Series notes: $2.50 Indian Gold

Indian Head $2.50 gold quarter eagles are popular collectibles for a variety of reasons. Along with their similar Indian Head $5 half eagle counterparts, the $2.50 Indian Head coins were the first and (so far) only United States coins to feature an incuse design ? in other words, the design is sunken into the surface of the coin, rather than standing above the field as is the case with all other US coins.

At the time, fear consumed the public that the deep recesses of the incuse design would harbor bacteria and spread illness to all who handed the coins. These concerns were later allayed, but the bad press didn?t help the coins gain much favor with the masses. The coin later became noted for the beauty of its design, which was created by Bela Lyon Pratt. He studied under renowned sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, whose $20 double eagle design is widely considered the most beautiful coin the United States has ever struck.

While the Indian Head $2.50 series was struck from 1908 through 1929, there was a nearly decade-long hiatus from 1916 through 1924. Virtually every issue in the Indian Head $2.50 series is equally common in the circulated grades with one lone exception: the 1911-D, which had a mintage of just 55,680 pieces. Gem uncirculated examples from the earlier run spanning from 1908 through 1915 are scarce.

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