half eagle

From 1795 to 1929, the Half Eagle was a United States coin that was produced for circulation. It was also produced as commemorative and bullion coins since the 1980s. It is composed almost entirely of gold and has a face value of five dollars. It was the first gold coin minted by the United States. Its production was authorized by The Act of April 2, 1792.


In 1839 the coin was redesigned again by Christian Gobrecht. It is known as the “Liberty Head or “Coronet head”. This design was used for nearly 70 years, from 1839 to 1908, with a modest change in 1866, when “In God We Trust” was placed on the reverse above the eagle. It holds the distinction of being the only coin of a single design to be minted at seven U.S. Mints: Philadelphia, Dahlonega, Charlotte, New Orleans, San Francisco, Carson City, and Denver.


In 1908, the final type, designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, was first produced. The composition, weight, and diameter of the coin remained unchanged, but both the obverse and reverse were drastically altered. The new design matched the new quarter eagle design of the same date. These two series are unique in United States coinage because the design and inscriptions are stamped in incuse, rather than being raised from the surface, meaning that the flat surfaces are the highest points of the coin. The obverse depicted an Indian head wearing a feathered headdress. The reverse depicted a perched eagle with the inscriptions “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and “IN GOD WE TRUST”. Production of the half eagle was suspended during World War I and not resumed until 1929, the final year of issue.