US Coins

1909-O Indian Head half eagle 'affordable' at $8,400

Stack’s Bowers Galleries hosted the official auctions of the Whitman Baltimore Summer Expo, holding floor auction sessions on June 21 and 22.

Among the lots offered were a number of gold coins, including some pieces that illustrate different entry points for rarities. You can read about one of those coins here. Here is another one of those coins.

The coin:

1909-O Indian Head gold $5 half eagle, Abount Uncirculated 50

The price:

$8,400

The story:

The Baltimore auction offered three About Uncirculated 1909-O Indian Head gold $5 half eagles: one graded About Uncirculated 58 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. that brought $15,600, another NGC AU-55 example that sold for $10,800 and a Professional Coin Grading Service AU-50 piece that realized $8,400. Like many examples of the sole Indian Head gold $5 issue and the final gold issue struck at the New Orleans Mint, the “O” Mint mark is faint, but visible without magnification. 


1806 Mint reportInside Coin World: About those 1805 silver dollars Although an 1806 Mint document claims 321 silver dollar were made in 1805, no such coins are known today. It took a later book to explain the reference.


Collectors find the sunken design of the Indian Head $5 and $2.50 coins challenging to grade, with the distinction between Mint State and circulated coins especially tricky. As Michael Fahey of ANACS wrote in his grading column in the July 7, 2014, issue of Coin World, “On the obverse, look for light traces of wear on the Indian’s cheekbone, on the crescent and the braiding below the crescent, on the row of down feathers in the headdress, and on the highest ridges of the lower large feathers in the headdress. On the reverse, look for light traces of wear on the eagle’s neck, on the top curve of the wing, on the back leg feathers (the leg on the viewer’s right), and on the wing feathers above and to the right of the back leg.”

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