$10 Indian Head Eagle

The $10 Indian Gold Coin is a gold coin produced by the US mint between 1907 and 1933; the designer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, featured a display of an Indian Chief.

General Details

Coin Highlights

  • Composition is .48375 troy oz of gold (90% purity) and 10% copper alloy
  • Weight: 16.718 grams
  • Diameter: 26.92 mm
  • Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (minted from 1907–1933)

The Indian Head Eagle was a $10 a gold piece struck by US Mint continuously from 1907 until 1916; thereafter, it was minted irregularly until 1933 when Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order No. 6260 put a stop to all gold coin production. There are many rare dates in this short-lived series. Proofs of all years are exceedingly scarce and rarely seen on the market.

History of the $10 Indian Head Eagle

As part of President Teddy Roosevelt’s “beautification” of American coinage, what he affectionately referred to as his “pet crime,” the $10 Liberty Head style was replaced by prominent US sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ Indian Head.

Elected President in his own right in 1904, Roosevelt had seen first hand the work of Mint engravers Charles E. Barber and George T. Morgan and he wasn’t a fan. He commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign an Inaugural medal. Saint-Gaudens drew out the design and supervised one of his students, Adolph A. Weinman, who would later become famous for designing the “Mercury” Dime and ever-popular Walking Liberty Half Dollar, in actually executing the sculpture. The President was pleased with the end result and commissioned an entire set of new coin designs from Saint-Gaudens.

Saint-Gaudens took as reference, a figure of Lady Victory which he had used as part of the General Sherman monument at the edge of New York’s Central Park. Roosevelt reviewed the drawings and objected to Lady Victory wearing a crown of Laurel branches. He insisted they be replaced with a feathered Indian war bonnet. Roosevelt approved of the reverse depicting a boldly confident Eagle standing on top of an olive branch, the motto E PLURIBUS UNUM to the right.

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President Theodore Roosevelt objected in general to using the name of the Deity on coinage and considered it sacrilege; therefore, IN GOD WE TRUST, was omitted from the Indian Eagles of 1907 and many of the ones produced in 1908 as well. Congress intervened and forcibly restored the religious motto to all subsequent issues.

Although much easier to produce than Saint-Gaudens’ Double Eagle, his Indian Head Eagle had its own share of technical problems which caused production delays initially.

Several rare, or experimental, varieties were produced in 1907, including 500 specimens of the “wire edge” variety, which was characterized by a sharp rim and had periods before and after the E PLURIBUS UNUM. Of the same variety, only with rounded rim edges, 42 were struck.

Charles Barber, under pressure to get the new Eagles into circulation, made some slight modifications to the design and 239,406 coins were made for circulation and distributed.

The coin continued to be struck annually between 1907 and 1916. World War I erupted and many gold coins were returning from Europe to pay for war materials; consequently, the minting of Indian Head Eagles was discontinued after 1916. They wouldn’t be struck again until 1920 at the San Francisco Mint. They were struck in 1926 at the Philadelphia Mint, 1932, and finally in 1933. In March 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that no more gold, in the form of coins, be released from the Treasury; the Mint subsequently stopped production of gold coins; thereby, ending the Eagles series that had begun in 1795. Nearly the entire mintage of 312,500 were melted. One sold in 2004, graded MS-66 (the finest example of this date known) for $718,750. Only 40 Eagles from 1933 are known to have survived.

The Treasury throughout the following years after 1933 melted down millions of gold coins. Many of the gold coins seen today may have spent decades in European as they were sent there when gold ownership was outlaws in 1933; many have been repatriated after the gold-ban was lifted in 1971.

The Midas Gold Group proudly offers some of these incredible specimens to discerning numismatic collectors and investors wanting tangible assets.

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Specifications
$10 Indian
#SpecificationValue
1Denomination$10
2FinishUncirculated
3Composition.9000 gold .1000 copper
4Diameter1.0630 inches (27 mm)
5Weight0.4838 troy oz (15.05 g)
6EdgeReeded
7Design
8MintUS Mint
9Years of Mintage1907–1933
10IRA EligibleNo
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