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Best Buy: Indian Date Sets

Indian Date Sets F
MS62 $5 and $2.5 Indian Date Sets

Thanks to our March and May Spotlight coins, many of you have become familiar with Augustus Saint-Gaudens and the beautiful gold coins he designed. This renowned sculptor was personally chosen by Theodore Roosevelt to revamp America’s gold coin denominations, as the president felt our coinage designs had become bland and stale. Saint-Gaudens’ new designs were not just a modern improvement; they were some of the most gorgeous motifs to have ever appeared on a United States coin.

Sadly, however, Saint-Gaudens would pass away in 1907 after having redesigned just two coins: the $10 eagle and the $20 double eagle. The $2.50 quarter eagle and $5 half eagle were still in need of a new design.

Roosevelt ultimately assigned the task to Bela Lyon Pratt, a student and close colleague of Saint-Gaudens. Pratt devised a beautiful Indian head motif for the two denominations featuring a unique and previously unheard-of ‘incused’ design.

Like their $10 Indian and $20 ‘Saint’ cousins, the $2.5 and $5 were inventive in their design and visually stunning.

The $2.50 and $5 Indians are closely related to the Saint-Gaudens $10 and $20 pieces in a number of ways. Like the $10 and $20 coins, the $2.50 and $5 were created as part of the same design initiative. While not designed directly by Saint-Gaudens, they maintain his spirit of creativity and innovation. From a numismatic standpoint, they share the qualities of popularity and collectability. Due to their beauty and visual appeal, $2.50 and $5 Indian gold coins are among the most popular United States gold coins.

Right now, the $2.50 and $5 Indians share another quality with their $10 and $20 cousins: Value.

The $2.5 and $5 Indian gold coins are priced at some of the most attractive levels we’ve seen in the past ten years. While generic dates seem very reasonable right now, the slightly better dates represent the best buy. In particular, we’ve identified certain 1908-1915 dates as offering the best ‘bang for the buck.’ These dates are no more than double the cost of a ‘generic’ common date, but are substantially rarer.

This month we have put together special two-coin sets featuring a MS62 $5 Indian and a MS62 $2.5 Indian. These two-coin sets are great by themselves or to be added to the MS62 $10 Indian, to create a three-coin set.

Call 800-831-0007 or email me today to add these better date $5 and $2.5 Indians to your portfolio. Whether you add one set, add to a $10 Indian, or buy one set of each date, this is a great way to buy the right coins at the right price.


The 1907-1908 redesign of America’s gold coinage was a struggle between form and function. Roosevelt’s top priority (if not his only priority) was how the coins looked. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Mint staff struggled with executing the designs; their daring features proved extremely difficult to strike.

Saint-Gaudens’ $10 and $20 coin designs, for instance, were formatted in high relief and required a tremendous amount of pressure to strike properly. Bela Lyon Pratt literally went in a different direction: he proposed a highly unusual sunken (or ‘incused’) format where the design features were below the flat surface of the coin.

Ultimately, the incused quarter eagles and half eagles faced their toughest scrutiny with the U.S. public. Citizens were concerned the coins would accumulate dirt and germs; they assumed grime would collect in the sunken recesses. Bankers and merchants feared the coins would not stack and automatic sorting machines could not handle them. Some even commented that the Indian chief on the obverse appeared emaciated! Both Roosevelt and the U.S. Mint defended the design and stated publicly that they were pleased with the end result.

In the end, the biggest opponent to the $2.50 and $5 Indians was the paper bank note. Gold coins reigned supreme in the West, as people gravitated towards hard money. Paper money became more popular in the East.

Everyday citizens began embracing paper money for routine transactions, especially in the $1 to $5 range. Banks still preferred to hold their reserves in $10 and $20 gold coins, but individuals began using paper over gold for day-to-day purchases. Consequently, 20th century $2.50 and $5 coins are significantly rarer than their $10 and $20 counterparts.

Mintages and Rarity

June15 Spotlight 1908 2.5 Slab F

Evidence of this phenomenon can be seen in the $2.50 and $5 mintages. The $2.50 Indian was struck in modest quantities from 1908 through 1915, only to be discontinued for about a decade. The coin was produced again from 1925 through 1929, but then phased out entirely. The 1908-1915 issues are all scarcer than the 1925-1929 dates, both in terms of overall populations and rarity in higher grades. The earlier dates were much more likely to be spent and therefore are typically seen in XF-AU grades. The later dates are typically seen with little or no wear.

