Gold has been the standard of currency for many countries over the course of history, and early America was no different. Many varieties of gold coins were produced by the U.S. Mint in different denominations. As the value of gold increased, the production of gold coins stopped. In fact, Americans were prohibited from holding monetary gold between 1934 and 1974.
The Liberty Head gold dollar, which is smaller than a dime, features a profile of Liberty with no writing on the front and a wreath around the denomination and date on the reverse. It was minted from 1849 to 1854, when a similar design with Liberty wearing an Indian headdress came into being. That coin, known as the Indian Princess Head, was minted from 1854 to 1889.
This coin has a face value of $2.50 and underwent many design changes throughout its history. The Capped Bust design was in effect from 1796 to 1839, with a variety of changes in Liberty’s appearance during those years. This was followed by the Liberty Head design from 1840 to 1907 and lastly, the Indian Head design of 1908 to 1929 that featured an Indian chief on the front. This last coin is unique because it features no raised edge and the design is sunken below the coin’s surface.
Three-Dollar Gold Piece
This $3 coin, minted from 1854 to 1889 with an Indian Princess Head design, wasn’t popular with the public and was never widely circulated. Fewer than 10,000 were minted most years after the 1850s, leading to high values for examples on the market today.
This $5 coin was the first gold coin to be minted in the U.S., beginning in 1795. Many varieties were produced during this coin’s early years, and some carry high collector’s premiums. It was minted from 1795 to 1908, with Liberty on the front and an eagle on the reverse, and several design changes over the years. As with the quarter eagle, the years 1908 to 1929 feature an Indian chief on the front, with the design sunken into the coin’s surface.
This $10 coin was minted from 1795 to 1804 and again from 1838 to 1907. The first coins featured Liberty on them. The Indian Head variety was minted from 1907 to 1933, featuring a more youthful Indian than the one on the quarter and half eagles.
The Double Eagle, so called because it’s face value is $20, or twice that of the Eagle, is the largest-denomination general-circulation gold coin ever produced by the U.S. Mint. The Liberty Head design was minted from 1849 to 1907. The Saint-Gaudens coin, which features a more modern representation of Liberty with rays of sunlight behind her, was produced from 1907 to 1933. Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, this is widely considered the most beautiful U.S. coin ever produced.
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