Series notes: $5 Indian Gold (Proof)

Indian Head $5 gold half eagles were struck from 1908 through 1929 and were designed by Bela Lyon Pratt, a sculptor who studied under renowned artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The series was in production from each year from 1908 through 1916 and then was sidelined until 1929, when one final run of half eagles was struck. Proofs were made alongside business strikes through 1915.

The $5 Indian Head gold coin features a unique incuse design, which was seen on only this coin and its identical, but smaller, quarter eagle twin. With the incuse design, the lettering and devices are sunken into the coin?s surface rather than proud to the field. This unusual physical characteristic was the source of apprehension among some people who erroneously feared bacteria could collect in the recesses of the coin and spread illness across the public.

Proof Indian Head $5 half eagles were made in batches of about 75 to 250 specimens during each year they were issued. These small mintages mean proof Indian Head half eagles are considerably scarce, and each issue is about as challenging as the next in standard proof grades. Proof examples with exceptional surfaces are worth considerably more than typical specimens.

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