The $10 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 $5 Indian Heads and $20 Saint-Gaudens.
- Obverse: Lady Liberty in headdress
- Reverse: Standing eagle on branch
- Years: 1907-1916, 1920, 1926, 1930 & 1932-1933
- Mints: D, S and P
In the early 1900s, President Theodore Roosevelt decided he wanted an entire overhaul of the nation’s gold currency. 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 $10 Indian Head was to replace the $10 Liberty Head which had been in circulation since 1838.
In 1905, President Roosevelt commissioned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to design all 4 new Eagle coins and the new cent. In the first year of minting, 1907, a small batch of $10 Indian Heads were produced with unique wire or rounded edges. In the best conditions, these wire and rounded edge pieces are worth north of $200,000 and are highly sought after.
1908, the new gold currency for the country was minted without the motto “In God We Trust”. This was because a line in the Coinage Act of 1892 amended the existing law that required the motto. President Roosevelt realized this and decided to leave the motto off of the coins because he believed God’s name on money was sacreligous. This however led to a public outcry and quickly one year later the design was changed to add the motto back to the obverse of the coins. These coins without the motto are referred to as “No Motto” and in the highest grades have a similar value to other valuable date and mint mark combinations in the $100,000 range.
After the newest design was finalized in 1908 with the motto, the coin was produced until 1916 at the Philadelphia, Denver 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 as needed a few more times in 1920 at San Francisco, 1926 at Philadelphia, 1930 at San Francisco & 1932-1933 at Philadelphia. Due to the drastic decrease of production, some of these final few dates are extremely valuable.
In 1933, President Theodore Roosevelt’s distant cousin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ended the minting of gold coins – thus ending the production of the $10 Indian Head. The most valuable date and mint mark combinations are the 1920-S , the 1930-S and the 1933-P and the 1907 wire or rounded edge pieces.
Unfortunately, Augustus Saint-Gaudens did not live long enough to see the minting of this coin. He passed away shortly after designing this piece, but his name undoubtedly lives on with this coin and as well as the $20 Saint-Gaudens.
At Atlas we have access to a wide variety of $10 Indian Heads in a variety of dates and mint marks.