Coin Specifications

Category: Liberty Head $10 (1838-1907)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 7,200
Catalog: KM-66.1
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 16.7180g
AGW: 0.4837oz
Melt Value: $626.58 (7/30/2014)
Diameter: 27mm
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1838 $10 MS obverse 1838 $10 MS reverse


  
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Description & Analysis

While other denominations of gold coins were struck with minimal breaks in production, the ten dollar gold piece was deemed not necessary or convenient for 34 years between 1804 and 1838. Its relevancy to the channels of commerce was revived by two mint provisions of the mint act that was passed in January 1837. The first changed the legal fineness of all gold coins from the awkward standard of .9167 gold and .0833 copper to .900 gold and .100 copper. The second section of the mint act (actually Section 10) provided a reduction in the weight of these coins: ' ... the weight of the eagle shall be two hundred and fifty eight grains ...' The previous weight for ten dollar gold pieces had been 270 grains. This 12-grain reduction was enough to make it unprofitable to melt U.S. gold coins, thus ensuring these pieces would actually circulate.

Christian Gobrecht was Assistant Engraver at the mint at that time. It fell to him to redesign the new gold coins, and his designs from 1838 were minimally altered until major changes occurred in 1907 and 1908. Gobrecht apparently copied the head of Venus in Benjamin West's painting Omnia Vincit Amor. According to Breen, he slightly changed the headdress 'but with the same triple-beaded cord on her bun, and the same coronet (here inscribed LIBERTY).' Only 7,200 business strikes were produced in 1838 (plus four proofs), and high grade survivors are rarely encountered.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/16/2014

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1838 $10 MS
  GVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 1600 1850 2350 3800 10750 10750 18500 22500 27000 44000 56000 65000 97500 145000 - - - - - - -
$ 11750 19500 23500 29000 47500 58750 - - - - - - - -
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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 61
Low Grade: F
Average Grade: 50
High Grade: 63


Upcoming Auctions


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
8/17/1996 PCGS MS 60   Heritage Auctions 1996 ANA Signature Sale #163, 163/Lot# 5815 $20,350.00
5/4/1998 PCGS XF 40   Teletrade Auction 1046, 1046/Lot# 2084 $2,532.00
1/4/2001 PCGS XF 40   Heritage Auctions 2001 F.U.N. Signature Sale #244, 244/Lot# 8267 $2,300.00
4/25/2002 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2002 April Columbus, OH (CSNS) Signature Sale #288, 288/Lot# 7095 $63,250.00
12/26/2005 NGC AU 58   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet-Only Auction #68, 73/Lot# 879 $20,746.00
5/25/2008 NGC AU 50   Goldberg May 25-27, 2008 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 47/Lot# 4714 $10,925.00
10/17/2012 NGC VF 30   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 5566 $4,406.25
5/25/2014 PCGS XF 40   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 05/25/2014, 183/Lot# 196851 $6,618.70


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1838 $10 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base111127115052525356442905628628670897543775684281068119091281014197763574975181345611
114241349184528713806473658476553724076147980917913484220943272649176748881098651345610
00000038064736584765537240761479809179134842209432726491767488810986500
00000040485182606668217391768582049930162872509737351563758620312221300
1838 $10 MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base1111111111111111111111
1111111111111111111110
0000001111111111111100
0000001111111111111100
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