years – from 1794 to 1795 until it was replaced by the Draped Bust Dollar.

The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar only has four regular strikes and one special strike:

1794 Flowing Hair Dollar – 1,758 coins minted

1794 Special Strike Flowing Hair Dollar – coins minted not available

1795 3 Leaves Flowing Hair Dollar – 160,295 coins minted

1795 2 Leaves Flowing Hair Dollar – 160,295 coins minted

1795 Silver Plug Flowing Hair Dollar – 16,029 coins minted

The 1795 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar has three varieties – the 3 Leaves, the 2 Leaves, and the Silver Plug variety. The 3 Leaves variety can be distinguished by the three leaves found on either side of the Eagle, just below its wings. The 2 Leaves variety only has 2 leaves under each wing. The Silver Plug can be determined by faint circular outlines made by the plug used to strike found on the center of either side of the coin.

Collecting Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coins

Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coins are well-loved and sought after by coin collectors Aside from its rarity, it is a very short series that is also a significant piece of the US Coinage History. According to the PCGS, Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coins are worth $1,500.00 up to S5,000.00, depending on the rarity and variety for the regular series and $10,000,000.00 for the Special Strike 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coins. One can check for the price set by PCGS-graded coins here.

On January 24, a 1794 Special Strike Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coins was sold at an auction at $10 million dollars and bought by Legend Numismatics.The most expensive in the regular series being the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coin. It is said that only 150 pieces are known to exist nowadays despite having 1,758 coins minted. It was believed that since the coins were rejected, most were melted.  

When collecting Flowing Hair Silver Dollar Coins, the places to look for wear are Miss Liberty’s hair found just above the forehead, her cheeks, and shoulders. For the reverse, look for signs to tear on the Eagle’s head, breast and the top of his wings.

References:

PCGS, PCGS Coin Facts, NGC Coin, USA Coinbook, Reuters

The Indian Head $5 Gold Coin

The Indian Head $5 Gold Coin was minted in the year 1908 through 1916. For thirteen years, the production was suspended until it was again minted in the year 1929. That was the last year that the Indian Head $5 Gold was produced as the Great Depression of Wall Street ended the series. All $5 Gold Coin was called half eagles. The controversies that surrounded the minting of this coin along with the Indian Head $2.5 and $10 Gold coin makes it a worthwhile collection.

The History of the Indian Head $5 Gold Coin

The Indian Head $5 Gold Coin was created after President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded the 24 President of the United States, President William McKinley in 1901. After President McKinley was assassinated, Roosevelt made sure to imprint himself on many aspects of the nation, including the coinage system.

President Roosevelt appointed a popular sculptor named Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create new designs for the Eagle ($10) and Double Eagle ($20) Gold. Both coins made their debut by the year 1907. In 1908, the Half Eagle and Quarter Half Eagle were also redesigned.

A close friend of President Roosevelt, William Sturgis Bigelow who was also an art lover and physician in Boston at the same time, came up with the idea of the recessed design. He was inspired by the Egyptian artworks which had incused reliefs when he came to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was the one who told Roosevelt of the idea, to which Rooseverlt took an interest and have it incorporated in the new designs of the US coinage.

With this, Bela Lyon Pratt was assigned to prepare the models for the new Gold coins. Pratt incorporated the incused relief with his design – an American Indian on the obverse side of the coin, while an Eagle is featured on the reverse.

When the new Half Eagle and Quarter Eagle made their first appearance at the end of 1908, the public had mixed reactions. This is quite expected as the US Gold Coins have never been redesigned for more than 60 years. Also, the incuse relief was a new feature as no Gold Coin had ever been made with such design.

Because of the unexpected design, many have come forward to express their dismay, one of which was Samuel H. Chapman – a Philadelphia coin dealer. He had warned then President Roosevelt about the imposing problems that can cloud the new coins. For one, the recessed design can very much accumulate dirt and harbor different types of diseases once passed among the public. Another issue was that the new coins can easily be counterfeited thanks to its sunken design.

