The $5 Indian Head “Eagle” is the last coin of this denomination ever minted by the U.S. This piece is 1 of 4 pieces in the “Indian Head” series along with the $2.5 and $10 Indian Heads and $20 Saint-Gaudens.
- Obverse: Native American man in headdress
- Reverse: Standing eagle on branch
- Years: 1907-1916 & 1929
- Mints: D, S, O and P
President Theodore Roosevelt made minting new gold currency for the country one of his top priorities in his 2nd term. He sought out the minting of a new Double Eagle – $20, Eagle – $10, Half Eagle – $5 and a Quarter Eagle – $2.5 and a new cent. This specific piece, the $5 Indian Head was to replace the $5 Liberty Head which had been in circulation since 1839.
President Roosevelt commissioned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design all 4 new Eagle coins and the new cent. However, Saint-Gaudens passed away shortly after designing the $20 Saint-Gaudens and the $10 Indian Head. One of Saint-Gaudens former sculpting mentees, Bela Lyon Pratt, wound up designing the new $5 and $2.5 pieces. The design for both of these pieces are identical and they are unusual because the designs are stamped in rather than raised from the surface.
The $5 Indian Head was produced until 1916 at the Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans and San Francisco mints. The halt of production was due to the rising prices of gold brought on by the economic unrest of World War I. It was then only minted one more time in 1929 at the Philadelphia Mint. The 1929s are very rare with only 662,000 ever minted and most of them were stored by the U.S. Treasury and then melted down in 1933 when President Theodore Roosevelt’s distant cousin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ended the minting of gold coins. Some of the other most valuable date and mint mark combinations are the 1909-O, 1913-S and the 1911-D.
Augustus Saint Gaudens did not live long enough to design this coin, but Bela Lyon Pratt did an outstanding job and together they designed 4 of the most beautiful coins in American History!
At Atlas we have access to thousands of $5 Indian Heads in a vast variety of grades, dates and mint marks.