Liberty Head (Coronet Head) collection

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Facts at a Glance

  • Following the Coinage Act of 1792 and the establishment of the U.S. Mint, a set of standards was applied to gold coins, leading to the creation of denominations known as Eagles, featuring the bald eagle, a requirement for coins with a face value greater than a dime.
  • Initially, three denominations were produced: the gold eagle at $10, the half eagle at $5, and the quarter eagle at $2.50.
  • In the mid-19th century, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1849, leading to the introduction of two more denominations in response to gold abundance: the gold dollar and the double eagle.
  • Over time, these coins became known for featuring the image of Lady Liberty, leading to their common name as the Liberty Head (or Coronet Head) collection.
  • The one-dollar gold coin, designed by James Longacre in 1849, was the smallest U.S. coin in history and was later replaced by the Morgan Dollar, with one-dollar gold coins primarily minted for commemorative purposes.
  • The $5 half eagle underwent significant changes in design over time, with William Kneass introducing the “5D” value marking and removing “E PLURIBUS UNUM” to distinguish it from John Reich’s “Draped Bust” half eagle.
  • Christian Gobrecht’s rendition of Liberty, featuring two trailing curls down her neck, first appeared on the $10 eagle in 1838 and was later used on the $2.50 quarter eagle and $5 half eagle, remaining relatively unchanged for nearly 70 years.
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Description

In the late 18th Century, following the Coinage Act of 1792 and establishment of the U.S. Mint, a set of standards was applied to all gold coins struck by the United States government. The coins that resulted from the Act came to be known as Eagles due to their use of a repeating figure of the bald eagle, which, by Congressional Act must always appear on coins with face value greater than a dime. Initially there were three denominations of these coins: The gold eagle at $10, the half eagle at $5 and the quarter eagle at $2.50.

In the mid-19th Century, with the nation finding itself with an abundance of gold following the gold rushes in Carolina and California, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1849, which instructed the U.S. Mint to create two more denominations of the series: The gold dollar and double eagle.

As time wore on, these coins became known for the face of the woman that graced them, Lady Liberty, and thus the name Liberty Head gold coins. Today, this set of coins is generally called the Liberty Head (or Coronet Head) collection.

The one dollar gold coin, designed by James Longacre in 1849, was the smallest coin in U.S. history, and was met with extreme consternation given its diminutive size versus its substantial buying power. Ultimately it was replaced with the Morgan Dollar, and since then, one dollar gold coins minted in the U.S. have been for commemorative purposes.

The $5 half eagle had a long history of transformation with both obverse and reverse changing significantly over time. William Kneass is credited with finally putting the value on the reduced sized coin, indicated by “5D.” His Liberty head also had “E PLURIBUS UNUM” removed to further distinguish it from John Reich’s “Draped Bust” half eagle.

Investors are most likely to encounter the designs of Christian Gobrecht. Gobrecht’s rendition of Liberty, with those two luxurious curls trailing down the nape of her neck, first appeared on the $10 eagle in 1838 and subsequently was placed on the $2.50 quarter eagle and $5 half eagle as well, then remaining practically unchanged for nearly 70 years.

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To learn more about the Liberty Head (Coronet Head) collection and to get current pricing, please call us at (800) 355-2116

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Specifications

Liberty Head (Coronet Head) dollar ($1)
Mint dates: 1849-1854
Designer: James B. Longacre
Gold content: 0.048375 oz
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Diameter: 13 mm
Gross weight: 0.054 troy oz (1.672 g)

Quarter eagle ($2.50)
Mint dates: 1840-1907
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Gold content: 0.12094 oz
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Diameter: 18 mm
Gross weight: 0.134 troy oz (4.18 g)

Half eagle ($5)
Mint dates: 1840-1907
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Gold content: 0.24187 oz
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Diameter: 21.6 mm
Gross weight: 0.270 troy oz (8.359 g)

Eagle ($10)
Mint dates: 1838-1907
Designer: Christian Gobrecht
Gold content: 0.48375 oz
Composition: 90% gold, 10% copper
Diameter: 27 mm
Gross weight: 0.537 troy oz (16.718 g)

Please note, Birch Gold’s selection of products rotates over time. To learn more about Liberty Head gold coins, their availability and current pricing, please call us at (800) 355-2116.

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