There were also reports that Charles Barber, the current US Mint Engraver at that time, made unnecessary modifications on Pratt’s models. However, Roosevelt made sure the designs he wanted will be issued, and so the coins were issued.

The Indian Head $5 Gold Coins were minted yearly from 1908-1916, then again in 1929. During the production of the coins in 1909, four US Mints minted the coins – Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco and New Orleans. After the year 1916, the Indian Head $5 Gold Coins were suspended from being minted only to resume production 13 years later. These were last coined in 1929, and was the last year that these coin series were minted, thanks to the Great Depression or the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Detailed Specifications of the Indian Head $5 Gold Coin

US Mint (coin), National Numismatic Collection (photograph by Jaclyn Nash), NNC-US-1908-G$5-Indian Head, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Indian Head $5 Gold Coin has a reeded edge, weighs approximately 8.24 grams and has a diameter of 21.60 mm. These were designed by Bela Lyon Pratt and are made up of 90% Gold and 10% Copper.

The designer is the same as the Indian Head $2.50 Gold Coin or the Indian Head Quarter Gold Coin. The obverse features a realistic American Indian in a brave ware bonnet. On the top of the Indian’s head lies the word LIBERTY in a form of an arc while the date of mintage sits below the portrait. A total of thirteen stars were scattered on either side of the Indian. Pratt’s initials can be seen on the obverse below the portrait and just above the date.

For the reverse, an Eagle is seen in a reposed position, resting on fasces and an olive branch. Pratt did an amazing job in incorporating all four inscriptions on the coin without the design looking crowded or unbalanced. The four inscriptions are as follows: the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GOD WE TRUST, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the denomination FIVE DOLLARS. The mintmark can be seen on the reverse side of the coin, bearing the US Mint that produced the coins, except for Philadelphia which doesn’t have a mint mark.

The Gold Indian Head $5 Coin Series according to the PCGS Coin Facts

Regular Strike:

  1.    1908 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 577,845 in Philadelphia
  2.    1908-D Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 148,000 in Denver
  3.    1908-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 82,000 in San Francisco
  4.    1909 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin in Philadelphia – number of coins produced are 627,060
  5.    1909-D Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 3,423,560 in Denver
  6.    1909-O Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 34,200 in New Orleans
  7.    1909-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 297,200 in San Francisco
  8.    1910 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 604,000 in Philadelphia
  9.    1910-D Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 193,600 in Denver
  10.    1910-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 770,200 in San Francisco
  11.    1911 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 915,000 in Philadelphia
  12.    1911-D Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 72,500 in Denver
  13.    1911-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 1,416,000 in San Francisco
  14.    1912 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 790,000 in Philadelphia
  15.    1912-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 392,000 in San Francisco
  16.    1913 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 915,901 in Philadelphia
  17.    1913-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 408,000 in San Francisco
  18.    1904 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 247,000 in Philadelphia
  19.    1914-D Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 247,000 in Denver
  20.    1914-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 263,000 in San Francisco
  21.    1915 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 588,000 in Philadelphia
  22.    1915-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 164,000 in San Francisco
  23.    1916-S Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 240,000 in San Francisco
  24.    1929 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin – number of coins produced are 662,000 in Philadelphia

Proofs

  1.    1908 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 167 in Philadelphia
  2.    1909 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 78 in Philadelphia
  3.    1910 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 78 in Philadelphia    
  4.    1911 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 139 in Philadelphia
  5.    1912 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 144 in Philadelphia
  6.    1913 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 99 in Philadelphia
  7.    1914 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 125 in Philadelphia
  8.    1915 Indian Head $5 Gold Coin (Proof) – number of coins produced are 75 in Philadelphia

Collecting Indian Head $5 Gold Coins

When collecting Indian Head %5 Gold Coins, the coins’ recessed design makes a bit complicated when grading coins. The good thing is, this very feature of the Indian Head $5 Gold Coin protects it from heavy wear. Try to focus on the cheekbone of the Indian, the feathers on his headdress as well as the shoulder of the eagle’s left wing when grading the coin and looking for pieces of evidence of wear.

