A Guide to Indian Head Gold Coins | Marin Aleksov


The Indian Head Gold coin acts as a symbolic representation for Indigenous People and the original 13 American Colonies established by the English during the 17th and 18th centuries. They range in face value from $20 to $2.50, and each coin pays tribute to the generations of the past and their heritage, culture and traditions.

Unique artwork, Latin and English inscriptions, special engravings and advanced technological features also make the collectible a truly special piece in the world of numismatics.

History and Variations of Indian Head Gold Coins

The first Indian Head coin was minted in 1907 and became instantly popular. President Theodore Roosevelt, who was in command from 1901 to 1909, saw this as an important initiative following the Civil War, which ended in 1865. Not only did he want to make American numismatics more aesthetically appealing, he wanted to create a sense of pride and patriotism at a time when the country was going through a number of political, religious, socioeconomic and technological developments. 

President Roosevelt originally entrusted artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens to deliver the coins, as he had a personal and professional relationship with him. Roosevelt was also especially impressed by his past work and use of recognizable American icons such as angels, eagles and flag patterns. But Bela Lyon Pratt, an artisan from Connecticut, took over after Gaudens’ passing in 1907. Varieties of the Indian Head coin remained in production until 1933, when the Franklin Roosevelt Gold Confiscation Executive Order forced the Mint to stop making the coin. 

It’s important to note that during this time, the coin did go through minor design updates. 

First, its phrases were changed. When the first circulated $10 coins entered the public’s hands, references  to “God” were not commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt. 

Second, its edges were altered. When New Mexico and Arizona became states in 1912, designers added representative stars to the lettered edge on $10 coins. Third, its strikes were revised. After some time, wire rims were substituted for regular strikes on $10 coins.

Specifications

With a little of the coin’s history in mind, let’s look at three particular denominations of gold Indian Head coins. More specifically, Rosland Capital offers the $10, $5 and $2.50 coin. While these coins differ in some small variations, they are similar in other areas like their obverse and reverse layouts.

The $10 Indian Head Gold Coin

For amateur and experienced collectors alike, the $10 Indian Head Gold Coin can be a unique asset. 

Coin Characteristics

  • Images: Lady Liberty with an Indian war bonnet; eagle standing on an olive branch
  • Inscriptions: “LIBERTY;” “IN GOD WE TRUST;” “Out of many, one”
  • Special technology/features: Reeded edge
  • Demand: Popular in 1907 with its interesting 3-D wire rim appearance

Quick Facts

  • Size: $10 Indian
  • Purity: 90% gold
  • Weight: 16.718 g
  • Diameter: 27 mm

The $5 Indian Head Gold Coin

For any precious metal coin holder, the $5 Indian Head Gold Coin provides other memorable features.

Coin Characteristics

  • Images: Indian head with feathered headdress; standing eagle on a sheaf of arrows with an olive branch
  • Inscriptions: “LIBERTY;” “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;” “IN GOD WE TRUST.”
  • Special technology/features: Incuse relief design; recessed images and letters
  • Demand: Recently have found high popularity

Quick Facts

  • Size: $5 Indian 
  • Purity: 90% gold
  • Weight: 8.359 g
  • Diameter: 21.6 mm

The $2.50 Indian Head Gold Coin

Aside from the $10 and $5 coin, collectors should not forget about the $2.50 Indian Head Gold Coin.

Coin Characteristics

  • Images: Indian Head with feathered headdress
  • Inscriptions: “LIBERTY;” “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;” “IN GOD WE TRUST”
  • Special technology/features: Incuse relief design; recessed images and letters
  • Demand: Recently have found high popularity

Quick Facts

  • Size: $2.50 Indian
  • Purity: 90% gold
  • Weight: 4.18 g
  • Diameter: 18 mm

After looking at each version, a main difference to highlight is the fact that the $2.50 and $5 Indian Head gold coins are the first and only U.S.

gold coins with an incuse relief. Many worried during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic that the sunken spots would allow viruses, bacteria, dirt and grime to harbor in the crevices.

These are not the only collectibles to potentially consider, though.

Other Indian Head Products from Rosland Capital 

Alongside the three Indian Head Coins previously mentioned, there is also the 1912 Graded $10 Indian Head Gold Coin. 

Coins are usually graded according to the Sheldon Scale. It is named after Herbert Sheldon, who conceptualized it in 1949. It is a 70-point scale for coin grading quality and condition. The Sheldon Scale has since been adopted by major organizations such as The American Numismatic Association, Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, Professional Coin Grading Service and Independent Coin Graders. The most common coin grades are:

  • Poor (P-1)
  • Fair (FR-2)
  • Good (G-4)
  • Fine (F-12)
  • About Uncirculated (AU-50)
  • Mint State Basal (MS-60)
  • Mint State Acceptable (MS-63)
  • Mint State Choice (MS-65)
  • Mint State Premium Quality (MS-68)
  • Mint State Perfect (MS-70)

Professional third party coin grading can be advantageous for a number of reasons. Primarily, it provides reassurance, stability and a backing for all parties during the evaluation and ownership processes. Overall worth, legitimacy and rareness can be decided on jointly, so there is no gray area for either side. Above all, it provides a high level of protection for each piece with packaging that prevents common forms of mishandling like damaging falls. 

Closing Thoughts

From 1907 to today, the Indian Head Gold Coin has stood the test of time. Its changes attest to its longevity, and its large demand shows the public’s continued interest. Most importantly, its survival carries on the legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt and his founding vision for American numismatics. 

Learn more about these coins or other gold pieces like bullion coins, premium coins or gold bars from Rosland Capital. 


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