Series notes: $5 Liberty Gold

Liberty Head $ gold half eagles were designed by Christian Gobrecht and were in production from 1839 through 1908. Liberty Head half eagles can be divided into two basic subtypes: Variety 1 (1839-1866), which has no ?IN GOD WE TRUST? motto above the eagle on the reverse and Variety 2 (1866-1908), which displays the motto within a banner unfurled above the eagle?s head.

The scarceness of individual issues in the Liberty Head $5 gold series is roughly divided, with most of the Variety 1 issues ranging from scarce to rare, while the majority of the Variety 2 issues are rather common and often obtainable for little more than spot price in the lower grades. The rarest Variety 1 Liberty Head half eagles include all of the Charlotte (C-mintmark) and Dahlonega (D-mintmark) pieces, the extremely rare 1854-S, and all of the Variety 1 S-mint issues from the 1860s. Among the rarest Variety 2 issues are the Carson City (CC-mintmark) entries, the 1875 issue from the Philadelphia Mint, and the 1892-O from New Orleans.

Common dates are widely available in circulated condition and are obtainable into the Gem Mint State grades, whereas the Charlotte, Carson City, and Dahlonega issues are rare in any grade. Also scarce are many of the New Orleans and San Francisco pieces in uncirculated grades.