Common is a relative term when it comes to American gold coins as they were minted in scarce quantities compared to other coins struck by the U.S. Mint. Congress prohibited Americans from holding monetary gold in 1934 and many of the gold coins produced up to that point were sold back and melted down. This law was lifted in 1974 and collectors have actively sought gold coins since.
Indian Head Quarter Eagle
This coin produced from 1908 to 1929 features the profile of a Native American on the obverse and an eagle perched on a limb on the reverse. This coin is unique in that it has no raised edge and the features of the coin are incuse, or sunk below the coin’s surface. The Philadelphia Mint produced about half a million copies of this coin each year, with the Denver Mint striking some copies in 1911, 1914 and 1925. The quarter eagle has a face value of $2.50
Indian Head Half Eagle
Similar in design to the quarter eagle, the half eagle variety of the Indian Head was struck in fewer quantities, with about 200,000 to 400,000 coins produced most years between 1908 and 1929. Mints in Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco produced this $5 coin.
Indian Head Eagle
This $10 coin shares a name, but not a design with the quarter eagle and half eagle varieties. The obverse pictures a younger Native American with a higher headdress in profile, while the reverse features a design similar to the quarter eagle and half eagle. One large difference with this coin is that it features the raised edge and features common to American coinage. The Mint also struck this coin longer, as production did not stop until 1933 after beginning in 1907. About half a million eagles were produced most years, although some years saw as many as 2 million copies of this coin struck.
Featuring a forward walking Lady Liberty bearing a torch and olive branch on the obverse and a soaring eagle on the reverse, this coin is considered by many numismatists as the most beautiful in American coinage. The Mint designed this $20 coin with a high relief, giving it a slightly concave shape. With a weight of 33 g and a gold composition of 90 percent, the Saint-Gaudens contains nearly 1 ounce of pure gold. The coin was issued from 1907 to 1933, with more than 8 million copies produced some years in that span. Most years saw production of 1 to 3 million.
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