Thanks to the innovative design of the Indian Head $5 Gold coin, the coins are readily available in the Mint States up to MS64. However, those in MS65 and up are quite difficult to catch. One of the easiest to find is those dated in 1909-D. Scarce dates include 1909-O, 1911-D and 1908-S, but the 1929 half eagle is the most sought-after of them all.

Indian Head $5 Gold Coins are generally well struck, however, since the only element that is raised is the mint mark if any. This makes it hard to distinguish whether in low or high grades. One can buy Indian Head $5 Gold Coins starting $355 up to $200,000.00.

For the Price Range set by PCGS-graded Indian Head $5 Gold Coins, you can use this link.

References:

PCGS, PCGC CoinFacts, NGC Coin, JM Bullion, Provident Metals 

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

The Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851

The Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851 was known to have many names, some of which are 1851 Augustus Humbert $50 Gold Ingot Slug, 1851 $50 Augustus Humbert Gold and $50 gold “Slug”. It is indeed an extraordinary coin, thanks to its composition, weight, odd shape and beauty. It won’t even fit on a coin collector’s beginner’s coin album. The coin’s octagonal shape is one oddity that makes it a unique and desirable coin in the numismatic marketplace.

Technically speaking, the Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851 created were actually ingots because of their value which $50 and their heavyweight. These were later called and famously known as slugs thanks to its size.

The 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug has a rich historical heritage and is remarkably one of the most spectacular coins every expert numismatists and coin dealers would love to see in their lifetime. It is, in fact, one of the rarest coins that were minted in the US. If you’re one of the serious coin collectors who wants the most collectible coin to add to your collection, investing on this 1951 gold slug is for you.

The History of the Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851

The California Gold Rush of 1849

The historic gold rush that occurred in California gave birth to the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug. When New Jersey carpenter named James W. Marshall made the huge discovery of Gold on January 24, 1848, the news spread like wildfire. He was actually working for John Sutter and was building a water-powered sawmill when he found the gold flakes in the American River.

A few days after Marshall’s historic discovery, California officially became part of the United States and the Mexican American War finally ended after the signing of Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Because of the discovery of Gold, many men fled to California in the hopes of obtaining gold. Many women were left behind by the men and were forced to work, run business and care for their children all by themselves. The population of California grew immensely from 20,000 to an estimate of 100,000. This resulted in California’s fast-paced admission as the 31st state of the US.

The United States Assay Office under Augustus Humbert

After the 1849 California Gold Rush, the need for minted coins grew.  California was rapidly growing. There is an abundance of gold, and some people are using these gold in exchange for goods or services. However, California is yet to have an official currency. Californians demanded a Mint to be based in California in order to mint coins of legal tender in lower denominations. A number of proposals were made from the duration of 1849 to 1850 aiming to make a California Mint a possibility.

Two senators, Senator William Gwin of California and Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri made countless of letters and several speeches in support of the establishment of a Mint in San Francisco.

Gwin wrote in a letter that about 250 thousands of ounces of dust or an estimate of 4 million dollars monthly are obtained from California mines. He claims that whenever half of the extracted gold were sent abroad, California loses about 2 dollars per ounce since these were sold at $16 per ounce abroad compared to $18 at the US Mint.

The efforts of Benton and Gwin were opposed by the New York delegate who felt they are also entitled to their own mint. The Pennsylvania delegation furiously opposed both New York and California Mints as it would be a threat to their Mint established in Philadelphia. Similarly, Lousiana, Georgia and North Carolina were not thrilled with the pending US Mint branch competition.

The delegation of California agreed with the establishment of the US Assay Office in San Francisco after being convinced that during the next Congressional session, California will be authorized with a Mint. On September 30, 1850, a compromise bill was passed, approving the establishment of the United States Assay Office in San Francisco. This was approved after California was named an official state of the US by 1849. The United States Assay Office was only a provisional minting facility established by the US government to accommodate the company who will be minting the coins.

