Coin Specifications

Category: Indian Head $5 (1908-1929)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 167
Catalog: KM-129
Obverse Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
Reverse Designer: Bela Lyon Pratt
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 8.3590g
AGW: 0.2419oz
Melt Value: $257.99 (12/1/2015)
Diameter: 21.6mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1908 $5 PF obverse 1908 $5 PF reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

In 1908, two types of half eagles were minted for circulation in Philadelphia. The With Motto, Liberty Head design--continuously struck since 1866--was being replaced by Bela Lyon Pratt's Indian Head design. Proof versions of the Type 2 Liberty fives were issued each year since 1866, with the lone exception of 1908, when proofs of the new so-called 'incuse' Indian design were specially prepared for collectors. Technically, the design is not incused, but rather sunken. To achieve this affect, certain design elements had to stand higher than the open field, instead of being below the surface as it had been done since day-one at the Mint. As a result, the fields could not be lapped in the manner required to produce brilliant proofs. The Mint's solution was to invent a new type of proof format that would be popular with collectors. The answer was the matte proof and, although it was certainly new, popular it was not. After being struck on a hydraulic press, each coin was lightly sandblasted. The resulting coin was odd in appearance--the surfaces were grainy--and complaints from collectors were forthcoming. The number of 1908 matte proof half eagles produced is a somewhat nebulous figure. The Mint--per one piece of contemporary correspondence--suggests that 500 pieces were struck. It is obvious, however, that not all were sold to collectors, probably due to their unfamiliar look. The official total recorded in the National Archives is 167 proof fives. Roger Burdette expounds in his Renaissance of American Coinage, 1905-1908: 'Figures reported at the end of 1908, one hundred and one gold sets, were the quantity sold, with the balance melted.'

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


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 10/12/2015

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

1908 $5 PF
Base $ - - - - - - - - - 6850 8850 14650 24500 46000 69000 130000 - - -
$ - - - - - - - - 37500 - - 176000 -

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Total Graded: 85
Low Grade: 62
Average Grade: 65
High Grade: 68

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/5/2006 NGC PF 62   Goldberg February 5-8, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 34/Lot# 1214 $8,912.50
5/28/2006 PCGS PF 63   Goldberg May 28-31, 2006 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 36/Lot# 3871 $11,500.00
1/3/2007 PCGS PF 66   Heritage Auctions 2007 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #422, 422/Lot# 3599 $48,875.00
7/26/2012 NGC PF 64   Stack's Bowers The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 140/Lot# 11717 $29,900.00
10/17/2012 PCGS   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 3281 $57,500.00
7/27/2013 PCGS   Stack's Bowers The August 2013 Chicago ANA World's Fair of Money , 192/Lot# 4494 $152,750.00
9/4/2014 NGC PF 67   Heritage Auctions 2014 September 4 - 6 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction - Long Beach Session(1), 1209/Lot# 3437 $54,343.75

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1908 $5 PF
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