$10 Liberty Head Eagle

In 1804 President Thomas Jefferson put an end to the minting of eagles due to their melt value being greater than their monetary value. There was a large amount of these coins being melted and 30 years after the minting of eagles had been stopped, the standard weight and fineness for gold coins was changed.

Eagles had a weight of 270 grains and it was changed to 258 and the gold fineness went from 91.67% to 90% gold. In 1838 Mint Director Patterson commissioned Engraver Gobrecht to create a new die that will be used to mint the eagles with the new changes. In 1866 the Type 2 Liberty Head Eagle with Motto was created. This coin was designed by James B. Longacre who had the motto “In God We Trust” inscribed above the eagle. Reverend M.R. Watkinson was a huge influence in why this change was made. The motto continued to be a part of the Liberty Head Eagle until 1907 when President Theodore Roosevelt asked Augustus Saint-Gauden to create all future eagles without the motto.

From 1866 to 1878 the number of eagles minted was very low. Some the most recognized and rarest Liberty Head Eagles minted with motto were produced at the Carson City Mint in 1870 and 1873 and the Philadelphia Mint in 1871 to 1873. Due to the bank failing to resume specie payments in gold or silver or federal paper there are Philadelphia rarities. The Carson City rarities came about because of an official order that was made requesting to slow down the production of the coins, which then was used as an excuse for shutting down the Mint altogether. The majority of the Liberty Head Eagles that were minted during these years were melted, only 30 to 60% of the proof coinage survived. There are between 1 and 120 with motto Proof Liberty Head Eagles that were minted making them extremely rare.

There are no uncirculated mint state survivors of this coin during this time period and therefore there are no sets available. In 1878 the Specie Resumption Act was put forward that helped increase the number of coins being minted. When a collector or investor are looking to purchase Liberty Head Eagles today it is understood that they will be purchasing coins that were minted from 1880 to 1907 either from San Francisco or Philadelphia.

The $10 Liberty Head Eagle has a composition of 90% gold and 10% copper and weighs 16.718 grams. Its gold content is 0.48375 troy ounces and it has a diameter of 27mm.