Originally, the first bill proposed that denominations of 50 to 10,000 dollar denominations will be issued. The coins will be struck of processed gold, their value will be marked clearly and will have a uniform firmness. These coins will include the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and LIBERTY and will have the same appropriate legends and devices like that of smaller coins. It is believed that the proposed and planned denominations are $50, $100, $200, $500, and $1,000 ingots.

The United States Assay Office are authorized to weight and test the Gold purity and stamp to show its real gold value with an appropriate seal. The creation of the gold ingots will be given to a qualified company and the contract was awarded to Moffat & Co. They immediately ceased operation to accommodate the minting of the new gold coin. They sent an email statement on or before the 1st of February, they will be ready to receive the gold dust that will be used in creating the ingots and bars.”

Charles C. Wright, a sculptor, and medalist were commissioned to engrave the original dies used to create the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug in New York. Augustus Humbert, a New York watchmaker was assigned to be the US Assayer and was said to receive a salary of $5,000 annually.

Minting and Usage of the Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug

Humbert bought the original dies made by Wright on January 30, 1851, and passed them to the Moffat & Co. The company was able to produce the octagonal 50 dollars slug starting February 14.

The first coins produced had a bunch of nicknames such as slug, Californian, quintuple eagle, and adobe. Slug stuck and was commonly used by the public and coin collectors and even numismatists of today. They were produced in February 1851 and were later released on February 21, 1851. After the first issue of the Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, Albert Kuner engraved the succeeding issues.

Despite the fact that Moffat & Co. produced the 1851 octagonal 50 dollars slug, this coin never had a mint mark or the name of the company that made them. The final result was an octagonally shaped ingot that has nice corners, surface and a strike considered above average. All the letterings in 1851 octagonal 50 dollars slug are all readable except AUGUSTUS.

Moffat & Co. received many backlashes after they were accused of charging citizen way excessively than deemed appropriate. Moffat answered to the accusation by stating the Philadelphia has a lower labor price than in California which is why their charge is higher.

The controversies surrounding Moffat & Co did not stop there. Banks blamed the company for being compelled to increase their offers when it comes to gold dust which in turn lowered their chance of making a profit. The charges were deemed vague and soon vanished after the shortage of denominations lover than $50 arose. Many more controversies arrived, but in the end, Moffat & Co was able to produce coins of lower denominations – the $5 and $10.

The slug received both positive and negative comments in newspapers. Businessmen, bankers and the public gave the coin a warm welcome. Many gold pieces with inferior quality that were privately issued were forced out for the use of the public. Pacific and Mormon Company coins greatly benefitted from the issued on the “slugs.” They were finally accepted at their true value and were melted again as slugs.

However, the 1851 U.S. Assay Office-Humbert $50 “slug” proved to be a better currency when paying duties at the San Francisco Port instead of everyday usage. This happened after President Filmore authorized T. Butler King, a Customs Collector to accept the gold ingots and bars in the House of Customs. The problem is, not everyone needs to pay Duties. The public clearly wanted and need coins of smaller denominations for daily commerce.

On December 14, 1853, Humbert left his position as the US Assayer. It was during this time that the building of the United States Assay Office was closed and the building and equipment were sold to the United States Mint.

Hundreds of thousands of these coins were struck in 1851. Unfortunately, these are also taken up and melted in 1854 when the San Francisco Mint opened for business.

Kellogg, the attorney who acquired the contract for the United States Assay Office made a new firm with the partnership of Richter. The Kellogg & Co started to produce $6 million $20 gold coins. Richter retired a year later and was replaced by Humbert. Humbert and Kellogg were so successful they were also able to produce a number of circulated cold coins as the Mint was unable to keep up with the demand.

