HomeGold BullionGold CoinsPre-1933 US Gold Coins$5 Liberty Gold Half Eagles
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The $5 Liberty Gold Half Eagle was first struck by the U.S. Mint in 1839 and was produced until 1908. This coin is popular among collectors and investors due to its interesting history and rarity. This coin is one of few left since in 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt discontinued the production of gold currency in the U.S. Each Liberty Half Eagle coin is made with 90% fine gold and contains a total of .24187 troy ounces of pure gold.
The Liberty Half Eagle was introduced in 1839, after three earlier designs. The Turban Head design ran from 1795-1798, the Draped Bust design ran from 1807 to 1812, and the Classic Head design was the Liberty Half Eagle’s immediate predecessor, running from 1834-1837.
Christian Gobrecht was chosen to design the obverse design of the Liberty Half Eagle because of his notable rendition of Lady Liberty. Christian Gobrecht held the position of the third chief engraver of the United States Mint from 1840 to 1844. His work was revered and influenced many Liberty renditions after his passing in 1844.
The Liberty Half Eagle design was produced from its design in 1839 to its discontinuation in 1908. Because of its relatively short time in production and its intricate design, the Liberty Half Eagle is popular among collectors, particularly those who collect coins as a hobby or use their collection to diversify their investment portfolio.
The Liberty Half Eagle coin design features Lady Liberty’s profile and the famous crown on intricately styled hair. Gobrecht points to Greco-Roman influence in his art when it comes to the design of her hair and clothing. The ring of stars surrounding the mintage year mimics the design of ancient Roman currency.
The reverse side of the coin contrasts greatly with the Greco-Roman design and draws on American iconography, such as the eagle. The bird is centered on the coin and spreads its wings while carrying a large shield, talons gripping an olive branch and a bundle of arrows. Coins minted after 1866 feature the “In God We Trust” motto.
The amount of gold used in currency began to dwindle in the late 1800s, coming to a halt with President Roosevelt in 1933. Because the amount of gold used in coins shifted, to preserve the quality of the Liberty Half Eagle, the coin was redesigned and released as the $10 Indian Gold Half Eagle in 1908. Designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, the new design featured only stamping in incuse — meaning that the flat surfaces were the highest points of the coin. Many thought that this would create a sturdier, more resistant coin, though those claims are unsubstantiated. Production of any Half Eagle coin halted during World War I, only to be restarted in 1929, the final year of issue.
The Liberty Half Eagle Gold Coin is available in small amounts today, usually from professional coin-trading companies or serious collectors at conferences. The coin is available in both designs — the early design with no motto and the later design with “In God We Trust.” These coins are available in a variety of grades and conditions, all of which affect the price of the coin, the long-term investment value, and resale value. A “G” grade coin of this design could sell for around $575, while a MS 64 grade coin could sell for upwards of $64,000.
The coin is definitely a collector’s item, and collectors often find Liberty Half Eagles by the mint at which they were printed. Collectors will focus on a few of the mints that created the coin and attempt to trace the coins to modern-day, trying to find one available for purchase. Some, more serious collectors will collect Liberty Half Eagles by decade or by year. Having historical knowledge about the mints during the decade of which you are trying to collect is a must when attempting to secure coins this way.
Those wanting to invest in gold often buy these coins as well. However, due to the rarity and high demand from collectors, these coins aren’t a passing investment. Tracking these coins down, choosing one of great quality, and committing to a hefty price tag are all required if you choose to invest in this type of coin.
Whether you’re a first-time precious metal buyer or you’ve been on the scene for years, collectors, investors, and coin enthusiasts alike agree on the $5 Liberty Half Eagle’s beauty, rarity, and historical value. Check out Silver.com today, and see if getting into coin collecting is right for you.