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Type 1 Gold Dollar
The first small sized, gold dollar was struck from 1849 to 1854. Although 12 million were originally struck, by 1861 some 8 million had reached the Sub-Treasury from where they were shipped to Philadelphia and subsequently melted for recoinage of the Type II dollar. It is estimated that less than one percent of the Type I dollar survives today in all grades.
Type 2 Gold Dollar
The Type II gold dollar minted in only 1854 and 1855 (and in 1856 in San Francisco) is by far the rarest of the three issues. The coins proved to show excessive weakness in central areas, LL and 8 of a date usually weak and often illegible, sometimes the entire date being obscured. The vast majority of the Type II dollars went back to the mint to be melted. Much small gold was melted and exported as bullion in the late 1850’s and again during the Civil War after suspension of specie payments. This affected the recent Type II more than Type I dollars. They are rare in all grades.
Type 3 Gold Dollar
Type III, struck from 1856 to 1889, has a reverse similar to the Type II gold dollar. The head is a reduction of that found on the obverse, and all other details of the design are the same as those on Type II.
This design was struck for the longest period and is more readily found in all grades.
Liberty Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle
Issued between 1840-1907. The smallest denomination in the Liberty series, the Quarter Eagle was the gold piece most apt to be spent and not hoarded. Becasue of this, high grade uncirculated examples, especially dates before 1890, can be extremely scarce. Whereas the Act of March 3, 1865 provided for the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be added to the five, ten dollar and twenty dollar gold pieces, the motto was never added to the Quarter Eagle because the coin was not large enough to provide room for it. Although struck for 68 years, the total mintage was near 12 million and the greatest number struck was 1.4 million pieces in 1853. In spite of its low mintages, until a few years ago, this series went unoticed. It has in the last five years seen one of the most spectacular increases collector interest. The late Walter Breen estimated that only 1 1/2% of the millions minted are still in existence after the 1933 meltdown of approximately 94% of all U.S. gold coins.
Indian Head $2.50 Quarter Eagle
Issued between 1908-1929. The $2.50 Indian and the $5 Indian are unique in U.S. coinage due to their ‘incuse’ design. Bela Lyon Pratt was persuaded by Dr. William S. Bigelow, an intimate friend of President Roosevelt, to submit models of a new technique of making coins with devices sunk beneath the fields with the relief design depressed so that the highest points would not be worn away at once. The ‘Incuse’ design is struck ‘into’ the coin’s face-below the level of the fields-as opposed to the standard minting process. This revolutionary design appears on quarter eagles of 1908 to 1929. This is a series that is widely collected.
Three Dollar Gold
Mintages were small for this series struck from 1854 to 1889 with only a little over a half million coins being struck throughout its 35 years of existence. It is estimated that approximately 95% of all three dollar gold pieces minted were melted, ended up as jewelry or otherwise lost, thus all dates are scarce or rare. Recent auctions have demonstrated the scarcity of this coin and it is perhaps the most valuable coin in the set.
Liberty Head $5 Half Eagle
Issued between 1838-1907, the Half Eagle is unique in that no other denomination was struck at all seven U.S. mints. (Philadelphia, Carson City, Charlotte, Dahlonega, Denver, New Orleans and san Francisco). When speaking of Liberty Head Half Eagle it is immediately understood that the with motto design (1866-1907) is meant. These attractive Liberty design specimens are widely collected.
Indian Head $5 Half Eagle
Issued between 1908-1929, this is perhaps the rarest coin in the 8 Piece U.S. Gold Set. This, as well as the Indian quarter eagle, is the product of Bela Lyon Pratt’s unique talent of putting the design beneath the surface of the coin (‘Incuse’). It was minted in relatively low quantities and was heavily circulated, making Uncirculated specimens very sought after. Its impressive gains are an indicator of the scarcity of properly graded Indian Half Eagles.
Liberty Head $10 Eagle
Issued between 1838-1907. The With Motto variety (1866-1907) eagles represented a sort of ugly duckling or Cinderella denomination among U.S. coinages. For ordinary transactions the half eagles were preferred, and for international payments, double eagles were preferred. The Coronet Head Liberty gold coins of all denominations were the real workhorses of banks and clearing houses in the 1800’S. This is a very popular series.
Indian Head $10 Eagle
Issued from 1907-1933, the Indian series was created by Augustus St. Gaudens the brilliant sculptor who was considered a genius in his day. The 1907 as well as the first issues of 1908, lacked the motto IN GOD WE TRUST because President Teddy Roosevelt had objected to the reference to God as blasphemous. However, he was overruled by the Legislature who insisted the motto be restored, and so IN GOD WE TRUST was added to the reverse in 1908. This series is always in hig demand due to its large size and low survival rate.
Liberty Head $20 Double Eagle
The Act of March 3, 1849 authorized the manufacture and issue of one and twenty dollar gold pieces the Double Eagle weighing over a troy ounce and each roughly comparable in value to several foreign denominations. Designed by James D. Longacre, the Liberty design double eagle was, with minor variations, coined from 1849 to 1907. The Type 3 series (1877-1907) is most widely collected.
St. Gaudens $20 Double Eagle
Issued 1907-1933. One of the most popular coins in American history. When anyone talks about double eagles, they are invariably referring to the St. Gaudens design. It is probably the most popular series in gold coins because of its beautiful design and weight. A favorite choice among collectors.