Debate on the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug

One of the most talked about political conspiracy was that the $50 gold slug may or may not really be officially issued coin of the United States. Since it was accepted as a legal payment for Duties in the San Francisco Customs Office, it was considered a legal tender. However, a crisis arose in the western financial market after politicians demonetize the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug. The politicians at that time changed the status of the slug.

However, when records of the United States Assay Office were found, they were filed together with the Mint director’s records adjoining the Branch Mints’ reports. Regularly issued coins were filed the way the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug was filed. This only meant that the Federal Government in 1851 did consider the slugs as a regular issued gold coin

The Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851’s Coin Specification

Image courtesy of , 1852 $50 Assay Office slug, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY 4.0

The obverse of the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug features an Eagle standing on a rock, with its wings spread out. It was clutching arrows and an olive branch using its claws. The Arrows signify power while the olive branch stands for peace. The Eagle clutches a scroll that has the motto “Liberty” on its beak. The Shield of the constitutions rests just beneath the Eagle. Above the Eagle, a cartouche was engraved bearing the gold coin’s degree of fineness. The words United States of America and FIFTY DOLLS are placed in the circle of the obverse. Around the edges of the $50 gold slug lies the words Augustus Humbert United States Assayer of Gold California 1851.

There were two descriptions of the obverse reported by Alta California. On February 14, 1851, Alta reported that the obverse bears the mark “887 fine in the flag with 50 followed by the letters D.C. However, on February 21, 1851, the Alta California reports that the Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851 bears the FIFTY mark followed by the word DOLLS. Such wording was used in the succeeding slugs with non-lettered edges. There are no known coins that meet the description exists today.

As for the reverse side of the coin, it features a spiral pattern famously called as an engine turning. It is believed that Humbert used this design as his own personal touch. Being a watchmaker in the past, he used the engine turning design as a style popular among watches during is time. The surface was embossed with a die that is hard to imitate and the machine used is a one of a kind in the US. The edges of the slug were reeded.

It’s safe to say that the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug was the first of its denomination in the form of a coin as a legal tender. Arguably, Panama –Pacific Commemorative Coins struck in octagonal shape were derived and inspired by the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug.

The 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug was the largest coin ever circulated during the California Gold Rush. The weight of the slug was almost a whopping 2 and a half ounces of gold. It measures about 32 inches by 1 and ½ inch.

Varieties of the Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851

The 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug has a total of 7 series struck in the regular strike and 2 series were struck in proofs.

1851 $50 LE Humbert 880 Rays 

1851 $50 LE Humbert 880 

1851 $50 LE Humbert 880 50 Reverse

1851 $50 LE Humbert 887 50 Reverse 

1851 $50 LE Humbert 887 

1851 $50 RE Humbert 880 Thous 

1851 $50 RE Humbert 887

1851 $50 LE Humbert, Copper, BN (Proof)

1851 $50 PE Humbert, Copper, BN (Proof)

The 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug were meticulously replicated by Ron Landis in 2008. The replicas are made as a commemorative ingot are all made from hand-engraved dies. Each coin has in pure 999.9 fine California Gold in 2.5 troy ounces. Instead of the FIFTY DOLLY or 50 D.C., the letters and number were replaced with PURE CAL. GOLD on the obverse side of the coin.

As for the reverse, the words HUMBERT GOLD INGOT COMMEMORATIVE 2008 PURE CALIFORNIA GOLD 2.5 OZ TROY 999.9 FINE  were engraved. All octagonal commemorative ingots were certified and guaranteed by the NGC or the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. It is important to note that these replicas have a value much less than any US gold coin in the market.

Collecting Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug, 1851

Image courtesy of , 1852 $50 Assay Office slug, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY 4.0

According to the Scottsdale Bullion & Coin, there are only about 8 pieces of the 1851 “880” Reeded Augustus Humbert $50 gold slug are being circulated to the public. Also, only five are known to be in a grade higher than 61.

