Guide to U.S. Gold Coin Values
The Liberty Head design of the Gold Eagle was a classic created by Christian Gobrecht. The $2.50 coin is most notable for its unique CAL variant. Read More
The Indian Head Eagle is unique in American coinage because of its recessed design. This design was a rework of the original Saint-Gaudens by Bela Lyon Pratt. Read More
Bela Lyon Pratt's redesign of the $10 Indian Head Saint-Gaudens coin slimmed it down for the smaller $5 and $2.50 coins.Read More
The Gold Eagle was commonly used across the United States during the time period of the Liberty Head design, and Gobrecht's famous engraving had a long run.Read More
The largest denomination of U.S. Gold coins was the double eagle, which began with the Liberty Head design. Read More
U.S. Gold Coins
Gold coins have had a place in American history since the very beginning. The denomination of “eagle”, or $10, was established in the very first Coinage Act, and these were to be made of Gold. There have been various denominations of Gold coins since the very beginning including some one-offs and pattern coins like the $4 Stella, or unpopular issues like the Gold dollar or $3 coin. But eagle denominations stood the test of time and contain some of the most interesting examples of American coinage.
Eagles should not be confused with the modern Eagle bullion coin, which is a different weight, newer and not minted for its face value.
Gold Coin Variations
There are many different variations of U.S. Gold coins, but the major ones to be concerned about are the quarter eagle, half eagle, eagle and double eagle. These represent the bulk of collectible coins available for U.S. Gold.
The Liberty Head design was used from 1840 to 1907 for the $2.50, $5, $10 and $20 Gold pieces (quarter, half, eagle and double eagle denominations respectively). There are rare issues of the $2.50 Liberty Head like the CAL issue that are highly prized. The half eagle from Dahlonega or Charlotte has a unique color due to its slightly higher Silver content in the 10% of the coin that isn’t Gold, causing it to have a bit of a greenish tinge. The half eagle was available from all 7 mints, unique to this particular coin. High grades and small branch mints cost much more. Gold content was slightly raised and lowered through this run from 1834 to 1837.
Indian Head coins were made in $2.50, $5 and $10 variations. These were based on designs by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who is responsible for some of the most beloved American coins. Saint-Gaudens designed the $10 coin and his student Bela Lyon Pratt designed the quarter and half eagles that followed a year later. This series ran from 1907 to 1929, with the Indian Head quarter and half eagles beginning in 1908. These series were not minted for a while between 1915 or 1916 depending on the variation and 1929, though the smaller quarter eagles resumed mintage a few years earlier. These coins are unique in that the designs are concave as opposed to convex — they sink below the surface of the coin.
The $20 double eagle of 1907 to 1933, often just called the “Saint-Gaudens” after its creator, is often considered the most beautiful American coin. The original examples were coined in an ultra high relief or high relief pattern before changing to a more practical finish, and early examples are highly coveted. Proof-like coins and key dates command a massive premium.
Collecting U.S. Gold Coins
U.S. Gold coins are highly collectible, and even in low condition all Eagle variants are valuable for their bullion content alone. High-quality Saint-Gaudens pieces are incredibly expensive and sought after due to their beauty, rarity and uniqueness. Indian Heads are also prized. These are part of the renaissance of American coinage that began with Teddy Roosevelt’s commissioning of sculptors to refresh designs.
Key dates and small mintages also hold value, including small mints like Dahlonega or Charlotte for earlier dates. Gold coins aren’t a great place for new collectors to begin due to their cost, but collectors who have some money love the beauty and historical value of classic U.S. Gold coins.
The Price Guide
The PCGS Price Guide prices apply only to PCGS-graded coins. The PCGS Price Guide is a guide to assist the coin buying public in determining values for all important United States rare coins. The prices listed in the PCGS Price Guide are average dealer asking prices for PCGS-graded coins. The prices are compiled from various sources including dealer ads in trade papers, dealer fixed price lists and website offerings, significant auctions, and activity at major coin shows.Learn More