The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

Since 1795, the 10-dollar Gold coins in circulation in the United States have been referred to as “Eagles”. These coins were legal tender until their withdrawal in 1933. However, there is one Eagle in particular that has become a numismatic legend.

A presidential intervention

You see, the obverse of the Eagle had long bore the goddess of freedom (Liberty), however in 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt complained to the Secretary of Treasury that US coinage lacked artistic merit.

1905 half eagle rev - The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

1905 Eagle Coin

As a result, Roosevelt personally commissioned New York City sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to re-design this Gold coin; however, it was certainly not without incident!

Augustus Saint Gaudens - The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

Augustus Saint Gaudens

Firstly, as the coin was designed by a sculptor, rather than a professional engraver, there were a number of issues in production, particularly due to the high relief.  As a result, several versions of the coin had to be minted before achieving a sample appropriate for full production and release into circulation.

1907 eagle reverse 1 300x149 - The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

1907 Indian Head Coin

Secondly, Roosevelt felt strongly that a Native American war bonnet should be included in the design as a “picturesque” and “distinctly American” symbol. So, under President Roosevelt’s instruction, Gaudens retained the Liberty profile on the obverse, simply placing a feather headdress on her head.  Later, the coin would receive criticism for this absurd addition, with one art historian declaring that it missed out on being “a great coin” due to the President’s interference.

Liberty - The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

Lady Liberty with Native American War Bonnet

Finally, further issues arose when the motto “In God we Trust” was replaced by “E PLURIBUS UNUM”, which translates to mean “Out of Many, One”. In fact, such was the public outrage, Congress passed a bill mandating its inclusion on any further coins. Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber added the words and made minor modifications to the 1908 design.

mottos 300x149 - The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

The coins changing mottos

A numismatic legend!

However, as is often the case, the flaws in the original 1907 Indian Head Eagle have made it one of the most desirable coins in the world.  

In January 2011, what is probably the best-known example of an Indian Head Eagle, one of only 50 originally minted coins in the rare proof finish, was sent to auction – It sold for an incredible $2,185,000!


If you’re interested…

2017 Most Valuable Coins if the World US Indian Head Gold Proof Coin Obverse Reverse - The million dollar coin that caused ‘public outrage’…

Today you can own one of the most valuable coin designs in the world…

This pure gold coin weighing just 1/100oz is an affordable way of owning one of the most valuable coin designs in the world – the 1907 USA Indian Head.

Click here to secure yours today >>

 

  1. Allan Mackenzie on August 10, 2018 at 12:12 am

    The eagle gold coin that you have for sale would be a beautiful coin to own, but if you can’t add o rd to splash out £59 plus £3.99 f our postage you lose out straight away, I put it in my basket to see if I could p way this up in 3 instalments but sadly you don’t offer this for this $10 gold coin, its such a shame that for many that can t afford this coin in one straight payment that we have to miss out, when we buy coins from you we like it when we get the option o f being an lk e to pay for a coin in instalments, it makes us feel that its not just for those with plenty of money, I can’t afford to pay out f o r this coin in one lump sum so I now have to miss out on it, I’m very disappointed that you don’t try to accommodate people on lesser incomes as well, you do it for other coins, most of the coins that I’ve bought from you I’ve had to pay in instalments, its the only way I could have bought them, very unhappy I can’t order this one

    • David Andrew Culshaw on August 15, 2018 at 12:46 am

      I agree with Allen McKenzie about not being able to get some coins on instalments. I was looking forward to buying the eagle gold $10 coin. There have been other coins in the same predicament that I would have liked.

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