- The Indian Head Quarter Eagle and Half Eagle were struck from 1908 through 1929 as continuations of two gold denominations that trace back to the 1790s. The Indian Head gold coins of $2.50 and $5 face values, designed by noted Boston artist Bela Lyon Pratt, are beautiful on the merits of their overall theme and artistic detail. The designs, identical on the quarter eagle and half eagle, feature a Native American chief on the obverse and a bald eagle on the reverse. While the coins, designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, have long been embraced by coin collectors, they weren't so warmly received at first.
Indian $2.5, 1911-D $2.50 Strong D, PCGS MS66+
The coins debuted during the early years of the Renaissance of American Coinage, a period of time marked by the introduction of exquisite designs across all denominations of United States coins
. The Renaissance can be traced back to 1905, when President Theodore Roosevelt expressed great dissatisfaction with the artistic state of the United States coins
that were then in production.
He subsequently tasked renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to redesign America's coinage from one-cent coin to double eagle. Unfortunately, Saint-Gaudens died shortly after he began working on this wide-ranging, multifaceted commission. Before his cancer-related death in 1907 at the age of 59, he was able to successfully redesign only the $20 Double Eagle and $10 Eagle; he also produced sketches for a revamped one-cent coin. While the Saint-Gaudens "penny" never materialized, his Indian $10 and Saint-Gaudens $20 coins did, becoming instant numismatic hits; to this day, his double eagle reigns as a coin widely considered the most beautiful ever produced by the United States Mint.Read the Entire Article