Mintages of the $5 Indians were especially lopsided. Moderate quantities were struck in Philadelphia from 1908 through 1915, but the Denver Mint produced a significant quantity in 1909. The only logical explanation is Westerners didn’t trust $5 paper notes and wanted $5 coins instead.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Americans preferred the $5 bill over the $5 coin. A small number of $5 Indians were made in 1916, and a tiny spurt released in 1929, before the denomination was discontinued altogether. 1929 $5 Indians are extremely rare and trade for $15,000-$50,000 on average.

The PCGS population figures tell the same story. In MS62, the 1908-1915 $2.5 Indians are all at least twice as rare as the 1929 issue. In the $5 Indian series, the non-09-D dates are anywhere from 50-700% rarer, but premiums are just 10-60% higher. Simply put, the premiums have not caught up to the rarity factors.

$2.5 Indians PCGS MS62 Population X Rarer than Common
1929 4,260  
1908 1,491 2.86
1909 983 4.33
1910  1,044 4.08
1911 1,870 2.28
1912 1,121 3.80
1913 1,722 2.47
1914-D 1,705 2.50
1915 1,584 2.69


$5 Indians PCGS MS62 Population X Rarer than Common
1909-D 8,965  
1908 1,843 2.31
1909 1,468 2.90
1910 1,470 2.90
1911 2,117 2.01
1912 2,713 1.57
1913 2,814 1.51
1914 665 6.41
1914-D 534 7.98
1915 1,354 3.15

With common date MS62 $2.50 and $5 Indians trading in the $400’s and $700’s respectively, the better dates represent outstanding value. You get a tremendous amount of additional rarity for not much more money.

$2.5 Indians NGC Price Guide (in MS62)
1908 775
1909 850
1910 770
1911 700
1912 865
1913 700
1914-D 800
1915 700


$5 Indians NGC Price Guide (in MS62)
1908 800
1909 800
1910 800
1911 815
1912 815
1913 785
1914 1,100
1914-D 1,175
1915 875

 Real Value

As the population and pricing data indicate, the better-date $2.50 and $5 Indians are undervalued by the market. On top of that, we were able to buy a cache of these coins below prevailing market levels. We can offer a limited number of two-coin date sets at a discount to NGC’s price valuations. That is, you would receive a $2.50 Indian and $5 Indian, both of the same date, and both graded PCGS MS62.

For those of you who took advantage of our wildly successful May spotlight coin, we especially recommend you consider this offering. These two-coin sets are the same dates as the $10 Indians we offered in May, thus allowing you to assemble three-coin Indian sets. In numismatics, sets are almost always worth more than the sum of their parts. Completing a three-coin Indian gold set is a great way of adding value to your holdings.

Date #of Sets Price NGC Price Guide
1908 3 $1,310 $1,575
1909 1 $1,365 $1,650
1910 4 $1,310 $1,570
1911 7 $1,280 $1,515
1912 4 $1,425 $1,680
1913 9 $1,280 $1,485
1914* 2 $1,680 $1,900
1915 3 $1,340 $1,575
$2.5 Indian will be 1914-D, $5 Indian will be 1914 or 1914-D

Take Advantage

June15 Spotlight 1908 5 Slab F

The American gold coinage redesign of 1907-1908 is one of the greatest stories in U.S. numismatics. This sweeping overhaul, ordered by Theodore Roosevelt, resulted in four of the most attractive and unique motifs to grace America’s money. The $2.50 and $5 Indians, designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ protégé Bela Lyon Pratt, are renowned for their unique format and stunning appearance.

The present offering allows you to acquire these famed gold coins in Uncirculated condition. Making the offer even more attractive, the coins are being sold in two-coin year sets. Finding these coins on their own is difficult enough, but sourcing two-coin matched sets is considerably more difficult. The fact that they fit with the $10 Indians previously offered in May makes them an even rarer opportunity.

The PCGS MS62 $10 Indians disappeared at a rapid pace, and we expect the same to happen with these Indian gold sets too.

We have 8 different date sets to choose from and all of the two-coin date sets are priced at least $200 less than price guides suggest. All coins are certified by either NGC or PCGS. The quantity available is in the pricing chart below.

Date Qty Price
1908 3 Call for price & availability
1909 1 Call for price & availability
1910 4 Call for price & availability
1911 7 Call for price & availability
1912 4 Call for price & availability
1913 9 Call for price & availability
1914** 2 Call for price & availability
1915 3 Call for price & availability

 **$2.5 Indian will be a 1914-D, $5 Indian will be either a 1914 or 1914-D

There is no additional cost for shipping, handling or insurance. While supplies last, the price you see is the price you pay.

Call – 800-831-0007 - or email me today to purchase your coins and to take advantage of this low price before the market discovers the price anomaly.

*Prices are subject to change based upon product availability and due to market fluctuation.

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