From 1907 through 1916, every United States circulating coin underwent a significant design change....
Indian Head Gold Coinage with Room to Grow in Your Portfolio
When we declare a coin to be a “best buy,” we look for three elements: super value, a fabulous historical backstory, and a gorgeous design. The best-performing coins are those with undeniable collector appear paired with a highly attractive price point. Right now, $2.50 and $5 Indian gold coins offer exactly that.
In particular, at today’s price levels, these coins are an especially savvy buy in MS64 condition. Not only are they trading for significantly less than their all-time peaks, but there’s also a tremendous “spread” to the next grade. As a result, these coins have significant room to grow in value. But first, we’d like to share the story of how these unique coins came to be...
The period between 1907 and 1921 is considered a “renaissance era” for American coinage. Every major circulating denomination underwent a complete design transformation. After decades of monotony, the U.S. Mint not only demanded change – but commissioned outside artists to create the new motifs. This project, spearheaded by President Theodore Roosevelt, gave way to some of America’s most beautiful and iconic coinage designs.
Roosevelt originally commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens (the designer of the $10 Indian and $20 “Saint”) to overhaul the $2.50 and $5 denominations. However, before the famed sculptor could tackle those two coins, he unexpectedly passed away in 1907. Roosevelt still wanted the coins to be redesigned in a creative and innovative manner. Thus, he assigned the project to Bela Lyon Pratt, one of Saint-Gaudens’ students.
Like his teacher, Pratt wanted his gold coin prototypes to be unique and unlike any other US coin. The subject matter of his design was somewhat conventional; it featured a portrait of a Native American princess on the obverse and a perched Eagle on the reverse. What made the design unusual was its incuse format, meaning that the design details were sunken or recessed.
This concept was met with both praise and controversy. Roosevelt, who was mostly concerned with aesthetics, adored the designs and approved them immediately. The Mint, on the other hand, was terrified about how difficult the coins would be to strike. While incuse coins have existed since ancient times, this was a first for the U.S. Mint – and possibly the very first incuse coin intended for mass production.
The Mint’s fears were not unfounded. Once Pratt’s designs were officially approved, the Denver and San Francisco Mints reported major challenges in making the new Indian gold coins. The only solution was to shave or adjust the planchets (blanks) slightly so that the coins would strike properly. Despite the vociferous protests, the coin still went into mass-production.
The controversy didn’t end there. Once released, the general public feared that germs, dirt, and grime would get stuck in the coin’s sunken recesses. Merchants lamented that the coins didn’t stack properly and were being rejected by automatic sorting/counting machines. Despite these complaints, production of the $2.50 and $5 Indian gold coins continued.
Ultimately, the Indian gold pieces became more popular as collectibles than as units of trade. Banks preferred to use larger denominations for reserves and transfers. A typical financial institution would hold its gold deposits in $10 and $20 coins, not $2.50 and $5 pieces. In addition, more and more Americans were using $1, $2, and $5 paper bills in place of gold coins.
Within a decade, the $2.50 and $5 Indian gold coins were being made primarily as gifts and novelties. Mintages dwindled considerably before both denominations were put on hiatus altogether. Even though the $10 and $20 pieces were made until 1933, the last Indian gold coins came off the dies in 1929. Not only were mintages quite low, but many $2.50 and $5 Indians were later melted after Franklin Roosevelt’s restriction on private gold ownership.
The $2.50 and $5 Indians may not have been popular in everyday commerce, but it soon became a beloved collectible. They were among the very first to develop substantial numismatic premiums and by the 1970s, they were already trading for double or triple their melt value. Their unusual and highly attractive design made them an early favorite with collectors.
Anecdotally, numismatists have always known that $2.50 and $5 Indians were scarce in high grade. After all, the lack of a raised rim left the flat surfaces vulnerable to wear and damage. However, when PCGS and NGC began publishing population data, this belief was confirmed with actual statistics. The vast majority of Uncirculated $2.50 and $5 Indians graded no higher than MS63. Specimens grading MS64 and higher were surprisingly rare.
This condition rarity is reflected in market pricing. In MS65, one can expect to pay approximately $1500+ for a $2.50 Indian and $8000+ for a $5 Indian. This means the two-coin set would cost close to $10k. By comparison, we’re able to offer two-coin $2.50 and $5 Indian sets in MS64 for $2,749 delivered. For approximately one quarter of the cost of an MS65 set, you can own near-Gem MS64 sets that have virtually identical levels of preservation and eye appeal.
There’s one other value comparison worth mentioning. Within the past decade, this same set was commanding $5,250-$5,500 – or essentially double the current market value. Looking back further, in 2006, one major retailer began promoting Indian gold coinage. Their marketing push created a major shortage of MS64 $2.50 and $5 Indians; these coins peaked at $2,000 and $6,000 respectively! In other words, your cost today is both a fraction of the all-time peak and the value of an MS65 set.
Your cost is $2,749 per set* delivered, which is a discount to NGC’s price guide of $2,950 – and a major discount to their MS65 value of $9,500.
$2.50 and $5 Indian gold coins have been a collector favorite for decades, but now they’re an excellent value too. This offering represents a fantastic opportunity to own high-grade specimens at a fraction of their all-time highs – and at a major discount to MS65 pricing.
Take advantage of this chance to acquire some of America’s most unique gold coins at a truly exceptional price! Call us at 800-831-0007, or email email@example.com.