Gold and Silver Products
Gold / Saint-Gaudens
Saint-Gaudens double eagle is a twenty-dollar Gold coin, or double eagle, produced by the United States Mint from 1907 to 1933. The coin is named after its designer, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who designed the obverse and reverse. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful of U.S. coins.
In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt sought to beautify American coinage, and proposed Saint-Gaudens as an artist capable of the task. Although the sculptor had poor experiences with the Mint and its chief engraver, Charles E. Barber, Saint-Gaudens accepted Roosevelt’s call. The work was subject to considerable delays, due to Saint-Gaudens’s declining health and difficulties because of the high relief of his design. Saint-Gaudens died in 1907, after designing the eagle and double eagle, but before the designs was finalized for production.
After several versions of the design for the double eagle proved too difficult to strike, Barber modified Saint-Gaudens’s design, lowering the relief so the coin could be struck with only one blow. When the coins were finally released, they proved controversial as they lacked the words “In God We Trust”, and Congress intervened to require the motto’s use. The coin was minted, primarily for use in international trade, until 1933. The 1933 double eagle is among the most valuable of U.S. coins, with the sole example currently known to be in private hands selling in 2002 for $7,590,020.
Gold / Liberty Head
The Liberty Gold coin, also known as the Liberty Head coin or the Coronet was minted from 1838 to 1908 and are some of the most identifiable American historical coins available for collection. These coins circulated during the days of the California Gold Rush and the American Civil War. While the $2.50, $5 and $10 denominations were designed by Christian Gobrecht, the third Chief Engraver of the US Mint, the $20 coin was designed by his successor James Longacre. Longacre’s “Double Eagle” is the largest gold coin that America ever made for general circulation.
The “eagle”-based terminology (“eagle,” “half-eagle” and “quarter-eagle”) for American Gold coins is rooted in an Act of Congress that authorized the establishment of the U.S. Mint and the regulation of U.S. coins. The first double eagle was struck in 1849 during the California Gold Rush and now resides in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Gold / Indian Head
The Indian Head Gold coins were minted from 1907 to 1933. Two coins initially, identical in design, struck by the United States Mint: a two-and-a-half dollar piece, or quarter eagle, and a five-dollar coin, or half eagle. The quarter eagle was struck from 1908 to 1915, and then again in 1925–1929, and the half eagle from 1908 to 1916, and then again in 1929. The pieces remain the only US circulating coins with recessed designs. The coins were the final ones for these denominations as coins struck for circulation, ending series which had begun in the 1790s.
President Theodore Roosevelt, from 1904, vigorously advocated new designs for United States coins, and had the Mint engage his friend, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor, to design five coins (the four Gold pieces and the cent) that could be changed without congressional authorization. Before his death in August 1907, Saint-Gaudens completed designs for the eagle ($10 piece) and double eagle, although both required subsequent work to make them fully suitable for coining.
With the eagle and double eagle released into circulation by the end of 1907, the Mint turned its attention to the half eagle and quarter eagle, originally planning to duplicate the double eagle’s design, which feature the fascinating portrait of Liberty in full Indian headdress on the obverse, and a majestic standing American eagle on the reverse.
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Morgan Silver Dollar
Morgan Silver dollar was a United States Silver dollar coin minted from 1878 to 1904, and then again in 1921. It was the first standard Silver dollar minted since production of the previous design, The Seated Liberty Dollar, ceased due to the passage of the Coinage Act of 1873, which also ended the free coining of Silver. The coin is named for its designer, United States Mint Assistant Engraver George T. Morgan. The obverse depicts a profile portrait representing Liberty, while the reverse depicts an eagle with wings outstretched.
Silver / Peace Dollar
The Peace dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1921 to 1928, and again in 1934 and 1935. Designed by Anthony de Francisci, the coin was the result of a competition to find designs emblematic of peace. Its reverse depicts a Bald Eagle at rest clutching an olive branch, with the legend “Peace”. It was the last United States dollar coin to be struck for circulation in silver.
With the passage of the Pittman Act in 1918, the United States Mint was required to strike millions of silver dollars, and began to do so in 1921, using the Morgan dollar design. Numismatists began to lobby the Mint to issue a coin that memorialized the peace following World War I; although they failed to get Congress to pass a bill requiring the redesign, they were able to persuade government officials to take action. The Peace dollar was approved by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon in December 1921, completing the redesign of United States coinage that had begun in 1907.
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Silver / Walking Liberty
In 1915, the new Mint Director, Robert W. Woolley, came to believe that he was not only allowed but required by law to replace coin designs that had been in use for 25 years. He therefore began the process of replacing the Barber coinage: dimes, quarters and half dollars, all bearing similar designs by long-time Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber, and first struck in 1892. Woolley had the Commission of Fine Arts conduct a competition, as a result of which Weinman was selected to design the dime and half dollar.
Weinman’s design of Liberty striding towards the Sun for the half dollar proved difficult to perfect, and Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo, whose department included the Mint, considered having Barber create his own design. Mint officials were successful in getting Weinman’s design into production, although it never struck very well, which may have been a factor in its replacement by the Franklin half dollar beginning in 1948. Nevertheless, art historian Cornelius Vermeule considered the piece to be among the most beautiful US coins. Since 1986, a modification of Weinman’s obverse design has been used for the American Silver Eagle.