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$5 Indian

Front - 5 dollar Indian Head Gold Coin Back - 5 dollar Indian Head Gold Coin


In 1908 numismatists were surprised by the new design of the Quarter and half eagle. Sculptor Bela Lyon Pratt, chose to recess areas of design that were once shown in relief and raised the field of the coin to become the highest portion. This was a distinct departure from previous design techniques.

The obverse of the Pratt quarter eagle, known as the Indian Head type, features an Indian chief facing left, with LIBERTY above, six stars to the left and seven to the right, and the date below. The reverse shows an eagle perched on a branch or log, with UNITED STATES OF AMERICA above, E PLLTRIBUS UNUM to the left, IN GOD WE TRUST to the right and the denomination expressed as 2 1/2 DOLLARS below.

Examples were produced at the Philadelphia Mint from 1908 through 1915 and again from 1925 through 1929. Denver Mint pieces were produced in 1911, 1914 and 1925, with the 1911-D considered to be the rarity of the series.

The type set collector can easily find examples of the Indian Head quarter eagle in grades from Very Fine to AU. Uncirculated pieces are scarce, and superb Uncirculated pieces are very scarce. The scarcity of higher grade pieces is explained not by the mintage's, which in most instances were generous, but by the format of the coin.


Pratt obviously felt the need to create a unique design one that, in theory would endure the effects of time as detail was thought to be protected by the recessed engraving. However, the opposite occurred. Because so much of the coin was raised, it was very susceptible to scuffs as coins banged together in bags even before they were released. It will be difficult to find one of true beauty.
$5 Indian
Bela Lyon Pratt
0.900 part gold, 0.100 part copper
18 mm
64.5 grains

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