Only a few of the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug exists nowadays which makes them a great find and a very rare gold collectible any coin dealer and collector would love to have or even see in their lifetime. As of to date, the auction of the said $50 Gold Slug can start from $10,000 and above. The highest known specimen ever auctioned, graded – an MS-65 grade 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug was graded by the Chairman of NGC (Numismatic Guaranty Corporation), Mark Salzberg. Salzberg wrote in an article that this particular coin is the most memorable coin with an original luster he has ever graded.

Some of the known varieties of the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug are the 1851 $50 LE Humbert 880 50 Reverse and 1851 $50 LE Humbert 887 50 Reverse (Regular Strike) which both have the number 50 printed on the heart of the reverse.

Dubbed as the “Signature coin of the California Gold Rush,” it is believed that there are only about 400 to 600 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug available nowadays.

Coin experts, dealers, and collectors will agree that all varieties of the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug found are all extremely rare. It doesn’t matter what the condition of your Humbert Gold coin currently has, or if it was a circulated coin or not. Everything about the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug makes it a very desirable coin. It is indeed a magnificent coin with a rich history, large and heavy composed of 2 and ½ gold and beautifully but painstakingly minted.

In conclusion, the 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug was a magnificent example and product of the California Gold Rush and the history of numismatics. It is very rare, very valuable and it deserves to be part of a premium collection. The price of 1851 Octagonal 50 Dollar Gold Slug will depend on the condition, rarity, and other factors used in pricing coins. However, the values can range from at least tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of US Dollars.

References:

PCGS CoinFacts, NGCCoin, Monaco Rare Coins, HistoryHarvard University Library Open Collection Program

The Brasher Doubloon

Image courtesy of , 1787 Brasher Doubloon, size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY 4.0

Ephraim Brasher was the one who crafted the Brasher Doubloon Gold Coins. These are one of the extremely rare coins ever minted in the US. Arguably, many collectors, coin enthusiasts, and dealers have mixed opinions about Ephriam Brasher’s Gold Coins. There are lots of private gold coin enthusiasts believes this was the first Gold Coin privately minted in the US. Some people, however, believe otherwise.

Some say that the Brasher Gold Coins which were struck in 1787 were indeed gold coins but were meant to be patterns of proposed copper coins in the country. Even if there were very minimal evidence that will support either claim, the Brasher Doubloon Gold Coins are indeed a spectacular, privately minted coins with extreme rarity and unbelievably expensive value.

Did you know that the Brasher Doubloon Gold Coin inspired a movie and a novel? The novel was called The High Window was written by Raymond Chandler in 1942. The 1947 movie titled “The Brasher Doubloon” was based on the said novel.

Anyone who gets to see this gorgeous coin will have a once in a lifetime encounter with more than a two-century-old history. Why? Because the Brasher Doubloon coins are considered one of the most valuable coins there is in the whole world.

The History of the Brasher Doubloon Gold Coins

Ephriam Brasher was of Dutch ancestry who was born in 1744 and died in 1797. He was a gold and silversmith as well as a jeweler by profession. It was said that his last name was often mispronounced, but one of his descendants claimed that the correct pronunciation would be “BRAY’-sher.”

The first US coins used as a legal tender were only minted 16  years after the Declaration of Independence in the year 1792. Before this, people used Spanish coins for trade and commerce. Ephriam Brasher created the Brasher Doubloons in 1787.

He was known to be a neighbor of George Washington in 1790 when he resided in Cherry Street in New York. Some claims that a Brasher receipt addressed to the Washington household is evidence that he and Washington had a direct connection with the US’ first coinage. The receipt claims brasher was able to sell “sundry articles of plate” amounting to 283 pounds, 3 shillings and 3 pence. No such plate was ever found in the possession of the Washingtons. However, many believe these used to mint the first ever dimes and half dimes in the year 1792.

In the year 1787, Brasher, along with John Baily made a petition to the state. They wanted a contract that will enable them to create copper coins for the state. However, it was declined after a legislature committee investigated and recommended that the petition is postponed for an unspecified time. Brasher did not want to give, so he devised a plan and put it into action.

