MS62 1903 New Orleans $10 Liberty Eagle
An Underrated Segment of the United States Coin Market
The $10 gold eagle was the longest-lived of America’s circulating gold coins. It was first struck in 1795 and was produced regularly until 1933, when Franklin D. Roosevelt abolished gold coinage altogether.
Despite being a mainstay of American money, the coin was overshadowed in 1850 with the introduction of the $20 double eagle. As financial institutions gravitated towards the larger $20 coin, the $10 eagle’s mintages trailed off. Indeed, what few numismatists realize is how many $10 eagles from the 1870’s through the early 1900’s had surprisingly low production levels.
In recent years, the $10 Liberty has started to get the attention it deserves. Many dates in the 1860’s and 1870’s have appreciated by 50-200% in the past several years. However, there are still many great values in the series.
The very first $10 gold eagles were struck in 1795. Producing gold coinage was a landmark achievement for the United States; it was a sign of status and advancement as a nation. Established countries like Great Britain, France and Brazil were already issuing gold pieces—and the U.S. was eager to join that club. Unfortunately, America’s gold coinage was initially rejected in international commerce. Merchants preferred to use familiar coins like French 24 Livres or Brazilian 4000 Reis over these new American pieces. As a result, demand and mintages remained very low.
Finally, in 1804, the United States Mint decided to temporarily discontinue the $10 eagle. The smaller $5 half eagle was closer in size to the world’s most recognized and popular gold coins—and as a result, it found some acceptance domestically and abroad.
The $10 eagle, meanwhile, was largely rejected worldwide. American gold coins would face another issue in the 1810’s and 1820’s. As gold spiked during the Napoleonic Wars, U.S. gold coins had greater melt value than face value. An arbitrage play developed; U.S. gold coins could be bought at face value in the states and melted in Europe for a profit.
As world conditions stabilized in the late 1830’s, the United States revisited the $10 eagle. It was brought back in 1838 with a design engraved by Christian Gobrecht. The portrait of Liberty on the obverse was inspired by the portrait of Venus in Benjamin West’s painting, Omnia Vincit Amor (Love Conquers All). The motif was extremely well-received and later adopted for the half eagle in 1839 and the quarter eagle in 1840.
A testament to the design’s popularity is the fact that it remained in place until the 20th century. Numismatists refer to this design as the ‘Coronet Series,’ or more frequently, the ‘Liberty’ series.
The best way to describe $10 Liberty production levels is inconsistent. The denomination was in constant competition with the $20 double eagle—and eventually, the latter prevailed as the coin of choice.
For example, from 1881 to 1882, the Philadelphia Mint struck over 6 million $10 eagles. By comparison, that same year, it only struck 2,770 double eagles! The tides would later turn in years like 1889, where Philadelphia released just 4,440 $10 eagles and ten times as many $20 double eagles. As time went on, the double eagle won the ‘mintage war’ just about every year.
It’s also interesting to study the mintage trends on a year-by-year basis. We can only assume the mints severely overestimated demand at times, as evidenced by years like 1901 and 1902. The Philadelphia Mint released 1.7 million $10 eagles in 1901, but the following year produced just 82,400 coins. There are no obvious reasons for this phenomenon other than poor planning—or a desire to make use of excess gold deposits.
Why is the $10 Eagle a Good Buy Today?
On the supply side, the vast majority of pre-1933 U.S. gold coins are worn and/or damaged. The typical coin shows some combination of circulation, scratching, cleaning, and abrasions. Problem-free Mint State coins are the exception; only a minute fraction of all coins survived in Uncirculated. Whereas VF or XF coins can be located with some effort, pieces grading MS60 or better exist in much smaller quantities.
Given their limited supply and robust collector demand, we’re stunned by today’s minuscule premiums for Uncirculated vintage U.S. gold coins. The most commonly-encountered issues are dated between 1878 to 1907. Each $10 “Lib” contains 0.48375 oz. of fine gold, making it comparable in size and price to a 1/2 oz. American Gold Eagle.
Today we're offering sets of 3 distinct dates on $10 Liberty Eagles in MS61.
The $10 Liberty series, as a whole, is an underrated segment of the United States coin market. In the past few years, many dates have started to appreciate dramatically—and we expect this trend to continue.
Take advantage of this chance to own a set of 3 coins in MS61 (with 3 different dates guaranteed) at a great price.
- Your cost per set is $3,899 each*
Don't delay. Please call us today at 800-831-0007 or email us to purchase your MS61 $10 Liberty Eagle Sets.
*Prices subject to change based on market fluctuation and product availability. Prices reflected are for cash, check, or bank wire. Free shipping, handling, and insurance are available for all quantities ordered. Grading service selection is random and depends on availability. Date selection is random. Offer expires May 13, 2022, or while supplies last.