To promote and stimulate his proposed coins, he actually issued his own gold coins, now famously known as the Brasher Doubloon Gold Coins. His gold coin was known as a Spanish specimen (the style he used was a copy of the 1742 Lima Doubloons) weighed approximately 39.4 grams or about 408 grains. This is the reasons why Brasher’s gold coins were called as Doubloons. Some argue that the coin’s worth were about $16 each at the time of issuance.

Since Brasher made the Doubloons for the purpose of stimulating his coinage proposal, they were not accepted for coinage. However, he struck these gold coins to have the pattern of a New York Coin. It was hard not to call them coins when they looked like one.

Brasher was also a civic leader. He had served as a Coroner, Assistant Justice, Election Inspector, Sanitary Commissioner and Commissioner of Excise. Not only that, but he was also a Lieutenant during the Revolutionary War in New York.

Brasher and David Ott managed to land a job in the US Mint in 1792. Their job was to assess, scrutinize and report the value of different gold coins of foreign origin in circulation. It was believed that during his days in the US Mint that Brasher issued two other Doubloons.

The American Numismatic Society’s Committee evaluated a variety of Brasher’s Doubloon in the year 1915. The ANSC first concluded that the Spanish American Doubloon – also known as the Lima Style Doubloon was indeed produced on a private mint that was managed by Ephraim Brasher.

They described the Lima Style Doubloon as an imitation of the Peruvian Doubloons that were issued and used in circulation sometime in the 18th century. They were counterstamped by Brasher himself and were struck similarly to the dies used in Lima, Peru. The Lima Style Doubloon Gold coin was said to appear first in the Waldo Newcomer Collection. John Work Garrett purchased the coins who later passed it to the Johns Hopkins University. It is believed that these were struck in 1792 and that there is only two specimen known of this Doubloon.

Another specimen known of the Doubloon is the Half Doubloon. These were struck on small, plain metal disks with half the weight of the original Brasher Doubloon. On first glance, the coins look like it has been clipped on the edges, but according to Walter Breen, the author of the Complete Encyclopedia of the United States and Colonial Coins, the edges were normal and gold metals was not removed. The planchet was just made thinner. This was put up for sale by David Proskey, a numismatist in 1928, and were kept in the Josiah K. Lily Collection of the Smithsonian Institution.

As expected, there were some who were doubtful about the origins of both the Half Doubloon and the Lima Style Doubloon. Because of their backdating, strikes and the like are still a mystery, many have questioned these two specimens.

The Brasher Doubloon’s Design

 

The Obverse

Image courtesy of , 1787 Brasher Doubloon (obverse), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY 4.0

The design of Brasher’s gold coin was a symbolic one. On the obverse, an eagle facing left can be seen in the center. The eagle’s right talon is clutching olive branch while the left talon holds a bundle of arrows – symbolizing the US is ready for war but it wants peace. The eagle’s head is surrounded by a total number of 13 stars, while the entirety of the eagle was enclosed by a wreath. Written outside the wreath is the legend *E PLURIBUS* UNUM.

The Reverse

Image courtesy of , 1787 Brasher Doubloon (reverse), size by Bonnie Mattie, CC BY 4.0

The reverse has sun rising over the mountains and has a river beneath it in the center of the coin. This symbolizes “a new beginning.” The scene is surrounded by a series of dots that forms a ring around it. The legend NOVA EBORACA COLUMBIA EXCELSIOR were written outside the ring of dots. The Spanish legend meant “New York and America: Ever Upward.”

Brasher was known to put his hallmark in various foreign gold coins and silverware that managed to pass on his possession. He used at least five hallmarks – two of them are “EB” being the most famous and one he used in the Brasher Doubloon Gold Coin and the EE.B. & Co.  

A Brasher Doubloon has the mark EB which stands for Ephraim Brasher surrounded by an oval mark in the eagle’s chest while other specimens are said to have it on the eagle’s right wing. An original Brasher Doubloon weighs 26.4 grams and is made up of .890 fine gold.

The Brasher Gold Coins according to the PCGS Coin Facts

  1.  1787 $15 Brasher Doubloon, Wing Punch
  2.  1787 $15 Brasher Doubloon, Breast Punch
  3.  1787 1/2 Brasher Doubloon
  4.   LIMA Brasher Doubloon

The Brasher Doubloons Copies

In the year 1960s, copies of the Gold Doubloons made by Brasher were created by a firm in Massachusetts in Platinum and Silver. During that time, it was believed that those struck in Platinum were sold for $500. However, no one knows if any were sold.

There are lots of replicas of the Brasher Doubloons minted from Brass. Like any rare and well-known American coinage, there are thousands out there being circulated in public. Only a handful as considered worthy, but the rest are just not worth the cash.

Alfred Robinson of Connecticut made a copy of the Brasher Doubloons in the year 1861 struck in Copper and Brass. He struck 25 in Copper and another 25 in Brass. These are examples of the genuine contemporary gold coin. These imitations have larger letters and have a style different from the original. If you’re not careful, you may fall into the trap of buying a fake one and losing your hard earned cash.

In 2014, Brasher Doubloons were produced and sold at the ANA of the American Numismatics Associations at the World’s Fair of Money. Each replica will weigh approximately 0.85 ounces of .999 fine gold. The value of each gold coin was about $1,130. The sale’s price, of course, was much higher. These were minted by Master Engraver Ron Landis (also the founder of the Eureka Mint) using a hand-operated screw press. The reproductions of the Brasher Doubloon were called “Novodels” weighs the same 26.4 grams but the color is a solid pure .000 fine gold. The obverse will still bear Brasher’s initials (EB), but on the reverse, Brasher’s full last name was included.

The Brasher Doubloon’s Rarity

It was said that there are only about seven genuine Brasher Doubloons, and the rest are just plain imitations. Some of the genuine examples are known to be in the possession of The Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, American Numismatic Society, Smithsonian Institution. The remaining three were under the possession of private individuals. It was believed that the last 7 Brasher Doubloons were dug up in  1838-1897 in a sewer in Philadelphia.

The Walter Perschke Doubloons was noted as the world’s finest. The said gold coin was never out at an auction for 57 years. It was bought by Walter Perschke in 1979. A world record was in order when he paid a whopping $430,000 for it. It surely made headlines all over the world. Its owner, Perschke sold it in an auction after keeping it for 35 years where it was bought for $4.59 million. He was disappointed, to say the least. A coin as rare as his Brasher Doubloon Gold coin was only sold about half his expected amount of 8 to 10 million dollars. Needless to say, it was sold for more than 10 times the amount he paid for it. He died on May 20, 2016, of cancer at the age of 77.

Price Guide for the Brasher Gold Coins according to the PCGS Coin Facts per Grade

1787 $15 Brasher, Wing Punch – $2,400,000 to $5,500,000

1787 $15 Brasher, Breast Punch – $ 5,000,000

1787 1/2 Db Brasher – $ 4,000,000

LIMA Dbln Brasher – $ 1,000,000

Collecting Brasher Doubloons

Brasher Doubloons were made with an estimate of $15 worth of gold, and was sold for $16 per piece back in the days. As expected from the very first Gold Coin ever issued in the US, the Brasher Doubloons costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The image used by Brasher was believed to symbolize that the US always wanted peace and a peaceful relationship with other countries but will always have the will and power to fight whenever necessary. This adds to the coin’s beauty and has been used ever since in the American coinage.

Thanks to its history and rarity, owning one or even seeing a genuine Brasher Doubloon in person is both a pleasure and an honor. If you believe you’ve acquired a genuine Brasher Doubloon, make sure to have it graded for authenticity and value.

References:

PCGS CoinFacts, CoinFacts, Antique Markscoins.nd.edu